Western Exhibitions is pleased to present “Indirect Observation”, a 3-person group show featuring works based on idiosyncratic observations and notational process, that will include embellished found diaries by Sally Agee, hand-drawn maps of Cincinnati by Courttney Cooper, and artist books – essentially illustrated novels and novellas – by Andy Moore.
The show opens on Saturday, July 7, 2012with a free public reception from 5 to 8pm and will run through August 18, 2012 (and by appointment until September 1). Gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 11am to 6pm and by appointment.
SALLY AGEE has been making and exhibiting work in the New York City metropolitan area since the early 1980s and is known for her hooked rug “paintings” that address issues of gender politics and conflicts as played out in the mass media. Currently she makes artist books, as she recently stated: “Passing by a dumpster on a street in Brooklyn one day, I saw a discarded book, apparently a diary of an unknown teenager. It reminded me of my own adolescence. There was humor, it was full of feeling, it was poignant. I couldn’t put it down. Its anonymity drew me in. I started embellishing it, and soon it was mine.”
Marshall Weber, curator and creative director of Booklyn, talks about this first artist book:
Found on the Street” – “it is nothing less than a 21st Century illuminated manuscript. Agee’s elaborate treatments (she calls them embellishments) of a dairy of a young girl writing from the 1980’s are empathetically sincere and incredibly evocative. The artwork is an enigmatic mix of naïve and intelligent urban folk approaches that seem tuned in to the tradition of mediaeval illuminations and the exuberance of contemporary underground comix. It’s almost as if Robert Crumb, Maira Kalman and Jean Pucelle were channeled into one artist.
COURTTNEY COOPER draws large elaborate and exuberant maps of Cincinnati, by hand, from memory. Gluing together pieces of found paper from his job at a grocery store, Cooper's obsessive drawings, rendered with ballpoint pens, map out neighborhoods in his hometown in remarkable detail. He often walks the streets of the city, committing all the places he visits to memory, a process that he has been using since he was a child. His maps depict more than just streets and monuments, often addressing the season in which it was made, current events and projects occurring locally, such as the WEBN fireworks or Oktoberfest or the Taste of Cincinnati, even going back into the drawings to update them when new buildings are constructed or torn down. Throughout the sprawling maps are written thoughts and phrases hidden beneath the landscape and revealed within the open white space of the paper.
Cooper has exhibited extensively in the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area including the Contemporary Art Center and The Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center, Covington, KY and is a studio resident at Visionaries + Voices, a non-profit arts organization that provides support for artists with disabilities, offering them professional studio space and the opportunity them to grow professionally and personally. Courttney Cooper mini-documentary by V +V work-study intern Sam Pennybacker:
ANDY MOORE’s intensely illustrated artist books blur boundaries between fiction and autobiography, novels and diaries, as his characters (stand-ins for Moore himself?) pursue answers to their unremitting ambiguities and doubts relative to community, God, love, parenthood and daily life. Pages in Moore’s books start with ink drawings; he then adds colorful, even garish washes of paint; and finishes with text that is heavily worked and re-worked, evidenced by layers of scotch tape and correction fluid. Covers can be just as striking – “Brian’s Story”, his follow-up to the epic tome “John’s Luv”, wears a disassembled teddy bear as front and back cover.
It’s impossible not to feel a connection while leafing through Andy Moore’s thick book, John’s Luv (2003-2010), a definite highlight of the exhibition and a work that could easily take hours exploring. The book itself defies the category "artist's book," which still seems too reproducible for this unique multi-media endeavor. Every page is illuminated in a variety of styles and media, which unexpectedly recalls the work of William Blake. Bandaged with tape and subjected to revisions upon revisions, like memory itself, the book chronicles John’s life and his attempts come to grips with the biggest questions in life: God, death, relationships to loved ones and the community, art and how to live in a conscious way. The narrative is so honest, so personal that it is hard to tell where John leaves off and Moore begins, which is a part of the point.
-- From Abraham Ritchie from his review of “People Don’t Like to Read” in ArtSlant, July 2011
Andy Moore's recent solo show at Gallery 400 at the University of Illinois-Chicago was reviewed in the Chicago Tribune, ArtSlant and Chicago Art Review. His first show in Chicago was at Beret International and he has since shown in many local venues, including Kavi Gupta Gallery; TBA Exhibition Space; Western Exhibitions; and Dogmatic Gallery. From 2000–2004, Moore was one of four co-owners of the artist-run space Deluxe Project in Chicago. Andy Moore has an MFA from School of the Art Institute of Chicago and lives and works in Chicago.