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.”
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.”
The work of artist Michael Murphy emphasizes personal perspective. Murphy builds upon several layers to construct a larger image only seen from a precise angle. When stepping away from that angle the image descends back into abstraction. Murphy uses this to express the social and political ideas implied several of his pieces. A portrait of Barack Obama diffuses to reveal very many shades of skin tones which accumulate to form a whole portrait. The simple shape of a Christian Crucifix is dismantled into an iconology of the symbol – a visual conversation of contemporary issues associated with the religion.
Much of the work of Jonty Hurwitz plays with perspective. This is perhaps most obvious in the art pictured here. Hurwitz creates severely warped sculptures that are snapped back to shape in the reflection of a cylindrical mirror. He does this by scanning objects, digitally manipulating them, and fabricating the digital models. This explanation, though, is extremely simplistic. On his process, Hurwitz says:
“I usually start by expressing a concept using mathematical tools, often involving billions of calculations and many months of preparation. I then explore ways to manifest these formulae in the physical world.” [via]
It is difficult to define the Lightwork series of Conrad Shawcross – sculpture, installation, perhaps even performance. His pieces are typically large machines that move and spin bright lights in a manner that is somehow at once mechanistic and human. The sculptures are built of elaborate machinery similar in appearance to factory robots. However, in a way Shawcross juxtaposes the utilitarian appearance of his machines with their art-making purpose.
He says, “I really like them as unfinished objects. The minute they turn, you are left in a much easier position of ‘ok, that’s about a spinning light bulb’. But before they operate, you have to be more aggressively thoughtful to try and work out what they are for.” (via)
Artist Andy Ralph pulls the backyard into the gallery. Banal items often forgotten in the rain seem to be tumbling out of control. An army of garbage cans marches on two by fours, lawn chair frames grow to nearly gallery bursting sizes, lawn fences become imposing towers. Ralph’s work obviously contains an amount of humor transforming everyday commodities into absurdities. His art, though, also has a subtly menacing quality. While rendering the common items useless, he also appears to give them a certain subjectivity – a life of their own.
Jessica Drenk is an artist currently living and working in South Carolina. I’m fascinated by her series of inherent sculptures made of the ‘old school’ HB pencils we can all remember using in elementary school days. For me, I enjoy these for nostalgia sake and also how she can create such organic, free-flowing shapes from such a rigid, preconceived mundane tool that we can all relate using to write our abc’s with. (via)