The installations of Finnish artist Kaarina Kaikkonen are surreally familiar. Her work seems to take the familiar domestic scene of clothes drying on the line to its wonderfully illogical end. It’s easy to get lost day dreaming about the many people that once filled the second-hand clothing. For Kaikkonen, this exercise and her work are intensely personal – her father died in front of her when she was young and the installation became a way of processing her emotions. Indeed, the clothing acts as a kind of physical manifestation of memories for Kaikkonen – sort of the only vestige of a body that otherwise only exists in the mind.
Livia Marin‘s Broken Things seem just fine. The sculptures of her Broken Things series do indeed appear to be broken ceramic dishware. However, for what the household items lost in usefulness retain in its aesthetic value. Congealed liquid seems to pour out of the damaged cups. The decorative patterns are pulled along out with the container’s little spill. The sculptures are reminiscent of a family’s “good china” – utilitarian objects that seem to cherished for their decorative nature rather than ever see any use.
Artist Chris Dorosz uses a unique painting technique. He drips paint droplets onto plastic rods. When arranged the rods form a three dimensional image, a pointillism like sculpture. Step back from the screen for a moment – the disparate dots congeal to from images of people. The fact that this is similar to the way a low resolution digital image works is not an accident. Dorosz revels in the idea of the drop as a basic unit of constructing a painting. He says:
“Out of material discovery I began to regard the primacy of the paint drop, a form that takes shape not from a brush or any human-made implement or gesture, but purely from its own viscosity and the air it falls through, as analogous to the building blocks that make up the human body (DNA) or even its mimetic representation (the pixel).”
In her upcoming exhibit at Ambach & Rice, artist Ellen Lesperance intently and painstakingly reconstructs the sweaters of feminism’s heroines. Hand drawn and hand knit, the installation serves to attach these women’s politcal ideals and activism to their personal identity. Lesperance lovingly presents the objects nearly as if they were relics. Indeed, throughout the exhibit Lesperance alludes to ancient heroines in connection with these modern ones. In that light, the sweaters become a sort of “soft armor” in a struggle that extends from ancient female warriors to today’s feminist activists. Appropriately, the title of Lesperance’s exhibit is It’s Never Over.
The ‘carcasses’ of Tamara Kostianovsky are made entirely of her own clothing. She ‘cannabalizes’ her clothes to create life size racks of meat, fat, and bone. Using unwanted clothing, Kostianovsky emphasizes the human body and its constant physical demands. The work becomes a kind of parable for the nearly violent cycle of consumption. She says of the series:
“My intention is to confront the viewers with the real and grotesque nature of violence, offering a context for reflecting about the vulnerability of our physical existences, brutality, poverty, consumption, and the voracious needs of the body.”
Photographer James Florio created the series Homeless in Orlando. Alternating between slides of text and black and white photographs. The series captures the home and life of a homeless couple, Robert and Heather. Robert and Heather live in the woods of Orlando, Florida. The words and images describe the events that led to their home among the urban forests of the über-developed tourist hub.
The series feels much more like a film with its strong and touching narrative. Using a minimal amount of words and elegant photographs, Florio presents Robert and Heather in a way that is surprisingly emotionally engaging. He shows how typically simple tasks such as taking a shower, can become absurdly challenging. Homeless in Orlando provides a rare insight and is especially affecting. The rest of the Robert and Heather’s story unfolds after the jump. You’ll want to see it through to the last image.
The medium of artist Caroline Slotte is a familiar one. Dishes commonly found in homes and thrift shops become surprising dioramas. The simple images usually hidden under food become multilayered narratives. The many memories associated with family meals, dinner parties, milestone celebrations aren’t lost on Slotte. She says of her medium choice:
“ Objects in our private sphere stir feelings in us and connect us to our history. They are tangible reminders of the past, of our own life story, and that of the family. In this way the most humble object can function as a key to the past, as a key to our inner.”
Matt Perrin believes in the magic of classic photography. Perrin decidedly does not use Photoshop or manipulate his photographs once the shutter clicks. Rather, he fully utilizes the simple features of his camera and experimental lighting to create his dreamy images. His photographs glow like cosmic abstractions. Perrin is intentionally ambiguous as to the exact nature of his subject matter. Rather, he encourages a more open reading similar to abstract painting. He says of his process:
“ Any object seen, in any photograph, was physically in front of the lens when the shutter opened and closed. It’s the twists and turns that have occurred between those points that have brought you here today.”