March 1 - April 7, 2018
Gallery Open: Thursday - Monday 1-5pm
Opening Reception: Friday, March 2nd, 6:00 - 8:30pm
Artist Panel Discussion: Friday,March 23rd, 6:00pm
Floating Walls and Tectonic Ziggurats | East Gallery
Floating Walls and Tectonic Ziggurats.
Looking at a tree over time, leaves appear from the branch tips and the trunk gets wider. It emerges from seedling no smaller than the size of a finger, and then over time, it twists, forks and bulges, towering beyond my grasp. I became curious how this happens, from where does the force build? What are the small changes happening every moment that accumulate as a tree ages, and make it slowly disintegrate to dust? With these ideas and questions in mind I began to create my own work using processes of subtraction and accumulation.
For example, I’ve explored subtractive processes in burning through walls of layered paper as a method of slow erosion. Carving and drawing into the paper using the ember from a stick of incense, I reveal the deeper layers. The burned sections allow the paper to move and breathe. The burning is an irreversible physical change that cannot be undone—a death. The breathing movement of the paper suggests an addition—life. Herein lies a beautiful paradox, simultaneous existence of life and death, of love and loss.
Instinctively drawn to incense, it became my tool to draw and carve the paper. In ceremony, incense is burned as an offering to the spirits and the dead, and in some traditions as ritual of purifying space. Paper’s simple and ephemeral fragility, a surface to record thoughts, interactions and plans, is also used to wrap and package. This thin yet structural layer brings to our skin or cell membranes, or perhaps even the structures that we build for protection and for community.
The ancient terraced, complex and massive pyramid-like structures known as ziggurats were believed to be a way to connect the heavens and the earth. The idea of the ziggurat and the diagrams or blueprints of other sacred spaces served as inspiration as I created my small early sketch-like mandala works. Then, I began creating the monumental “floating wall” pieces to address this larger idea—the paradox of life and death—in a scale larger than the human body and in a vulnerable form that interacts with the open space.
Paper Rock Scissors | West & TDP Galleries
Landscapes are not just something to observe or depict. They are complex motifs that can offer clues to a culture.
I begin with a specific site, where I collect fibers, materials, and drawings to gain a psychological impression of a place, and poignant evidence of human activity. As a hand papermaker and printmaker, I see my work as an adventurous hybrid between the two processes. Experimentation in the studio invigorates my artistic process. Collected fibers turn into paper pulp, pulp used to cast carved woodcuts, create sculpture, form irregular sheets for book-forms and large pulp painting prints.
My focus has long been the landscape. My use of the term 'landscape' is based in the writings of John Brinkerhoff Jackson. His use of the term went back to the source word, the German landschaften, which referred to that which results when 'man' reconfigures and uses the land, in essence creating his own landscape on the natural landscape. Sometimes it is a documentary project. However, my work is also informed by the Abstract Expressionist movement. So, I also look at the abstract qualities in that landscape.
Ten years ago I worked on a project called Rockface. It was a series of large, very abstract images of blasted rock. A major area of focus in that series was quarries.
As had happened during a previous series (Tobacco), after working on it for some time I realized that the subject matter, in this case quarries, was perfect for shooting 360° (or close) panoramas. So, back into the quarries I went.
Quarries present a very intriguing landscape. The sheer size of the space of most of them is awe-inspiring in a strange manner. That is, that these spaces are man-made, not natural. Many of them are otherworldly in both appearance and in actual experience. The overwhelming silence enhances the experience.
This Rock Series in watercolor grew out of my observing and drawing the rocky coastal area of Maine around Spruce Head Island. This has been a pilgrimage for me over the past ten years to spend two July weeks there. These massive ancient shapes inspired and captivated me, at times lost in the fog. Bleached in the sun or one with the sky. I hope these studies captured some of the magical, timeless and tenderness of these sleeping giants.
PRESSING ON takes physical, material, and intellectual inspiration from Hannah More's An Estimate of the Religion of the Fashionable World: By One of the Laity , London, 1791. Although published anonymously, it was one of the most widely read books of the day.
Hannah More (1745 – 1833) was an abolitionist, poet, social reformer, philanthropist, feminist, writer and a member of the intellectual group “Bluestockings” along with Samuel Johnson. She has been referred to as the “First Victorian”, bridging the 18th and 19th centuries. Hannah helped give the abolition movement a public voice with her writings. Her poem Slavery published in 1788 coincided with the first parliamentary debate on slave trade. She remained active in the anti-slavery movement her entire life. She devoted herself to educating and helping the poor, establishing over sixteen schools.
