Bass Museum of Art Presents: The Endless Renaissance – Six Solo Artist Projects: Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Barry X Ball, Walead Beshty, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Ged Quinn and Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook
Opens December 6, concurrent with ABMB 2012
Miami Beach, Fla. (October, 2012) - This December, the Bass Museum of Art shifts away from the curated group show to make room for six individual solo artist projects. On December 5, the Bass Museum of Art presents six international contemporary artists: Eija-Liisa Ahtila (Finland), Barry X Ball (USA), Walead Beshty (UK), Hans-Peter Feldmann (Germany), Ged Quinn (UK) and Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook (Thailand). In 2009, The Bass Museum of Art embarked on an ongoing exploration of the notion that all art was once contemporary and inversely, that all contemporary works of art are part of a continuum of art history. This ongoing project and these six artists presentations pay homage to the Bass Museum of Art’s mission statement, “we educate and inspire by exploring the connections between our historical collection and contemporary art.”
Presenting her 2010 film installation The Annunciation, Eija-Liisa Ahtila (b. 1959 Hämeenlinna, Finland) usually works in various multimedia formats. Often presenting large-scale, multi-channel installations, Ahtila probes the inner workings of cinema and how it is used to perceive the world. For The Annunciation, Ahtila is exploring the Christian narrative from the Gospel of Luke, a scene which has been thoroughly depicted throughout art history. In the film, characters are played mainly by non-professional actors, and it is set in an artist’s studio. The installation also includes several images of Annunciation paintings, showing Eija-Liisa’s direct engagement of significant art historical works in a contemporary fashion.
Barry X Ball
Directly engaging the historic tradition of the portrait bust, Barry X Ball (b. 1955, Pasadena, California) utilizes digital technologies and unconventional types of stone in creating his body of work. Taking digital scans of his models, which include prominent historical sculptures and contemporary art-world figures, he uses a computer to manipulate and ultimately carve the sculptures. The resulting works provide eerie portraits of their sitters, simultaneously recognizable and obfuscating. The translucent nature of many of the types of stone he chooses gives his works a glowing, ethereal quality – a celestial quality which sculptors have been intensely pursuing throughout art history.
Exploring the very art world of which they are a part, the works of Walead Beshty (b. 1976, London, England) are diverse and often conceptually based. Keenly aware of their own histories, Beshty’s FedEx boxes and copper sculptures offer a detailed record of their journey between various locations. The FedEx works are displayed with their packaging, but they also chronicle the cracks and scratches they receive during their shipment. Similarly, Beshty’s copper panels are handled without gloves, allowing fingerprints and smudges to become part of each work’s appearance. As the history of art is concerned very much over a work’s provenance, or its record of ownership, Beshty’s works offer the viewer tangible accounts of their own prior histories.
Throughout his career, Hans-Peter Feldmann (b. 1941, Dusseldorf, Germany) has collected images and objects, exploring how we find meaning and value in various everyday items. His work also examines the way that art functions, including the way it has traditionally increased the social status of its owner or has been used as historical record. In challenging the way that art-world works, Feldmann doesn’t sign his works, give them titles, or allow the use of labels. Using found images and paintings, he tweaks the objects ever so slightly, by adding a clown nose or crossed eyes, for example. In the end, these manipulations are just enough to subvert the original object’s meaning. Feldmann’s use of humor also allows him to question the viewer’s expectations of art throughout his work.
Hans-Peter Feldmann’s presentation was curated by Helena Tatay.
In his paintings, Ged Quinn, (b. 1963, Liverpool, England) places elements from literature, history and mythology within pastoral landscapes. Reassessing such landscapes with specific references and allusions to history, literature and mythology, Quinn probes the psychological depths of Romanticism and other schools of painting. Each painting operates on multiple levels, consisting of fragments of information. Disregarding typical linear narratives, Quinn’s works result in complex systems of information that invite endless interpretations. Exposing themes such as mortality, melancholia and transcendence, Quinn’s intensely philosophical and methodical paintings reflect his interest in how ideas travel throughout history.
Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook (b. 1959, Trad, Thailand) explores the connections between the legacy of Western art and various Eastern cultures. In her works for this exhibition, she engages masterworks from prominent European artists that are well-known to Western audiences. She presents these works to rural Thai villagers and farmers who are likely unfamiliar with the legacies of each work. In doing so, she explores the connections that are created when two diverse realms are instantly intersected. As the Thai audiences approach these works with humor, concern, confusion and delight, several commonalities arise between two seemingly disparate cultures.
The Endless Renaissance – Six Solo Artist Projects: Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Barry X Ball, Walead Beshty, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Ged Quinn and Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook will be on view during Art Basel Miami Beach 2012 with a VIP reception on December 5, 2012 9pm-12am. Special museum hours will be: Thursday, December 6 through Monday, December 10, 2012, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and regular museum hours thereafter. The exhibition runs through March 17, 2013.