VCUArts: "For Lovers"
How many times have you seen a provocative work by a new artist with whom you are unfamiliar, only to pick up their resume and discover that they did their graduate work at VCU? Virginia? Really?
Well, good news. You’ve come to the source. …For Lovers features the work of twelve recent alumni of the VCUarts Department of Sculpture + Extended Media. Playing off the popular longtime marketing campaign, “Virginia is for Lovers,” the exhibition demonstrates the broad and eccentric talents with which the highly regarded department has become identified. The ambitious projects run the gamut of materials and themes, all with a marked sense of materiality and presence – each set off by an abiding sense of curiosity and intellect. The exhibition is on view at Kim Foster Gallery through July 25, 2009. The artists will be present for a reception on Friday, June 26 from 6 – 8 pm.
Berlin-based Sami Ben Larbi’s Three parts make a hole, is a film generated by combining a screenplay with production stills. The story, a blend of real-life and fictive episodes, depicts three characters each obsessed with film. Patrick Cadenhead’s Hank is a tribute to Hank Williams. His steamer trunk of an object is mingled with temporal detail that together stand in for the essence of the old-timey crooner. Lily Cox-Richard’s Rapt, previously shown in the Houston Museum of Art’s Core Program Exhibition, where she is currently a fellow, imitate 19th century grave markers: shrouded obelisks. The obelisk and its shroud are carved as one, but hers leave us wondering, "What's going on under there?" Canadian, Mia Feuer, investigates the absurdity of our constructed landscape. The physicality of her barrage of bridge parts, entitled Collapse, attempts to understand our impulse to control the movement of others. NYC-based David Grainger produces video works that isolate seemingly mundane circumstances that, upon closer inspection, are better understood as moments of wonder, moments that in fact, confound common experience. Eli Kessler’s Glimmer and Murmur, sports a polished metal top hat that simultaneously references Dr. Seuss’ Cat In The Hat and Frank Gehry’s Bilbao. His conflation of found and altered objects makes for a delicious and mysterious confusion of the real and the theatrical. Chris Mahonski gathers objects from nature and culture, making rough approximations of that which cannot be gathered. In Endless Bummer, he has coaxed a homemade concrete traffic barrier and handmade quilt into an improbable equivalency of the sea and surf. Julie Nagle assumes the role of alchemist, romantic, pioneer, and innovator as she uses her work to mirror the experimentation of 19th-century scientists. Her myriad fabrication techniques used for Madam L (cast glass, pleated sheet plastic, hand modeling) impart important content for the sculpture. Cypriot, Maria Pithara, creates video tableaus in which Baroque portraiture come to life in lushly colored and textured circumstances of utter absurdity and play. James Sham, also currently in residence at Houston’s Core Program, looks for how rules shift between the macro and micro scale of human connectivity. His video showcasing misunderstood opera lyrics demonstrates that a system’s collapse can be both compelling and entertaining. Los Angeles based artist, Jesse Robinson considers the things with which we are surrounded – at Lowes, in the parking lot, on the internet - as plastic material in which anything can be grafted to anything else. His resulting objects are modified hybrids enabling them to speak with nuance and complexity. Brian Taylor’s seemingly straightforward cast of a portion of a railroad track and its surround is anything but. It is an object in which phenomenological and historical references coalesce into a 3-dimensional idea.
..For Lovers is the sixth biennial exhibit of work by former students of the VCU Department of Sculpture + Extended Media at the Kim Foster Gallery. Numerous alumni who have exhibited in previous years have gone on to considerable accomplishment. This exhibition of idiosyncratic sculpture promises much for the future of these young artists, each having spent some of their formative years in the orbit of VCU’s #1 ranked Sculpture department. There is, unquestionably, something for everyone in this remarkable display of the far reaching and the curious.