mixed media

Pushing the Envelope: Fun With Hot Glass

Here's a high-energy video to start off the day (via Core77 via YouTube). Rhode Island native and RISD alum (BFA industrial design / MFA glass) C. Matthew Szosz gets his elemental energy out inflating fused sheets of window glass into sculptural glass "envelopes". Hot glass is explosive - the stillness of the final form is belied by the frenetic urgency of the process. Love it.

If you are in New York, these works are on display at Urban Glass in Brooklyn through this Friday, November 14th, as part of the Wheaton Fellows group show "The Space Between". Images of the finished "inflatables" are available on the Urban Glass website.

C. Matthew Szosz, "#37", 2006, glass

Image: C. Matthew Szosz, "#37", fused and inflated window glass

Elizabeth King: "The Sizes of Things in the Mind's Eye"

An exciting exhibition opens tonight at Brown University's David Winton Bell Gallery. Artist Elizabeth King pushes the boundaries of the mechanics and emotion of human movement through her evocative, cross-media works.

In a groundbreaking mid-career survey, "The Sizes of Things in the Mind's Eye" represents a wide selection of the artist's meticulous automaton sculptures and their accompanying film studies. King's otherworldly human portraits in fine porcelain, glass and wood bridge the time-honored practice of sculpture with the science of human movement and the illusion of film.

Elizabeth King, Animation Study: Pose 7, 1997-2005, Chromogenic prints on Kodak Endura paper, 20 x 20 in.  Collection of the artist.

Image: Elizabeth King, "Animation Study: Pose 7", 1997-2005, Chromogenic prints on Kodak Endura paper, 20 x 20 in. Collection of the artist.

To preview tonight's opening reception, Elizabeth King will give a free lecture at 5:30pm today in the List Art Center Auditorium.

"The Sizes of Things in the Mind's Eye" is on view from November 7th through December 21st, 2008 at Brown University's David Winton Bell Gallery. You can read my full review of the exhibition in the November/December issue of artscope magazine.

The David Winton Bell Gallery is located on the first floor of Brown University's List Art Center: 64 College Street, Providence, RI 02906.

Weekly Wandering

Churning out several articles on deadline this week has me posting less frequently to the blog, but it hasn't stopped me from wandering about Providence in search of art happenings and crunchy October leaf drifts to stomp through.

One nice place for a foliage-rich stroll is the Moses Brown School campus on Lloyd Street. Nestled in the center of campus is the Krause Gallery, now showing the work of three New England artists in "Exploring Space", on view through October 24th. This show poses it's most literal question with the work of Laura Shirreff, a textile artist who translates the phenomenon of the solar eclipse into complex, jacquard woven fabric panels. (The devil is in the details, so my photograph certainly does not do this work justice - these merit close inspection.)

Jacquard woven fabric panels by Laura Shirreff at the Krause Gallery

Above: Jacquard-woven fabric works by Laura Shirreff on view at the Krause Gallery.

Another stop I like to make (especially on Gallery Night when the refreshments are flowing) is the secret gem of Above Providence Optical Gallery. Realizing that their digs are too luxurious to simply sell high-end spectacle frames, these nice folks invite the public up their spiral staircase to the well-lit second floor, where ~monthly art shows reign the walls.

Above Providence Optical Gallery

Above: Someday I'll own a fancy light fixture like the one at Above Providence Optical Gallery...

On view this month is textile work by Joanne Luongo of Pawtucket's Paper Girls Studio. Anyone who obsessively stitches thread into muslin for six months to achieve a square foot or so abstract thread drawing, or crochets panties out of plastic bags is someone whose work I can get into. The collection of panty alternatives on the entrance wall is a definite conversation piece...check out this detail of "Victoria's Real Secret". Now that's a thong with a nasty temper...

Joanne Luongo: Victoria's Real Secret - thong, pins

Above: Joanne Luongo - "Victoria's Real Secret", "Peek-a-Boo Panties", "Thread Panties" (installation shot): bikini, pins, tar gel, plastic bags, thread.


REVIEW: "A Varied Terrain" Launches New Student Galleries at RISD

A key advantage offered by RISD's new Chace Center is the addition of two gallery spaces: The Gelman Student Gallery and Dryfoos Student Media Gallery, both dedicated to student-run programming. The Gelman Gallery's inaugural show, "A Varied Terrain", is on view through this Friday, October 5th.

