a field guide to getting lost
In commemoration of the institution’s thirty year anniversary, Pelavin Gallery is proud to announce a group exhibition of gallery artists based on the cultural historian Rebecca Solnit’s book of essays, A Field Guide to Getting Lost. Using Solnit’s meditation on the pleasures and terrors of getting lost as a premise, this show seeks to present a collection of works which entices “the wideness of the world” and the virtues of being open to new and transformative experiences. Curated by Todd Masters with the intent of celebrating the gallery’s new diverse program, a variety of media will be shown—installation, wall drawing, mixed-media, painting, photography, drawing, sculpture, collage—and a number of gallery artists represented, including: Kate Beck, Jean-Paul Cattin, Tara Fracalossi, Patricia Gaeta, Dima Gavrysh, Karl Klingbiel, Norman Mooney, Timothy Paul Myers, Margaret Neill, Fiona Robinson, Mark Safan and Cecilla Vissers.
The exhibition of A Field Guide to Getting Lost, like Solnit’s essays, advocates the importance, for any creative act, to allow the mind and body to wander. Throughout the show, the artists’ personal and professional wanderlust is showcased through the implementation of layering, repetition and unique use of materials. Viewers are presented with such assorted works as a thirteen foot installation of meticulously hand-cut graph paper by Patricia Gaeta; a multi-layered reductive painting of poured oil paint, graphite and mica on canvas by Kate Beck; a nine inch thick Lincoln Library filled cover-to-cover with daily ink drawings by Margaret Neill; and a plexiglass display case filled with a collection of hundreds of pages covered in hand typed dollar signs by Timothy Paul Myers.
S olnit’s writing is often abstract, constantly interlacing personal reflections and cultural histories. She informs us that the word “lost” derives from the Old Norse for disbanding an army and extrapolates from this the idea of striking “a truce with the wide world.” Alluding to the author’s literary methodology and references in the curation of this exhibition, Masters combines diverse styles and subjects by the twelve artists on display. One grouping of works ties together a carbon drawing by Norman Mooney created with the billowing smoke of a blowtorch; Dima Gavrysh’s Untitled night vision portrait of an American soldier in Afghanistan; Cecilia Vissers’ smooth and saturated anodized aluminum diptyic titled Gaoth; andKarl Klingbiel’s The Hunter’s Sleeve, an expressionistic oil and encaustic on board that showcases a depth of divergent palettes and textures.
Blue, in concept and color, is an important character in this exhibition as the idea of disorientation—“Blue is the color of longing for the distance you never arrive in.” The alternating chapter titles in Solnit’s book of essays, The Blue of Distance, is a point of reference for several works in the show. Fiona Robinson’s atmospherical Unstable Horizon displays layers of mirage-like lines of a shifting horizon, while Tara Fracalossi’s site specific installation of photographs—mounted to the walls of a narrow hallway in the gallery—presents the viewer with various sea and sky scapes from the artist’s daily documentation of her everyday life. Other works focus on the discussion of the distance and disembodiment of Blue—Mark Safan’s oil on canvas depiction of a torn cloudscape and Jean-Paul Cattin’s abstract c-print of Motel de Founex both play with ideas of nostalgia, longing and loss—illustrating Sonit’s conclusion that “to be lost is to be fully present, and to be fully present is to be capable of being in uncertainty.”