Archive for December, 2009
I have two paintings (Matrix 6 and Matrix 7) in this group show of 32 artists. The exhibition was juried by Nick Capasso, Senior Curator at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum. Here are the details:
Material is Language, 5th Annual Juried Exhibition
119 Chelmsford Street
Lowell, MA 01851
Show runs November 24 – December 19, 2009
Artists’ Reception: Saturday, December 5, 2009, 6-10pm
Gallery Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 12-5pm
Artists: Mitchel K Ahern, Betul Arin, Sarah Bennett, Deborah Brown, Kathleen Cammarata, Anne Cavanaugh, Jim Coates, Michael F. Dailey Jr., Empire S.N.A.F.U. Restoration Project, Nicole Ratos Enerson, Charles Gallagher, Amy Geise, Jane Fox Hipple, Dian Hosmer, Anna Isaak-Ross, Jim Jeffers, Jan Johnson, Kyeong Kim, Craig Lupien, Denise Manseau, Stephen Mishol, Andy Moerlein, Alicia Renadette, Yulanda Rios, Dan Rocha, Lynda Schlosberg, Laurie Simko, Emile Tobenfeld, Brenda van der Beek, Katherine Vetne, Charlies Win, Dei Xhrist
The theme of “material as language” was chosen by the 119 Gallery for this juried group exhibition, and as the invited juror I adhered closely to this intentional framework. In selecting artwork for the show, I applied two criteria: overall aesthetic excellence, and the overt privileging of materials in the creation and content of each work.
Art historically considered, materials – until very recently – were to be transformed, transcended, and hidden in the service of imagery. Stone became flesh and drapery, paint conjured people or landscapes, glass dissolved into light itself. Inherently base, materials were vehicles for ideas and emotions. In and of themselves, they were but dust.
The trajectory of art since the late 19th century changed all this. Impressionism and Post-Impressionism began to explore the materiality of paint. The direct carving movement emphasized a “dialogue with the stone.” Modernism demanded “truth to materials.” And Post-Minimalist artists considered materials themselves to be language, embraced but not transformed. And hierarchies of materials were smashed as artists worked with dirt, rubber, poured lead, raw fibers, bodily fluids, gut, meat, pollen, garbage, and a host of other stuff never before considered worthy.
In this exhibition, several ideas about materials emerge. For some artists, materiality is crucial – but in no way denied – in the creation of images and objects, and the materials themselves work to reinforce imagery and content. Other artists have synthesized the languages of materials and text. And still others have entered into a dialogue with ideas surrounding the material and the immaterial.
This last category I found most interesting, and least expected. By probing the dualities of substance/light, obdurate/ephemeral, thing/not thing, being/not being, etc., these artists get to the linguistic (as it were) and philosophical heart of “material as language.” And the single work that best articulates these relationships, with utter simplicity and breathtaking eloquence, is Nicole Ratos Enerson’s looped video In and Out, which I selected as Best in Show.
Congratulations to all the artists, and many thanks to the 119 Gallery for inviting me to serve as juror for Material is Language.
Nick Capasso, Senior Curator
deCordova Sculpture Park + Museum