Trigger & Reconfigure
Curated by Jessica Straus, & Antoinette Winters
Opening Reception: Thursday, January 27, 4:45-6pm
Exhibit Dates: Jan. 22-Feb. 19, 2011
Gallery Hours: Tuesday-Friday 11am-4pm, Saturdays 12-4pm
This exhibition explores how an artwork begins with an encounter between an object or image and the artist. The found form, not necessarily interesting or beautiful to others, is so compelling to the artist that it must be engaged with, seized even. Intuitively the artist understands the possibilities this form offers for reinvention. And thus the art-making process begins. There will be dialogue surely, sometimes a grappling, a coaxing or a nudging of this form until new light or a new life emerges. The job of the artist becomes one of championing this object, heralding to others why it matters.
“Artists Display Shared Affinity for Discarded Objects”
Boston Globe, Jan. 27, 2011
When I was a kid at Girl Scout camp, during one of those typical “what does your dad do?” conversations (of course, it was understood that our moms didn’t do anything!) my tent-mate, Henrietta, told the group her father was a spatula handle maker. No one batted an eyelash. My only thought at the time was, oh yeah, I guess someone has to make those things. Now such a declaration would seem preposterous. Spatulas, let alone spatula handles are just cranked out by the zillions, machine-molded with seemingly no human intervention, void of character and personality. No one’s dad makes those one at a time, much less, for a living! In my “Widget” series, I’m recollecting Henrietta’s dad, the individual maker, leaving his own mark on the world of small things. By marrying a gadget from a couple generations ago with my own hand-carved interventions I’m stretching definitions of function, celebrating invention, putting in a plug for the quirkiness of the individual and thumbing my nose at mass production, big box distribution and mindless consumerism. I’m also just having fun!
Jessica Straus is a sculptor and works in a studio in the Brickbottom Artists Building in Somerville, MA. Her artwork is represented by the Boston Sculptors Gallery. She has shown her work at the Addison Gallery of American Art, the Fuller Craft Museum, the Danforth Art Museum, the Duxbury Art Complex Museum, the DeCordova Museum, and the Berkshire Art Museum. A recipient of a Massachusetts Cultural Council grant and a Berkshire Taconic Foundation grant, Straus was also a nominee for the recently established Brother Thomas awards.
The act of organizing marks and materials within a clearly bounded two-dimensional space provides opportunities to achieve order in an otherwise disorderly world. Mundane objects, with their infinite variation of forms and lines, serve as my springboard. Working with a range of materials on paper, Mylar and cloth, I develop series in which systems of relating marks, colors, and forms are employed. Using a repeated process of addition and deletion, I combine images and text – drawn, painted, stenciled, or collaged – until a distinct composition emerges. Throughout this process, the tension of line, the happenstance of marks, and the density of surface become variables to control or to release.
“And, But, Also” is a series of Works on Paper that began with my rediscovery of fabric remnants, drawings, and an odd assortment of objects set aside from previous series for future use. These disparate parts, which I previously considered in groupings with others of like kind, had lost their relation to an organizing context that had given them reason for being. I became interested in finding what it might take to re-assemble them into a new whole. Now, with each “remnant” functioning as a singular element, I’m forging different principles of linking to achieve a new kind of visual narrative.
Antoinette Winters is a painter and drawer with a studio in the Waltham Mills Artist Complex. She has exhibited her work in numerous shows, including University of Maine Museum of Art, The Kingston Gallery, The Danforth Museum of Art, Massachusetts College of Arts & Design, the Mills Gallery, Regis College, Arthur Hill Gallery, T.W.Wood Gallery, Concord Art Association, and the New Art Center, where she co-curated the exhibition, Plant Matter. Her work is included in The Drawing Center’s Viewing Program, New York, NY. In ’02, ’04 and ’08 she conceived of and developed the visual design elements for Concord Academy Dance Company’s performance of Transformation Pending, Strike! and Zero at the Bone. She received her degree in Art from Immaculate Heart College, CA and completed advanced studies at Mass Art and the Museum School. She teaches Fiber Arts and Drawing at Concord Academy, Concord, MA.
I’ve made things by hand since I was a child, fabricating my way through every year: finger painting, clothing, fancy desserts, macramé, then etching, block printing, batik, drawing, painting, clay, welding. While my art can appear to be “about” many things, I’ve come to the realization that in my two dimensional work I am most of all interested in exploring the space of that surface and developing a layered, textural depth. In my three dimensional work the idea of containment is more the mission; the layering of thing within thing within thing becomes the metaphor. In both cases I seek to draw the viewer in to a small, intimate, unique world.
I am inspired by many things: patterns in insect wings, worn, marked surfaces, lacy dried leaves, used, gridded paper, old books. A lot of my impulses, whether they are artistic, domestic, or instructive, rise up from a psychology not to be wasteful. Hence, scraps of paper get saved to be used later in collage, a piece of cardboard becomes a box, the rind of a ripe melon, with its intricate linear patterns, becomes a page in a book. I like taking things that already exist and using them to new ends. I try to discover a new purpose in discarded detritus and impose myself on the details. I know I’m not the only one. It’s a way of responding to the world.
Abbie Read has been a mixed media artist for many years, working in both two-dimensional and three-dimensional media. A few years ago Read learned techniques in the Book Arts, and how to properly make a book as well as learning the various processes that go along with it. Read now uses her own paste papers in her own work, which deals more with assemblage than Book Arts. Her art process draws from all kinds of different mediums and approaches.
I hope my sculptures entice, surprise and spark viewer’s curiosity. We often want to know what something is, so we can fit it into our prescribed ideas and feel like we “know” it. The challenge of using an existing form and shifting it into strange new territory means giving up the old view/idea and staying open to what may emerge. This often means breaking up or “ruining” a beloved object.
I am drawn to forms like funnels, tubes (conduits), coils and handles. I choose these types of shapes that imply movement or organic physical processes such as: contracting, expanding, sliding, twisting and bulging. Sometimes a gesture can suggest a poetic slant to functionality.
Laura Evans is a member of the Boston Sculptors Gallery. She has exhibited her work at HallSpace Gallery, the Nesto Gallery at Milton Academy, MOBIUS, the Sarah Doyle Gallery at Brown University, the Fitchburg Art Museum, and the Mills Gallery at the Boston Center for the Arts. She has been a visiting artist at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, UMass Dartmouth, Hampshire College, and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts.