October 9, 2013—January 15, 2014
“architecture undigested” features artists whose works engage with the built environment in surreal and thought-provoking ways. The exhibition presents a range of works that riff on building elements from moving walls and misplaced window blinds to casino carpets and anti-slip guards gone rogue. The cumulative effect suggests an imploded house - one that subverts the distinction between structure and adornment. Although these works resist the use of exotic and expensive materials and thwart the comforts of home, they bring an odd intimacy to what might otherwise be perceived as industrial.
The show includes works by Marte Eknæs, Petros Moris, Brian O’Connell, Ruairiadh O’Connell, Mitzi Pederson, Stephen Prina, Ben Schumacher and Hugh Scott-Douglas.
“architecture undigested” is curated by Jessica Silverman.
(b. 1978, Elverum, Norway). Eknæs’s Better furnished, more fortunate III (Gråmølna) (2013), is a ten-foot-long door-sweep hung six inches above the floor. Similarly, Anti-slip III (Gråmølna) (2013), is an anti-slip guard installed in the wrong place. Both works transform the practical accessories of public buildings into thought-provoking sculptures. Eknæs is known for her interrogative approach to materials and concern for the structure of man-made objects.
(b. 1986, Lamia, Greece). Moris’s Commons 2, 3 and 4 (2013) are three hybridic works, which fuse mosaics with pure gray colorfields. Moris has coated three foam construction panels with synthetic polymer plaster that has been reinforced with glass-fiber. He then mounts a mosaic of unglazed ceramic tiles onto the surface, creating a fragmented mural space. He uses pre-industrial, industrial and post-industrial techniques to create works that look like science-fiction antiques.
(b. 1972, Leuven, Belgium). O’Connell’s “Concrete Paintings” are made by pouring concrete into wooden molds, which then twist and bend under the weight of the added material. The works refer to Brutalist architecture’s use of molded concrete, but further subvert their industrial materials by containing them within the framework of traditional painting. These “paintings” are connected to O’Connell’s practice of interrogating the interrelated natures of weight, pressure, and light—examining behaviors of various materials.
(b. 1983, Aberdeen, Scotland). O’Connell’s three wax-based silkscreens hijack their designs from casino carpets that are meant to keep gamblers awake and ambitious, transforming them into pure studies of motif and pattern. By transforming their materials and taking the patterns from the floor to the wall (thereby elevating their positions), the resulting artworks disrupt the intended spatial and psychological functions of their sources.
(b. 1976, Stuart, Florida). Pederson’s sculptures are made from shattered cinderblocks, arranged in low, horizontal configurations. Their edges are lined with black and gray glitter. In these works, conventional concrete masonry shatters and takes on a formal beauty.
(b. 1954, Galesburg, Illinois). Prina’s window-blind works, which are made on conventionally produced linen roller blinds, function both as paintings and sculptural installations. The application of brilliant colors with abstract, gestural brushstrokes on household material recalls the work of modernists such as Piet Mondrian and Barnet Newman. Positioned in the center of the room, their painterly surfaces double as architectural bodies that reorient the gallery’s space.
(b. 1985, Kitchener, Canada). Schumacher’s sculpture, Vogue Apr-Mar 1986 (2012) is a vertical, glass partition covered with perforated vinyl used in commercial advertising, held together by a cable-management rack. The work disrupts visibility, yet hints at transparency. The microfilm transfers and vinyl on the backside of the work simultaneously allow perception through a facade and create a surface embedded with information and imagery.
(b. 1988, Cambridge, UK). Scott-Douglas’s “road-cases” are multi-functional objects that act simultaneously as sculptures, movable walls and frames. The road-cases also display two kinds of Scott-Douglas’s paintings: Chopped Bill (2013) is made from a high resolution scan of the small ink stamps found on American $100 bills; the other, Torn Cheque (2013), is an abstract pattern on a white gessoed canvas made by a laser cutter. The works suggest the incessant travel of information, objects, currency, and people through space.
June 25, 2013—September 20, 2013
“Alchemy” is the power or process of transforming something common into something special. All three of the artists in “Formal Alchemy” have the ability to create elegant objects out of common ingredients through conceptually interesting processes. In a variety of twists on the tradition of being “true” to materials, Toren, Wermer and Dash exploit physical properties beyond their typical uses. The exhibition bears witness to a conversation about transformation, utility and the authority of pure form.
“formal alchemy” is curated by Jessica Silverman
(b. 1980) combines adobe, a material that is rarely used in painting, with the classic ingredients of art—stretchers, linen and paint. By these means, she probes and enlivens conventional approaches to painting. In Night Light 1 and Night Light 2, Dash creates a dynamic interplay between weight and sensuality of the linen and the careful application of hand painting, thus exploring the sculptural potential of the two-dimensional medium.
(b. 1945) is represented in the exhibition by his Stacks sculptures from the 1980’s. Toren’s totemic Stacks involve removing and puling one side of a cardboard box, adding pigment to the pulp, then applying the mixture to canvas in a way that cpatures some aspect of the box (e.g. “This way up” or “Fragile”), then stretching the painted canvas over the opening of the original box. The artist then stacks the paintings, both reasserting their identity as cardboard boxes and proclaiming their status as sculpture.
(b. 1971) starts with diverse natural and man-made objects, subverting them in formally intriguing ways that alter our senses of the everyday. With Water Shelf #1 and Water Shelf #2 (both from 2012), Wermers turns industrial shelving units upside down and transforms them into shallow troughs for holding water. Untitled (bench), 2010, is a transparent acrylic box in a branch-like form that contains three rocks that were handpicked by the artist. One can perch on the work but the plastic may scratch, so the viewer must wrestle with their desire for function. Many of Wermer’s works have a purpose beyond their art objecthood, but it is invariably an impractical one.