Sunday, May 14, 2017

Melissa Vandenberg, Artist, American

Braided Rapunzel 
US flags, steel, flag pole base & mannequin head 
2016, variable dimensions

Snake Handler 
gloves, polyester, thread, buttons, bell, mirror & wood 
2016, 31 x 74 x 28 inches

Sink or Swim: Family Style 
US Flags, Kapok life vests, wood & hardware 
2012, 12 x 36 x 27 inches

Forget Me (k)Not 
handkerchiefs, sewing notions, sewing machine & hardware 
2014, variable dimensions, Lexington Art League (interior)

Forget Me (k)Not 
handkerchiefs, sewing notions, sewing machine & hardware 
2014, variable dimensions, Lexington Art League (exterior)

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Nicole Gugliotti, Artist, United States


Porcelain, Stoneware, wood, paint, video projection, audio, monofilament. 

10 ft. x 25 ft. x 14 ft. area installed

Images of the gallery exhibition can be seen here.  You can also see and hear the video and audio that was included in the installation.
Despite being legal in the united states, portrayals of abortion in pop culture and politics would have us believe that the choice is only acceptable when the alternative is self-destruction or worse. Rarely is abortion portrayed as a smart, brave decision. People who have had abortions are cast as villains or, more benevolently, victims and rarely as heroes of their own story. AWE/AGENCY seeks to combine formal beauty and wonder with pointed, direct content with the intent of offering an alternative model to the dominant narrative surrounding abortion in the U.S. 
Nicole Gugliotti is an artist and abortion services worker.  

Organic shapes  made of clay serve as speakers that cradle the head when participants lean in to hear recorded personal stories. 

Diana Bourgoyne and Robin Ripley, Kinetic and Sound Installation

In INTERFACE/INTERFACING, a suspended needle moves slowly along a thread stretched across the gallery wall. The needle strikes the thimbles creating subtle percussive sound and also triggering the pre-recorded sounds embedded in the electronics. Visitors are invited to intimately experience line and space not only visually but also through movement and sound. Life and art intersect through this drawing together of various art practices and sensory experiences. 

Accompanying the installation is NOTIONS, a series of mixed media works by Robin Ripley, that takes us further into this extra-ordinary experiencing of everyday objects. 

DIANA BURGOYNE’s work addresses the relationships between society, technology, and the human environment. Burgoyne assembles electronic components to create works that appear “hand-made” to humanize what is often perceived as a sterile material. The material, content, and aesthetic of her art practice are developed from the idea of constructing “Electronic Folk Art”. 

ROBIN RIPLEY works with the language of objects, highlighting the composite nature of perception. Her work re-examines familiar objects as well as explores their function as signifiers and repository for sensory information, knowledge and memory. Ripley creates objects that do not exist in the natural world and yet reflect or transmit information about our world and our place in it. 

Numen Gallery
Link here to see more photos and video. 

Matt Roberts, Artist, United States

12 Sound Artists Changing Your Perception of Art

Link here

Kara Walker, Artist, b. 1969, American

The Sugar Sphinx,” by Hilton Als. Kara Walker’s bleached-sugar sphinx is triumphant, rising from a kind of half-world—the shadowy half-world of slavery and degradation.

Walker knows that ghosts can hurt you because history does not go away. Americans live, still, in an atmosphere of phantasmagorical genocide—we kill each other with looks, judgments, the fantasies that white is better than black and that blackness is bestial while being somehow more “humane”—read mentally inferior—than whiteness. But what do those colors even mean? In Walker’s view, they are signifiers about power—the power separating those who have the language to make the world and map it, and those who work that claimed land for them with no remuneration, no hope, and then degradation and death.

Located in Williamsburg, the Domino Sugar Factory was built in 1882; by the eighteen-nineties, it was producing half the sugar being consumed in the United States. As recently as 2000, it was the site of a long labor strike, in which two hundred and fifty workers protested wages and labor conditions for twenty months. (I saw the piece before the installation was complete and look forward to going back.) Now the factory is about to be torn down and its site developed, and its history will be eradicated by apartments and bodies that do not know the labor and history and death that came before its moneyed hope. The site is worth mentioning at length because Walker’s creation is not only redolent of its history, it’s of a piece with the sugar factory—and its imminent destruction.

