The Department of Art & Art History at Stanford University presents Half Tilt Full Lean, on view from May 13 to June 15, 2014 , with a reception on Thursday, May 22, 2014, from 5:30 – 7:30PM at the Thomas Welton Stanford Art Gallery. There will be an open house with performances with the artists on Saturday, May 31, between the hours of 1 – 5PM. This group exhibition, curated by Enrique Chagoya, features the thesis artwork of five graduating MFA artists: Michael Bartalos, Galen Jackson, Eleanor Oakes, Ben Peterson, and Anja Ulfeldt.
Michael Bartalos’s sculptures are concerned with sequence, fragmentation, categorization, network, and the idea that everything in the material world has a narrative. Bartalos’s latest wall installation, Phase Transition, was created by cutting long, two-inch strips of Mylar that were then draped into loops and hung from clear dowels, giving the viewer the impression of dripping water. The Mylar, with its metallic sheen that sways lightly in the wind of passersby, reflects brilliant shades of green, blue, and red on the wall, facilitated by the colored gels in flood lights that shine on the Mylar from their bird’s eye view in the gallery. Inspired by a 2011 Nature magazine graph that tracked the melting of Arctic sea ice over the last 1,450 years, Phase Transition, through its artistic translation of scientific data, is an exploration of material, light and reflectivity.
An Atlanta, Georgia native, Galen Jackson strives to create symbolic systems and cosmologies that can function autonomously once set in motion. After the act of constructing these artistic engines, Jackson aims to be their custodian and mechanic as he tries to abide their raveling and unraveling logic. At the epicenter of his practice is video, and in his current work, a three-part series showcasing the life, research, and world of a revered wheat scientist named L. Mordecai Spinards, Jackson employs security camera footage capturing men in white suits tending to rows of chemically injected wheat in Spinards’s underground bunker. Jackson’s additional pieces in the series give the viewer an inside look into Spinards’s personal life, as well as tap into Jackson’s performance artwork, which Art Gallery visitors can experience first-hand during the open house on May 31.
Eleanor Oakes’s work explores the nature of human interactions and perceptions, particularly through issues of time, loss, and memory. Oakes is drawn to places where past, present, presence, and absence intertwine, as she believes it is in these locations where the possibility of our interactions leaving a lasting impression seem to present themselves. In her work Residual Loop, 2013 - present, the viewer sees a series of large format photographs with each piece displaying draped cloth in muted shades of yellow and green. The fabric, a typical backdrop one would employ under a bowl of fruit or vase of flowers for a still life portrait, is all that remains - burned, wrinkled, and stained. In the absence of additional subject matter, the cloth becomes the focus, and suggests that we, the viewers, have missed something…but what? That, Oakes says, is up to the viewer to interpret.
Sitting atop an oversized pedestal painted in whisper white, Ben Peterson’s small architectural sculptures draw visitors closer. Each standing no more than 20 inches high, the modest army of coarse, gray sculptures initially mislead the viewer into thinking that they are concrete, and not, in fact, their native material, ceramic, which has been fired and painted to simulate concrete. Peterson’s sculptures give a nod to Soviet Constructivist architecture and military fortifications, featuring sharp angles and planes, and tunneled openings that invite the viewer to take a closer look inside. The shapes are familiar, some of the forms even resemble man’s best friend, but all are uniquely distinctive while remaining unified.
For Anja Ulfeldt, employing sound in her art comes from a very personal place; over the last twelve years, Ulfeldt has lived in urban spaces that were polluted with industrial noise, which has now worked its way into her studio practice. Ulfeldt explores interdisciplinary and experiential art forms, and her latest performable object, Domestic Infrastructure #2, spans the back wall of the Art Gallery with a simple network of cast iron drainpipes. The pipes weave themselves up the wall and connect to a hand pump on the floor. The system is activated when a user moves the handle, and the more rigorous the user swings the pump handle, the more water builds up in the system. The buildup’s frenzied release through joints in the pipes emit gurgling and bubbling sounds, which are captured by microphones imbedded in the pipes and projected by the attached audio system.
There will be extended weekend hours of 10AM – 5PM during Commencement Weekend (June 14 and June 15), and admission is free