August 19 - September 11, 2021
This exhibition is about alternative material choices, using them with intention, manipulating materials for visual play, or giving them agency to say something new and interesting.
Artists include James P. Abbott, Siri Beckman, Hannah Berta, Gideon Bok, Ileana Appleton Foster, J.T. Gibson, Brenton Hamilton, Antonia Munroe, Simon van der Ven, Deborah Zlotsky.
"I work "from" something rather than "towards" something. It is a process of discovery." - Bridget Riley
Art is made as materials engage with the surrounding space, artists adding or subtracting material, watching the interaction and balance. Some fill the space with monumental forms, others cut away to find hidden beauty.
Hannah Berta's cut paper botanicals are as much about the shadows and negative spaces formed as they are about the labyrinth of vegetation that is revealed.
Siri Beckman's wood engravings are cut on the end grain of hardwood, the slow growth of the wood dense enough for fine detail, the endgrain fluid enough for long incisions. Siri cuts away the darkest areas first and then the middle values, leaving the white areas uncut to reveal a drawing when ink fills the valleys of her cuts and transfers to paper.
Simon van der Ven does both, building up a form to carve into, his thrown clay vessels permeated with dimples and holes.
“Two aesthetics exist: the passive aesthetic of mirrors and the active aesthetic of prisms. Guided by the former, art turns into a copy of the environment's objectivity or the individual's psychic history. Guided by the latter, art is redeemed, makes the world into its instrument, and forges, beyond spatial and temporal prisons, a personal vision.” - Jorge Luis Borges
Antonia Munroe paints on top of collaged materials to create an illusion of ancient textile fragments. In this panel, graph paper and gold leaf are collaged with fine Indian handwoven cotton. The surfaces are sanded to a smooth, marble-like finish before she begins painting, using delicate brushes and pure pigment mixed with clay. Antonia's oil paintings are a kind of trompe l'oeil, a trick of the eye. The paint becomes wallpaper, textile, flat patterns in disguise.
Brenton Hamilton is a cameraless photographer. Alternative processes in the dark room are his materials. In this photogram, fabric moves across light sensitive paper until it shifts from a representation of fabric to an abstracted form. Brenton finds a new way of seeing the original object. His processes are an excuse to play, experiment, invent.
"Before expression, there is nothing but a vague fever, and only the work itself, completed and understood, will prove that there was something rather than nothing to be found there." -Merleau-Ponty
Making art is a way to bring something new into the world; the art becomes about the artist’s interest instead of about the original thing. Gathering information, materials, and ideas; it all comes together to surprise us.
James P. Abbott's collected curiosities and found objects of fascination are rearranged into new forms - in this sculpture we find a salvaged desk end, croquet balls, brushed steel angle square, industrial machine rods, steel clock part, hardwood, and inkjet print on fine art paper. The complex and busy nature of assemblages are quieted into simple forms that lend reverence to the once discarded materials.
Ileana Appleton Foster takes land forms, islands, aerial views of a place, and plays with those shapes and concepts through scale and process, material and color, until they become a wholly new unexpected image. These abstract pieces have their roots in nature's existing forms, but are seen anew through the filter of the artist’s practice.