In Ruminant Recombinant, Rachel Foullon's second solo exhibition at ltd los angeles, the artist has composed onsite approximately 35 layered and entangled “clusters” - self-reflexive, evocative sculptural arrangements - which individually, and as a group, draw apt parallels between both the physical and ideological space of a rural storeroom and an artist's body of work, as one aggregate work-inprogress, its own independent lifeline and fluid feedback loop.
These conglomerations include elements from pre-existing artworks, which are regurgitated, re-employed and used as raw material, in combination with newly sewn and dyed sculptural components hijacked from an on-going largescale project. Additionally incorporated are found materials such as old ropes, frayed electrical cords, cracked garden hoses and other out-of-use items gutted from an old cow barn in Upstate New York previously owned by another artist. Much like the motivating source material for Foullon's work—this country's history of agrarian living and working amidst inhospitable environments—the building blocks of this exhibition all have pragmatic back stories, and yet transcend those footnotes to become present-tense mulch for re-chewing and re-presentation.
An expansive apparatus hosts the “clusters.” Mounted high on the gallery walls are two rows of milled and stained cedar molding on which hang sliding cleats with oversized pegs. The cleats' mobility allows for further arrangement possibilities. Foullon designed the system with the capacity to expand and contract the entire installation at will, suggesting a storage unit that breaths. This is an appropriate metaphor for her object-based practice grounded in the transformation of materials through labor, and the space they occupy. Due to the flexible nature of the materials, those co-opted from pre-existing works have the ability to return to their original manifestations in the future, however with the added installation option of these alternate “storage” permutations.
Several works from Foullon's Cruel Radiance series act as a coda to the works exhibited on the cleat system. In this series, featuring renovations of pre-industrial farm tools, the artist strips and refinishes antique implements and extrapolates on the way that each was designed to cooperate with the human body. Foullon maps the geometry of the spaces in between the body, the prosthetic tool and the repetitive movements made by that object in use, by way of polished nickel-plated brass. This mirrored finish and the wood's pale fleshy stain serve as another ruminative bounce within the exhibition, disallowing a “pure” evaluation by serving back up the lush and complex chaos across the room.
On the occasion of this exhibition Aram Moshayedi has written a text, which will be available at the gallery and at www.ltdlosangeles.com.
In 2011, Rachel Foullon was awarded a Fellowship in Sculpture from the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA). Her first solo museum exhibition will take place in the fall of 2012 at the University Art Museum, University of Albany, SUNY, with catalogue essays by Elizabeth Smith and Todd Alden.