SPACE, LIGHT AND DISORDER: A Group Show Curated by Marilla Palmer

7 January - 13 February 2016

Kathryn Markel Fine Arts ispleased to present Space, Light, and Disorder, a group exhibition curated by Marilla Palmer.

 

“Space, light, and order. Those are the things that men need just as much as they need bread or a place to sleep."

- Le Corbusier

 

But Marilla Palmer considers disorder the artists' domain and one of the primary origins of creativity. Observing the different systems of order around them, artists make up systems to disrupt the rules of aesthetics, social mores, or perception to express a unique viewpoint. Entropy is like another tool in the paint box— if there is mess they study it, in minutiae. For the artist, disorder is more than the untidy household that Le Corbusier worked to obliterate; it’s an integral part of practicing art today.  What many might construe as mental disorder can be fertile ground for inspiration. Artists will descend into the rabbit holes of their own imagination, and stay there searching for creative nuggets. This show is made up of work that uses architectural interiors as well as psychological interiority (or both) as reference, transforming how we perceive our environment.

 

Peter Dudek’s sculptures use architectural bits and pieces both salvaged and newly fabricated. Transgressing the hierarchy of architectural styles, the “objects are spread and stacked…allowing for a back and forth conversation within [his] work." The found object assemblage Modern Shakers juxtaposes Mid Century Modern elements with the Shaker concept of functionality. The utopian aspirations of both are rendered non-functional, but capable of desire. In Dudek’s architectural cartoon series, houses dream of each other.

 

Dawn Clements’ subject is domesticity drawn in loving detail with ballpoint pen, ink and watercolor. The renderings are pieced together as delicate tapestries. The finished works can be small or room sized, showing a filmic scanning of her environment. The scale and perspective are skewed with melancholy beauty. She draws as “a kind of visual diary of what [she] see[s], touch[es], and desire[s]. As [she] moves between the mundane empirical spaces of [her] apartment and studio, and the glamorous fictions of movies, apparently seamless environments are disturbed through ever-shifting points of view.”

 

KK Kozik paintings often depict architectural interiors and domestic life. The compositions are frontal and carefully composed in dream-like tableaus. In Kozik’s painting, Czech, we are privy to a bookcase in someone’s home. The books are piled up without shelves in a “messed up grid” that threatens to obscure the blue-skied landscape seen through the window. Its disarray makes us feel voyeuristic. An abstracted approach empties the books of their content. The book jackets are painted simply, without text. “I did this really randomly -- load a brush and find a few places to put the paint,” she says of the graphic element to the piece.

 

Joshua Johnson‘s multi-media sculptures are at the same time minimalist in appearance and conceptually complex. Referencing industrial prototypes, his sculptures bring to mind the dialogue between functional and non-functional in art. Scientific, consumer, and industrial products are combined with mineral and biological matter such as fossils and a human skull. He considers art “to be a cognitive technology… art’s function may be located not in its material ends, but upon its ability to orient thought”

 

Caroline Cox’s architectural sculptures begin with piles of delicate materials on the floor. Using light and gravity, the architectural hanging sculptures emerge “through an uncharted series of improvised constructions and re-workings.” In Float, Cox stitches millinery material and glass lenses creating a “visceral, special landscape” that transforms its environment. Her work is “clumped, sewn and wound together until the light, interactive materials coalesce.”  Combinations of the work’s cultural associations and the connotative strength of the materials allows for a nonverbal, poetic and ambiguously referential content to surface.

 

Sydney Licht paints and sculpts with a specific interest in consumer culture. Whether packing peanuts or gift boxes, the objects are transformed, calling “into question our assumed familiarity with the ordinary things we too often overlook.” Licht’s paintings and sculptural works involve the use of mundane objects from daily life. In Untitled, 2012 she “weaves” a curtain of Styrofoam peanuts, “the man-made variety [that] frequently ends up in landfills at the end of its life cycle.”

 

For Marilla Palmer, unruly Nature is to be domesticated, ordered, and dressed. Acting as seamstress to Mother Nature, garments are tightly tailored for branches. In her collaged watercolors, the chaotic patterns of bark are organized into textile designs for future imagined garments. The branches are re-foliated with actual pressed leaves, flowers, and millinery velvet. Working within the approved pre-modernist, pre-feminist pastimes for women such as decoupage, watercolor and sewing; disorder abounds in her studio.

 

Language and light are at the center of Bruce Pearson’s work.  Texturally dense phrases are embedded in deeply carved Styrofoam surfaces. The normal organized grid of the written word is disrupted and rendered almost illegible by the overlapping layers of color, light, and shadow that are painted on the deeply sculpted surface. We know the phrases are there —they are in the titles — but perceiving the painted words is difficult to the point of being almost hallucinogenic. As in Alice’s voyage into the rabbit hole, we’ve lost the ability to comprehend things as we usually could.

 

Theresa Hackett’s mixed-media paintings are a “philosophical inquiry.” She creates visual problems to solve them, using chaos as a tool in her paint box. The abstracted images are “geometric and organic with a shifting center of gravity.”  The illusionistic space is challenged with punctures and layering of materials. Through the window of her mixed-media paintings on panels, our kinesthetic senses are disturbed. There is a “vertiginous feeling as we fall into the portal of another reality.” For Theresa, as we “spiral into inner space,” that’s when the “meditation” begins.