ELSEWHERE opening April 25 at SALTWORKS

Christine Bailey, Kanin (video still), 2007, edition of 10.

Christine Bailey, Kanin (video still), 2007, edition of 10.

A group exhibition curated by Shinique Smith.

Opening reception Saturday, April 25, 7-9M
Exhibition runs April 25 – June 6, 2009

Featuring works by Justin Anderson, Christine Bailey, Jane Benson, Jennie C. Jones, Marcus Morales, Erika Ranee, Sean Ryan and Mickalene Thomas.

The works in this exhibition embody the definition of “elsewhere.” They make references to locales and scenes either witnessed or imagined, while sharing a romantic sensibility that manifests through varied processes. Within this Romanticism, the landscape becomes a hybrid of place, history, myth and illusion. As contemporary works they are loosely connected to ‘Golden Age’ or utopian ideals of pastoral literature and art. Through imaginative and subjective approaches, these artists strive to express suggested states of feelings too intense, mystical or elusive to be clearly defined. Though these works share a relationship to the history of painting’s long romance with the land, they are of the Now. These are visions shaped not only by their awareness of the past, but also by their keen perceptions of our current time. Each artist is affected by the reality and technology of today, as demonstrated in the way they choose to embrace or repel these notions. There is a ‘quaintness’ and ‘sentimentality’ in these works and though they are not necessarily laments for the past, they are infused, at times, with disenchantment for the urban environment and quest for the ideal of somewhere else.

Justin Anderson documents his experiences through Polaroid photography and then uses them as a ground for paintings that become composites of personal meaning, painting and poetry. Christine Bailey investigates the practice of making art through projects that question ideas of authenticity. Her work Kanin is a video document of 24 virtual hours in the alternate reality of ‘Second Life’ wherein Bailey discovered a landscape and simply captured its existence, as though it was as unfettered as any ‘real’ forest. Jane Benson creates a dialogue between the ‘natural’ and the ‘artificial’ in her work, Library of Eden, an interactive collection of travel books in which all of the urban structures and objects are painted over with landscape or shrubbery, leaving only human activity amidst the green. Marcus Morales portrays hidden perceptions and events culled from the artist’s past and imagination. Through his drawings, Morales is able to express a universal nostalgia for life’s identity defining moments and the inner thoughts surrounding them. Jennie C. Jones’ audiotape drawings express the improvisational nature of jazz, as well as music’s ability to transport the listener through memory and visualization. In her Breathless series, the artist ‘re-works’ Kenny G by creating gestural drawings from an album with songs titled, “morning” “in the rain” and “Homeland” evoking romantic ‘inner-scapes’. Erika Ranee weaves tales of the personal and the mythical within lush paintings that unrelentingly “re-evaluate the implacable blueprint of fairy tales and real life scenarios”, in paradisal settings where the vegetation mirrors the underlying emotions of each story. Sean Ryan deftly and thoughtfully attempts to capture transient moments. In his Cloud series, Ryan uses silver point to halt the ever-transforming clouds in the sky, which speaks to man’s inability to control nature and the indescribable experience of witnessing the sublime. Mickalene Thomas, well known for her colorful and gleaming portraits of women, has often used collage to compose her paintings. Recently, Thomas has turned to the landscape as a source of inspiration, which further expresses concepts of fertility and femininity.

Elsewhere is curated by artist, Shinique Smith.  Smith’s installation Like it Like That is currently on view at The Studio Museum in Harlem until June 28, 2009 and her works are featured in an upcoming solo exhibition, Ten Times Myself at Yvon Lambert NY opening on May 21st.

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