Measuring approximately seventy-five and a half feet long and thirty-five and a half feet high, the sculpture is white—a mammy-as-sphinx made out of bleached sugar, which is a metaphor and reality. Remember, sugar is brown in its “raw” state. Walker, in a very informative interview with Kara Rooney, says that she read a book called “Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History.” There, she learned that sugar was such a commodity that, in the eleventh century, marzipan sculptures were created by the sultans in the East to give to the poor on feast days. This tradition made its way to Northern Europe, eventually, where royal chefs made sugar sculptures called subtleties. Walker was taken not only with those stories but with the history of the slave trade in America: Who cut the sugar cane? Who ground it down to syrup? Who bleached it? Who sacked it?

Above text source from Culture Desk, by Hilton Als, The New Yorker. Link here to read full article. 

Auntie Walker’s Wall Sampler for Savages, cut paper on wall, and Burning African Village Play Set with Big House and Lynching, 2006, painted laser-cut steel, with Erin Shirreff, photographs and sculptures, installation at Sikkema Jenkins & Co.

Miroslaw Balka, Artist, b. 1958, Poland

Fire Place is an installation consisting of an overturned carpet on which rests a crude hearth-like structure made from bricks and concrete. Within the opening of the fireplace sits a single naked light bulb, which fills the void with heat and light from a tungsten filament. Pasted to the outer surface of the bricks are torn and layered newspaper clippings of recent obituaries that are collected by the artist at the time and place of the work’s exhibition. A hollow mound-like cement torso with round apertures at the neck and shoulders rests on the brick foundations, and a relatively naturalistic cement head sits unsupported and partially sunken into the neck-void. Plaster has been smoothed over the surface of some of the cement, lessening the coarse texture of the underlying material. The overturned carpet is stained with grease and dirt and on its left side are stock or inventory numbers stencilled in red ink, remnants of manufacture that would ordinarily be obscured. The carpet establishes a boundary to the installation, a domestic threshold that is reinforced by the carefully placed pair of cement shoes that sit at its edge.
This work was made in 1986 by the Polish artist Miroslaw Balka, when he was living and working in his studio and former childhood home in Otwock, Poland. The work is designed to be situated on the floor and without a barrier, yet due to the fragility of the constitutive elements it is generally exhibited on a low platform to allow people to circulate around the installation. A reproduction of Fire Place printed in the catalogue to a solo exhibition of Balka’s work held at the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven in 1993 shows a slightly different arrangement of the sculpture’s components: the fireplace is positioned off-centre on the carpet, and the left shoe is placed marginally further forward than the right, turning the edge of the carpet down on itself (reproduced in Van Abbemuseum 1993, p.64).
Much of Balka’s work is concerned with the environments that humans construct for themselves and the materials and objects to which we give meaning. He is best known for the austere formalism of his work in which he combines minimal and seemingly neutral forms with highly evocative raw materials, including found items. This can be seen in another of Balka’s works in Tate’s collection, Oasis (C.D.F.) 1989 (Tate T07499), in which the abstracted silhouette of a house is formed from wood that was found around Balka’s home and studio in Otwock. This is accompanied by wooden containers filled with leaves and pine needles that were also discovered in the area, and all of the installation’s elements retain the residue of their previous use, with traces of plaster, cement and paint visible on the surface of the wood.
Fire Place was made at a transitional point in Balka’s career in which the artist began to move away from figurative representation towards more symbolic practice. Since the early 1990s Balka’s sculptures have been non-figurative, comprised of unadorned materials and simple forms, although often incorporating personally significant items. In a 1993 interview the artist stated that his move to non-figurative installation was part of his attempt to achieve greater allusiveness in his work:
In my earlier works I employed the body in the very literal way … After some time I satisfied my hunger for the form of the human body. I took interest in the forms that accompany the body and in the traces the body leaves: a bed, a coffin, a funeral urn.
(Balka in Van Abbemuseum 1993, p.64.)
In this installation, the carpet and shoes suggest some personal, yet ambiguous, significance as traces of the physical body. Balka has said of such objects that ‘I choose them because they carry a history which I connect with when I touch them. It is like kissing the hand of history.’ (Quoted in Institute of Contemporary Arts and Serpentine Gallery 1990, p.16.)
Further reading
Possible Worlds: Sculpture from Europe, exhibition catalogue, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, and Serpentine Gallery, London 1990.
Miroslaw Balka, exhibition catalogue, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven 1993.
Helen Sainsbury (ed.), Miroslaw Balka: How It Is, exhibition catalogue, Tate Modern, London 2009.
Thomas Scutt
August 2014
Supported by Christie’s.