Her writings and benevolence strongly influenced the public mind and social character of her day. Strictures on the Modern System of Female Education, 1799, contained many pro-feminist overtones. More's life long overriding cause - galvanizing women to act not as domestic ornaments, but as thinking, engaged and responsible beings. More also wrote The Sorrows of Yamba (or The Negro Woman's Lamentation) in 1795. Dying in September of 1833, she lived just long enough to finally see the act abolishing slavery in the British Empire.
Antique sad (weighted) irons presented singly or in multiples evoke the ardor of the domestic labor force. Pages of More's writings are cut, scorched, woven and layered - a jumbled text, pierced with threads, cascading, thickly knotted. The iconic sad irons are a metaphor for the personal histories and demands on labor for pressed garments and linens, to suit class distinctions, societal expectations and the servitude of those pressing.
I have always held an immense respect for my natural surroundings, which has led to the need to observe more intensely in order to see more clearly. I am intrigued with the movement of a day’s light across a natural surface and being able to capture a moment in time. As powerful and alluring as I find landscape to be, I have become increasingly captivated with the idea of taking my landscapes into their own light, creating new spaces based upon what I’ve experienced and transforming this knowledge of natural form into places never before seen. Incorporating color not necessarily found in nature heightens the intensity of the original impression. The transcendence of color from the expected to the unexpected has led to questioning the surfaces on which I paint. The flat, illusional compositions have evolved into tearing of the surface and the creation of actual spaces within and around my work. The collages present challenges and bring new experiences concerning space, which allow for a freer interpretation of color and implications of highlights and shadows upon form. Colors can fluctuate from vibrant and pulsating to those that are calm and subdued, to further evoke an emotional response. Exploration through paintings and collages that abstract from nature, continue to open new possibilities for connecting color with space.
I work intuitively looking for a poetry of form and seek some sort of intrinsic truth within this. A material, a reoccurring thought, a statement or a current event takes hold of me and becomes the catalyst for work. As a sculptor I am drawn to contrast, contradictions, the tangible and intangible, the transparent and opaque, lightness and weight, an idea and object. I am attracted to the inherent aesthetics of certain materials (stones, clay, silk, sticks, wire, screen, paper, etc.) and embrace and contradict its associations to tell another tale.
This piece is made of vintage white silk that my mother had from the 1950’s and I have stored it away for years and have loved how sheer and transparent it is and how it has turned ivory-colored with time. It wasn’t until recently that the idea for this sculpture came to mind. The large smooth river stones are found objects. I made as many stitched stones as this old scrap silk fabric would allow. There are twelve in all, and when piled together the piece measures approximately 18 x 18 x 12 inches. The contradiction and intrinsic quality of the material have enveloped me and I am sad that I cannot make 100 of them and fill a room. I have searched for similar fabric and there is no replicating it. A portion of this piece was recently curated in a large invitational group exhibition at Central Bookings Gallery in NYC.
This work is made with clay to create ephemeral stone-like pieces that reflect the shapes and forms one might see along a river’s edge in a gorge; but I see this work not as an attempt to imitate or replicate the natural world but as a short poem that insinuates a narrative, yet the story is not completely revealed. Paddling and altering the clay it formed itself and grew its own history. There is something so enticing, simple and beautiful about rock forms.
Benjamin Parker has been exploring the possibilities of folded paper since 2007. He works with a single uncut sheet to create remarkably complex patterns. He folds precise gridlines by hand to use as guides for intricate clusters of twists, which constrain the paper into a geometric pattern. Each piece is the direct result of Parker’s desire to experience the resultant form.
Parker has displayed his work internationally and has published a book on origami tessellations, entitled Six Simple Twists: The Pleat Pattern Approach to Origami Tessellation Design. He has lectured and given workshops at several national origami conferences and artists’ collectives. He works daily at his studio in Manchester, Connecticut, pushing the boundaries of what can be done with patience and a single sheet of paper.
Origami is a fascinating discipline. To its practitioners, it presents an unparalleled challenge to the mind and body, and the knowledge that can be unlocked by pushing the limits of what is possible with a single sheet of paper never ceases to amaze. The study is ancient, yet modern science is just beginning to reveal its full potential. It involves the manipulation of paper, among the humblest of materials, yet it sheds light on questions that flow through fundamental branches of human study such as mathematics, physics, pedagogy, art, and meditation. It is an art form that in its purest state neither adds nor subtracts material, but alters it in an almost alchemical process. It has international and intergenerational appeal, is accessible to all willing to put effort into its practice, and is represented by organizations that consistently promote the philosophy of communal advancement. These aspects of origami have held my interest for a very long time, and I do not expect that to change.
