Acting Out features the work of six contemporary artists who utilize their own bodies as the key element in works that explore human agency, normalcy, fantasy and self-promotion: Nina Katchadourian, Fahamu Pecou, Nancy Popp, Shana Robbins, Joe Sola, and Jaimie Warren. Guest curator Stuart Horodner, artistic director of the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center. January 20 – March 12, 2011. A reception, featuring a gallery talk lecture by the curator, is January 20 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm.
Acting Out, conjures the psychological response of a child or adolescent to an unpleasant situation. It speaks to actions that are emotional and intense, but also to notions of play and therapeutic resolution. Each participating artist - using combinations of painting, photography, video and performance - defines specific states of being informed by gender, race, mobility and desire. The artists’ activities are generated in traditional studios as well as carefully selected locations (city streets, forests, deserts) that act as stages for precise gestures produced for the camera, canvas or passersby.
Curator Stuart Horodner, artistic director of the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, notes that Acting Out seeks to engage notions of who and how to be. Presented in the context of a university gallery, it speaks to youthful questions about identity and possibility. By bringing together artists using diverse media with seriousness and silliness, the exhibition posits that personal investigations of self and sensibility are always in flux, modified by context and empowered by curiosity and risk.
Atlanta-based artist and event producer Fahamu Pecou’s paintings show his body as the place where complex aspects of race and masculinity are negotiated. With his sagging underwear and coded hand gestures, his work connects to popular fashions that draw inspiration from gang culture and the sexual posturing of rap music.
Nancy Popp is a Los Angeles-based artist and performer whose Untitled (Street Performances) 2005-2008, chronicle her climbing street poles and signposts, temporarily positioning herself above the street, stores and citizens. This gesture of empowerment and elevation questions notions of regulated public space and private desire, while conjuring the history of protest and activism, publicity stunts and endurance events.
Joe Sola, a Los Angeles artist who has used video, watercolor and performance in his work, draws on action films and sports training to create videos in which he presents himself performing tests of masculinity that border on masochistic slapstick.
Works by Nina Katchadourian, Shana Robbins and Jaimie Warren involve the construction of escapist fantasies, with these artists using costumes, make-up and props to transform themselves into heroic figures or mythic creatures. These avatars or surrogate-selves draw inspiration from personal circumstances as well as art history, mythology and film.
In addition to his work at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Horodner has served in director and curator positions at art centers and universities including the Atlanta College of Art Gallery, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art and Bucknell University Art Gallery. He was the founder and co-organizer of “Affair” at the Jupiter Hotel, an intimate art fair in Portland, OR from 2004-2007; and was co-owner and director of the Horodner Romley Gallery from 1992-97. His art writing has appeared in publications including Art Lies, Art Issues, Bomb, Dazed & Confused, Sculpture and Surface.
Admission to exhibit and reception is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Monday – Friday, 10 am to 5 pm, and Saturday, 12 to 5 pm. For more information, call 856-256-4521 or visit www.rowan.edu/fpa/artgallery. Rowan University Art Gallery is located on the lower level of Westby Hall on the university campus, Route 322 in Glassboro, NJ.