The Department of Art & Art History at Stanford University is pleased to present ARSENAL on view from January 8 to February 10, 2013, with opening reception on January 10, 5:30-7:30 PM at the Thomas Welton Stanford Art Gallery. This exhibition introduces five first year MFA students in Art Practice to Stanford and the arts community. The artists include Michael Bartalos, Galen Jackson, Eleanor Oakes, Ben Peterson, and Anja Ulfeldt.
As the exhibition title suggests, a supply of methods and resources has been deployed at the Art Gallery, resulting in the creation of new work from the diverse and eclectic practices of the five artists. As curator Terry Berlier states, “one often thinks of ‘arsenal’ as weapons or in terms of the military, but the term is employed here to define a collection of individuals and the worlds they reimagine.”
Michael Bartalos’s sculptural work references scientific inquiry, sociological investigation, and codified languages to propose nonlinear, fragmented narratives in space. His piece, Projections, creates an array of ‘sculptural drawings.’ Made of wood, wire, and light, it produces physical protuberances that interact with cast shadows that explore material and immaterial images, mappings, and architectures. Viewers are invited to manipulate the environments by using a flashlight or moving among the list constructions to project dynamic shadows.
Galen Jackson’s performance, video, and relicts compile a world of decay, chaos, and confusion. His work entitled The Advent---Dispatches of Enterprising Malevolence from the Birth Canal of He of Limitless Rational Technical offers multiple layers that are hard to decipher: oversized computer keyboards, micro controllers, hundreds of light bulbs, faulty connections, and the list goes on.
Eleanor Oakes uses photography to seek and explore the nature of human interactions and perceptions. Her photographic prints and 35mm slide projections called Terrestrial Explorations / Cosmic Somnium, offer viewers new worlds to discern apart from the imagery and visual experience that they may have from their understanding of outer space based on history of artist renderings, photographic manipulations, and even science fiction.
Ben Peterson presents two sculptures, made of particleboard, acrylic paint, cardboard, and fabric, that are positioned on the left and right sides of the stairs leading to the Art Gallery. These works recall clothing donations boxes and multi purpose recycling centers. Their placement, however within the context of the exhibition and on Stanford campus as well, seeks to question how public space is ordered and if that order can be thrown into question by an object with an ambiguous nature and use value.
Anja Ulfeldt’s Obstacles challenges viewers the way they go about their daily lives during times of instability and insecurity. Using a platform that includes a piezoelectric contact microphones embedded in the support structure to produce every tilt, creak, and thud, the form mimics the everyday by duplicating a sidewalk which viewers cannot quietly cross as their every move is amplified, drawing attention to them and heightening the sense of removal from everyday experience in a public space.