Gina Chase was the artist I chose to do my second artist review. It was acutally the very same day that I posted my conceptual project proposal for exploring space and place. I was drawn to her work because of my interest in memroy. I enjoyed her careful attention to details with her layering of images. I also enjoyed the incorporation of mirrors into many of the pieces, as if to question ones real self as upposed to ones representational self. That idea of images and memory resonates with me, even all these weeks later, and I even held onto the newsprinted story.
Recently in MFA | BFA exhibitions Category
I wanted to start by saying I enjoyed all the pieces in both shows. I had a hard time with choosing a piece from the MFA show. I was torn between Ben's work and Bart's work. I ended up Choosing Bart Vargas' Visual Spectrum piece. I was very interested in his choice of latex paint because I had previously never seen a work of art using latex. This piece was made up of a large amount of square panels about 12" ea, that made up a larger shape. Each individual panel have perspective lines in many great spectrum colors, that had drips going over some of the other colors. In each panel I was drawn to the outsides of the square where you could see all the layers of colors overlapping each other. Lately I have been seeing crazy shapes and objects in tiles, and the way that he placed these panels to form a larger unified shape was great.
For the BFA show it was hard to decide a single piece, because I was in the show I was able to speak to everyone about their work in greater detail. I actually have to choose the works as a whole. So I will write about*spoiler alert. I feel that the selection of work that each artist chose in this group worked well with their own works as well as the whole group. From entering the Quarter gallery to making your way to the end and back to the beginning is an amazing journey. The artists utilized their given spaces very well and I believe this show show travel around the country to show how well the University of MN helps the BFA students grow not only in their work but as artists themselves.
One of my favorite pieces from the BFA show was the interactive wall installation by HA13. It was like a hidden jem, packed in the back of the gallery behind a wall. The urban-ish landscape stuck on a vertical axis was immediately striking, and the aqua streaks of paint seeping from the cracks drew me in further. The visual aesthetic alone was an easy access point for the piece, even if I didn't immediately understand its substance. The buzzer initially led me to believe that it was interactive, and reacted when I approached it. It seemed simple enough, but the more I played with it, I realized that I had no idea what was triggering the buzzer. It seemed to go off at random in my presence and it really grabbed my curiosity. It was a very fun piece to try and figure out and very visually pleasing, but my full appreciation of the piece came after learning its true meaning. In reference to the recent tsunami in Japan, the piece suddenly became very ominous and grave. It was sobering to visualize the forms as buildings from a birds-eye view, hearing the tsunami warning siren and watching the water seep from the buildings like blood. It forced me to ponder my own reaction to the tsunami, reflecting on my sympathy or lack thereof. The piece revealed itself as having a very true and honest meaning, and I really appreciated it.
The MFA show was larger, more diverse, and included far more works, but my favorite piece was probably the first one you see when you walk in. "Door (embedded)" by Jennifer Anable was very welcoming, and really drew me into the gallery. How simple, to have the first piece be made of doors in a gallery whose entrance has none. It spoke to me before I even walked into the gallery. "Come on in! Open the door!" The delicate staging of the doors made me consider balance, as if on a threshold. I visualized the potential motion of these two doors, stuck in each other like, well, doors in a door frame. I saw them swinging through each other on invisible hinges, and I felt the movement of the two panes through space. I thought of them as potential portals, something I didn't expect to consider at first glance.
When I attended the opening receptions for both these shows it was hard to get anything out of the experience of looking at the pieces; with so many people around I found it difficult to focus on the work enough to develop a meaningful relationship to anything. The advantage was though, was that I was able to talk to some of the artists.
Broc Blegen has helped me with various collaborative projects outside of school for the last two years, but I had never seen any work of his so I was excited to see his work in the show. Though surprising, I enjoyed seeing him try to deal with racial politics with his three pieces. Though I still feel conflicted on whether using whiteness as framing device for the discussion is effective, I also feel like it could have ended up entirely inappropriate to deal with that problem in a different way. I also felt that his method of reinterpreting previously existing pieces was interesting. It was an interesting form of appropriation that I personally haven't seen before; like a musician performing another musician's work.
I found Jonathan Kaiser's work satisfying and interesting in similar ways. I like how the titling Game of Troy guided my experience of Kaiser's installation, I felt like I was being challenged by a riddle while I walked through and considered the individual pieces. The Partial Infinity Room also seemed to act as the entrance and exit for the walk through the all the individual pieces, which for me helped the analogy the whole installation seemed to be making to the idea of the labyrinth.
I was also particularly moved by Jennifer Anable's work but am not going to write about it here because I'm not yet able to explain clearly what it is that I appreciate about it.
The piece that captured my attention was "Black Box for Impossible Research." Even though I can see from the glass top the ridiculously long arms, the desire to try putting mine inside anyway and see if they might miraculously extend that long is still there. The the conflicting "do not touch" sign enforces this impossibility then, rather than letting it be apparent, which creates an interesting conflict. I was curious if the do not touch sign was there because of the desire to preserve the particular arrangement of the delicate objects inside the box or if it was in part to add conflicting weight to that "do not touch" rule.
The other pieces were arranged in the space in such a way that encouraged exploration and inspired curiosity. I also really enjoyed After Theater because of the presentation of a theater seat mounted on a stage-like pedestal, positioned in front of a record player that repeats the same measures of sound over and over again. Although neither visit provided me the opportunity to sit for the entire record, I imagined that the longer I would sit there, the more used to the repetition I would become. At first sitting there you are inspired by the urge to get up, and the longer you sit there, the longer the melodic chords (sorry I don't know music terminology) melt into you, and you feel them and less notice their repetition as it all blends together.