I practice a branch of this discipline known as geometric origami, and primarily design tessellations, which are studies of how paper can be shaped to create complex patterns capable of an infinite number of repeated iterations. While studying in Aix-en-Provence in 2007, I vacationed in Rome. At the time I was engrossed in one of the most holistic origami design books on the market, Robert Lang’s Origami Design Secrets. In it, Lang describes how to create an origami base, the skeleton of a representational design, and how to add details to create incredibly realistic designs. The designs are mathematical at their core yet result in a natural look that make many believe they are looking at a scale model of the object. Around the same time, I (re)discovered a photo-sharing website called flickr and a group called Origami Tessellations. The members of this group produce and share elaborate abstract paper designs.
Walking through the Roman historical centers, these two strong inspirational forces combined to make me think, “I wonder if...” It is almost 9 years later, and I still have not folded a detailed model of the Vatican out of a single uncut sheet of paper, but I have several decades left before I die. I have started on the architectural path by folding several skyscrapers out of paper, including the John Hancock Building in Chicago and the Terminal Tower in Cleveland, but there is more to learn. In the interim, I will be content exploring the vastness of geometric origami design. Origami tessellation studies have given rise to compositional studies such as the Breaking the Pattern series, an exploration into how to use abstract forms to draw a provocative picture with the paper. An open mind and fortune has granted me access to invaluable collaborations such as the series I share with darkroom photographer Christine Dalenta, which we call Shadow Tessellations.
My work is just beginning. I have used this art to become a proficient educator, writer, curator, mathematician, photographer, organizer, and entrepreneur. While none of these were my intended vocation, I have had to adapt to be successful at my craft. It has shaped who I am, my direction in life, and my relationships. I cannot imagine my life without origami.
I use hand-made and altered books to impart information without the use of words or images; the books themselves are the idea, the shape of the paper the information. The Ripples series started with a love of the flip-book with the difference that instead of flipping the pages to view the movie, the blank spaces around the moving object were cut away so the entire “movie” could be seen when the cover of the book was open.The pieces depict water, water structures and the effect of both on other things.These forms are conveyed by selecting the number and size of the volumes, by how the filaments are employed, and where and what, if anything, happens inside the assembled mass. Frequently there are voids created within the stack of books and these may be viewed, with varying degrees of clarity, with the use of a mirror reflecting the light back to the viewer. Other times the interior is so filled, or the opening is too small to view what is occuring, so that only by lifting blocks of pages can the interior be seen; just as not all sources or ends of water systems are always readily visible. The most recent pieces are building on the ability to make very structures comprised of many dozens of volumes. There are plans for pieces that will eventually incorporate many hundreds, even thousands of volumes to depict such water shapes as a tsunami, or a storm front, or a hurricane, all made of altered books and added paper, suspended from the ceiling or mounted on the wall.
RASHMI means Ray of Light, a name that inspires me to see light all around me. Just as light in nature constantly shifts, so also does my work change, from fiery abstracts celebrating untamed forces of nature to satirical cartoon strips on large canvases, to collages of photographic images of different parts of the world.
My work rests between two worlds: Bombay, India, where I was born, and America, where I currently reside. It reflects the intersection of Eastern and Western cultures, seen through my experiences in a wide spectrum of surroundings, and every new painting is a revelation of my inner self. My art is also based on a fascination with color, which borders almost on an obsession. This aspect of painting has always dominated the very essence of my creations, allowing me to experiment with different mediums, themes and styles.
My photomontages speak about history, humanity, and our place in it. They are amalgamations of reconstructed landscapes that illustrates cultural history and its decline as well as modern development. I merge abstraction with realism, built with naturally formed environments. The viewer must engage with the work or they will miss the details that reveal the optical play of visual depth, challenging perspectives and fictionalized worlds. It is essential to stand back and maintain a necessary distance to understand how the work multiplies spatially to create a complete image.
Over the past fifteen years, I have been concentrating on creating medium to large sized photo-collages reflecting real but imaginary places. Recently, my collages have taken a different turn, moving away from subjects of towns and cities and creating smaller collages, which form a part of a larger installation with a specific message. My new series, Modern Archaeology, works to make sense of our world today, which is filled with conflicting needs. As we move rapidly towards further automation, computerization and virtual realities, attempting to capture our world in our hand held devices, we simultaneously struggle to preserve our planet, our constantly changing social structures, and our abiding faith in an increasingly isolated society.
As technology makes products of success more abstract, I am drawn to the physical evidence of our not so recent past existence. Abandoned buildings, abused sidewalks, rusted metal, broken windows – all which were signs of our prior successes are also reminders of our current failures. Nevertheless, in these unexpected places there is beauty and history, similar to pottery shards, beads, relics or bone fragments found in an archaeological dig. I draw meaning from these hidden and influential stories that these artifacts tell us that I wish to bring to the attention of the viewers of my work.
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