Friday, June 20, 2008

Kimberly Witham selects...

Chad States, Bill, 2007

Kate Pollard, Untitled from This Woman's Movement, 2007

These artists turn their cameras outward and inward to define and question traditional gender roles. Chad States' work explores masculinity, revealing a broad and disparate array of interpretations. Kate Pollard's work expresses the tension between traditional notions of femininity and contemporary feminist ideals. - Kimberly Witham

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Dan Schank selects...

Rubens Ghenov, By the Rivers of Babylon, 2007, charcoal, graphite, sumi ink and xerox transfer on paper

Lawrence Wells, Victory, 2007, acrylic

In both of these images, personal and historical narratives collide. Lawrence Wells' Victory stresses the historical. Through dynamic contrasts and an ashen palette, I sense my own distance from the motion of modernist Europe. There's a nostalgia to Wells' brushwork, and it's mirrored in the monument depicted. It feels as if I've found it in a photo album. The central figure suggests an eroding, Utopian confidence. As melancholy and wonder overlap, I'm reminded of the ideological phantoms that undoubtedly inhabit my world.

In Rubens Ghenov's By the Rivers of Babylon, there is greater emphasis on gravity. His strange landscape of objects is solid and heavy, but his touch is ephemeral. My eyes become nomadic; they pass through the image. As Ghenov gathers artifacts from the cultures that define him (Brazilian, American), I sense him passing through this landscape as well. His approach is more metaphysical than Wells' (maybe?), but it finds its expression in things. A drum-set, a bird, a soccer ball-- as these objects merge, a portrait arises. In a sense it's a scavenger's image. But it's one with the grace of a monument. - Dan Schank

Megan Sullivan selects...

Scott Jackson, New Orleans, LA, 2005

Tiffany Matula, Venetian Hurricane Katrine Scene, 2007

I picked these two pieces by these artists because of the similar theme of New Orleans, but I like them for very different reasons. I think Tiffany's piece on Hurricane Katrina is very smart and I love to see it next to Scott's beautiful photograph of an abandoned strip mall in New Orleans. - Megan Sullivan

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

JJ Pakola selects...

Kit Rosenberg, Anchor, 2008, umbrella frame, emergency blanket, industrial fan, wood and monofilament

Vera Kachouh, Untitled #3, 2008, video projection, bench

The explorations of natural phenomena and ephemera by Kit Rosenberg's "Anchor" and Vera Kachouh's "Untitled #3" summon memories of the observer's individual memory, and question their connection to a collective conscience. Kachouh's video installation brings to mind the questions of "What am I watching?" or more specifically "Is it snow, falling ash, or actually nothing but a computer animation of shapes in motion?" and Rosenberg's "Anchor" can remind one of a trivial occurrence such as trying to use an umbrella on a windy day. While the immediacy of these thoughts can be important as an entry into the work, with a little more time viewing they seem insignificant. After leaving the realm of nostalgia, these pieces remind me of the importance of the experience of looking at or into art and become the sensuous embodiment of something more profound that is at once silly, elegant, and poetic. - JJ Pakola

Monday, May 12, 2008

Carl Baratta selects...

JJ Pakola, Is it hot in here or am I just sweating? (Overconfidence), 2008, gouache and watercolor on paper

Dan Schank, Heads Up, 2008, watercolor, gouache, conte crayon, cut paper collage on board

Both JJ Pakola and Dan Schank use personal and art historical moments as tools for divining the future: a future heaped with twisting chaos and magical turmoil. Using a mix of humor and sincere concern for humankind, these artists set their worlds spinning and reeling before us. If you stare through their elemental swarms, you glimpse something no one thought could happen. It's cold outside. Their fires offer no warmth, none at all. They burn. - Carl Baratta.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Isak Applin selects...

Carl Baratta, The Faithful Protector (After Nick Englebert), 2008, egg tempera on board

Jeremy Somer, Bacchanale Scene III, animation

I cannot think of any other artists whose work is so intensely curious, fantastic and free of reservation. While fantasy is often employed by artists to represent an exotic, otherworldly universe, Carl Baratta and Jeremy Somer's work manages to retain a tenuous, vital, even mythic link with our own experiences and world. Logically, such a cacophony of monstrosities, Venutian foliage, electric reptiles and Pleistocene insects should be content to reside in a habitat far from the concerns of 21st century. However, in the hands of Somer and Baratta the creatures and environments are somehow analogies, allegories or even explanations for what resides beneath mundane existence. - Isak Applin

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Kim Hoeckele selects...

Beth Moon, Untitled, 2005, acrylic on fabric

Kimberly Witham, Luxe, 2007, digital collage

Both artists explore the relationship between animals and humans in their current work. They approach this complex subject with sensitivity, but it is their senses of humor that challenge the viewer to address human-animal interactions with seriousness. - Kim Hoeckele