Curated by students Mayen Alcantara, Gabriela Salazar and Martin Smick, the group show addresses "critical issues regarding the structure and system of our environments", with 12 participating artists presenting works created from the point of view of artist, naturalist, architect and engineer.

It is a fitting theme for inaugurating this portion of the Chace Center, long anticipated as a main feature to bridge the RISD campus with the main thoroughfair of North Main Street at Providence's Market Square.

In media ranging from video to installation to trompe-l'oeil, the participating artists delve into their own and their subjects' relationships with the environment.

"Hang 'Em Up Roadie" an installation by Thomas Morrill (RISD BFA Painting 2008)

Above: "Hang 'Em Up Roadie" by Thomas Morrill - mixed-media installation with radio transmitter

I first encountered "Hang ‘Em Up Roadie", an installation by painter Thomas Morrill (BFA, 2008). Far from painting, this invented office-cum-pirate-radio-station explores systems of information gathering and classification; boasting a collection of cassette tape recordings of lectures, movies, animals, music, sporting events and conversations, shelved according to a personal taxonomy of geographic place. The person behind the collection is implied by a handmade radio transmitter (tuned to 104.7FM if you happen to be within 575 feet), and the ubiquitous, mostly consumed Dunkin Donuts iced coffee.

Located nearby, a sinisterly low, boxed plywood corridor by Rui Sasaki (MFA candidate, glass) convinced me to overcome my claustophobia by entering and closing the door shut behind me. Other than triggering a motion-sensor bare lightbulb, and causing myself dusty knees and a backache, I elicited no further response from the installation, titled "My Basement". Perhaps I failed to trigger something more gratifying...there were speakers inside.

"Landscape XI", a screenprinted assemblage by Luke O'Sullivan (RISD MFA candidate, printmaking)

Above: "Landscape XI" by Luke O'Sullivan - screenprinted wood and mixed-media

Stretching back out to my full height (1,568 mm!), I took the time to admire an assemblage by Luke O'Sullivan (MFA candidate, printmaking). Like a multi-colored backdrop for a Terry Gilliam animation, and referencing industrial relics like used letterpress blocks, his "Landscape XI" is a model city comprised of a multitude of individually cut and screenprinted "buildings", perched on an exaggerated platform of construction deitritus. Impeccable craftsmanship and a fine eye for materials and scale serves this work well. "Landscape XI"'s proximity to the gallery's single window onto the architecture of downcity Providence further enhanced the work's capacity for self-reflection.

"Memory Floor Plan", an inkjet print by Leslie Kwok (RISD MFA Graphic Design 2008)

Above: "Memory Floor Plan" by Leslie Kwok - inkjet print

On my way out, I was pleased to encounter the familiar work of MFA recipient (Graphic Design, 2008) Leslie Kwok, whose work I reviewed in the graduate thesis show this past May. Kwok explores interpersonal relationships through graphical conventions. Her work is intelligent, accessible and balanced - never overdone or trite in design or execution. For this show she presents an inkjet print titled "Memory Floor Plan". Diagramatically representing each bedroom she has occupied since birth, the floor plan reconstructs an autobiographical, yet imaginary 16-room "house", with each doorway symbol leading into one or more adjacent rooms.

I exited, pondering whether these implied doors should eventually lead to a stairway, or, if they are better represented opening [like Chace Center itself] onto the waiting outside world.

The Chace Center is located at 20 North Main Street, Providence 02903

Yes, I am...

With all of the getting married, international travelling, guest-hosting, and (of course) writing about other artists I've been busy with over the last few seasons, it's easy to overlook my own studio projects. For those who are concerned, I've become quite skilled at adapting my working process to a bi-state program, shuttling my MSPCA tote bag between Hyde Park and Providence, full of the appropriate supplies to support my works in progress.

Works in progress: "Lost and Found: Tiger" by Meredith Cutler

Still, it's slow going, but I'm taking advantage of the seasons' shift to ramp up my production a bit. Not surprisingly, I'm moving on...and around back to my mixed-media/alternative fibers roots. I hope to have a good start on this new body of work to share with you very soon, thanks for keeping up with me!

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