Small Crowd: RISD MFA Painting 2011
Mixed Greens is thrilled to host the Rhode Island School of Design graduating MFA painters. Though painting has been their academic focus for the past two years, these eight talented artists use a variety of materials, processes, and inspirations to produce exceptional, thought-provoking work addressing everything from materiality to domesticity to history.
Katie Bell considers herself a simultaneous home-maker and home-wrecker; she catalogs the materials of the home while disassembling its contents. The resulting layered, multi-media work focuses on ideas of remodeling in an effort to uncover buried spaces, investigate materials, and determine what it means to build and rebuild. Her abstract works (both two and three-dimensional) use actual building materials in addition to traditional paint to reveal an anxious struggle between hiding and revealing.
Corydon Cowansage explores the psychology of mundane, residential American landscapes through minimal geometric abstractions. Her large-scale paintings draw on her immediate surroundings to create an alternate reality—a reality that appears naturalistic but is, in fact, constructed of slight distortions, compressions, and omissions. Her paintings are confrontational, yet attract the viewer through a sense of familiarity, leaving them contemplative space to project their own imagined stories onto the canvas.
Collin Hatton creates paintings that reframe the world around him. Through bent, curled, and layered picture planes and the careful, restrained use of color and texture, the canvas shifts, undulates, and vibrates, complicating two-dimensional space. Heavily coated with polymer acrylics and graphite, his paintings’ surfaces form a melted and molded plastic shell. The shifting matte and shiny surfaces interact with the environment, reflecting the world back to the viewer, evoking rich material associations.
Field Kallop explores elemental processes as a means of making an image. She employs chemical reactions, harnesses natural forces, and executes physical procedures. Using everyday materials such as ink and bleach, she orchestrates these processes on fabric, capturing the residue that they leave behind. These traces are often abstract and geometric in form; circles, spirals, and grids reveal order and beauty inherent in the physical world.
Nell Painter lives two lives: one as a visual artist and the other as a distinguished historian. Her paintings, made by combining digital and manual processes, scramble imagery from photographic archives into new visual fictions that reflect her enduring fascination with human behavior and the effects of place on action and interaction. She begins by digitally wresting figures from photographic verisimilitude. Then her hand and eye complete new compositions with light, color, brushstroke, and collage.
Anna Plesset uses painting, drawing, photography, text, and sound to create a rumination on loss, absence, and memory. She uses a surrogate for reality, the photograph, as a starting point for each piece. By withholding information and employing restraint, Plesset makes “well-remembered” images that occupy a space between remembering and forgetting. Combined with audio and text, the result is a layered fiction that mimics the fragmented ways we might recollect time and space.
Mike Schreiber deconstructs found imagery and re-presents it on canvas through layered stages of abstraction. At first glance the results of his process appear commercial or mechanical, but a closer look reveals handmade origins and the intelligence of a philosophical craftsman at play. His paintings interrogate normative patterns of seeing, transforming familiar signifiers into the unfamiliar.
Keith Allyn Spencer uses mixed media to ultimately make paintings about painting. Materials include tub scum, Vogue magazines, car parts, staples, T-shirts, and other items, all with personal associations. Although each item has significant and specific meaning, the materials are synthesized in such a way as to include hints of their origins, but ultimately return the conversation to color, process, and how we expect painting to be displayed, viewed, and appreciated.