Also "Travel Map" drawn in sand inside a suitcase very much appeals to my own personal aesthetic. The map reads as a personal narrative rather than a communicative tool, and the sand makes the map ephemeral and fleeting--travels can change, be erased, rewritten in the sand.
To: Gina Chase
I just got a chance to see your work in the soon-to-open BFA show. I really appreciated the way you took one story and played with it in so many ways. I was first drawn to the story in its ribbon form, piled on top of the shelf. It made me want to handle it, to be able to read it in my hands, but as I became aware of the pinned pieces, I realized that each part of the work turned the story into an object that shared the story in a different way. The pinned objects reminded me a bit of Mark Dion's work, directing our attention to bits that have been collected from a whole.
After seeing your work this morning, I've found myself thinking about memory throughout the day. Your pieces offered me some interesting analogies on ways I remember things: sometimes in bits and pieces, sometimes as a jumbled string, sometimes in a tactile way. Thanks for an opportunity to see these sensations of stories and memories reflected in a physical way.
p.s. I like, too, that you provided the story as a handout.
I went to the BFA twice, once solo and once with a few other people. Both times I noticed myself and the others lingering around HA 13's noise-emitting sculptures, trying to figure out exactly how they worked. People were having fun with these pieces. It would be interesting to track the movements of people around such works as i noticed we were walking in circles, stopping and starting abruptly, repeating various actions that might have triggered the motion. I liked the idea of a low-volume alarm catching people as they look at paintings that contain subject and stylistic qualities that are somewhat taboo (I don't know if taboo is the right word, but I think politics and street art definitely carry some taboo connotations..). Also, I really appreciate the bold use of color and utilization of the canvas and wall for painting, plus the big red "V" is clearly visible from the street through the windows, which brings the painting into yet another dimension.
In the MFA show I was drawn to the work of Jonathan Kaiser, more so in his approach to enliven hidden places than his overall aesthetic though. The punched hole in the wall filled with flatly-colored crystal-like shapes was disguised as something broken, but on closer examination revealed something purposeful, beautiful, and highly detailed. I liked this play between the broken vs. the intentional in his work as was also evident in the record with endlessly repeating tracks.
MFA- Jennifer Anable
Immediately I felt as if I were on a sun-drenched beach, examining the leftover artifacts of someone's summertime home. Although there were multiple levels of
First I want to say how much I loved both of these exhibitions. There was at least one piece from each artist that I thought was delightfully conceived, designed, and created. So yeah, thanks for that.
MFA, Ben Garthus:
What I appreciated most about Ben's work was that it highlighted the human connection between the artist and participant as something truly native, genuine and kinetic. In this respect the objects (cart, human hoop...) aptly represent Ben's art as gesture and intention. It was also clear that these objects are mere archives of a larger experience. Though they're delightfully designed and masterfully constructed, they only play a incidental role in the overall experience. This reality is further evinced by the video footage, itself a mere archive, albeit one that is fun and effectively representative. I yearned to experience these objects at work in the "outside" world, not fetishized in a gallery. After all, if these devices are an extension of the artist's invitation to be creative and interact on a genuinely kinetic level, where is the artist himself? Obviously not in a galley, but in the world, where he belongs, acting as a creative force. The obvious irony here is that these realizations all occurred while observing, not interacting, as a well-behaved gallery geek.
HA13's exhibition evinced a clear intersection and layering of sociopolitical space at the level of geometry and color. The pseudo-print-style paintings were an effective 2D (literally and stylistically) context for the two-way intersection of politics and satire. The use of grey and red, however, pulled me into another conceptual direction altogether, as if Teroy (sorry, ahem, HA13) is nudging me to "read between the lines" of superficial sociopolitical relationships. This use of grey is mirrored--quite literally--on the opposite side of the gallery space, where a network cubist objects cast crisp shadows on the gallery surface. I loved the energy this brought to my overall experience. This is brought about through the motion of additive dementionality beginning at the 2D paintings, then to the 3D cubist objects on the wall, and finally to the 4D (time via motion) nature of the dangling box. It was a beautifully simple and transparent continuity of media. (On the other hand, I have no idea what was intended by the flower pot in the corner.)
This intersection of space, concept and dimention is additionally amplified, knowing that HA13 is also Teroy. Perhaps the use of an alias is a respectful bow to his roots as a DJ and graffiti artist, but I felt it communicated something deeper--it poised the Teroy's self-awareness as an intermediary between himself and his art, clearly reflecting his concerns with modes of creativity in the world, especially as it concerns his awareness of categorization and tradition (hip-hop, graffiti, cubism, etc.) In doing this, he has himself become his own 2D self portrait.
BFA student Broc Blegen seems to depict the concept of 'white' and 'whiteness' as a subtle, but sharp symbol of race identity and inequality within the austere confines of curatorial modern art. The 'modern' monochromatic palette is striking in its inscrutability, particularly in the white-on-white paper tapestry painted with the words "I WISH I WAS NOT WHITE.' I appreciate the precise use of a simple selection of materials (neon, paint, wood, paper) to convey a depth of intention and thought, which I believe is both clear and provocative.