WHEN WE SEE FURTHER
Wasmer Art Gallery Florida Gulf Coast University
Thank you to the sponsors of this exhibition
GENE AND LEE
Cover Image: (from left to right) RenĂŠe Rey, 22 Ti Transmutation (detail), 2020, Oil, graphite, sand paper on canvas, 48 x 30 inches; Heather Couch, Demosthenes (detail), 2019, Wood, stoneware, raw wool and twine, 96 x 48 x 52 inches; Marina Font, Untitled (detail), 2019, Archival pigment print on canvas, gesso, found textiles and thread, 84 x 56 inches; Terre Rybovich, Gadget & Other Mementos (detail), 2019, Pastel & charcoal on paper, 66 x 50 inches
WHEN WE SEE FURTHER October 16 - November 19, 2020
Beyond the Individual Essay by John Loscuito, Gallery Director
The physical condition is a subject that artists have been reflecting on throughout history. While the human body is something that joins us, it is also something that divides us, or at the very least separates us. When We See Further is an exhibition about seeing beyond the individual and how those differences expand the definition of being human. The artists in this exhibition, Heather Couch, Marina Font, RenĂŠe Rey and Terre Rybovich, offer four distinct ways of looking, feeling and thinking about the body. Each of their perspectives offers a unique tactile and psychological experience. They do this through their varied mediums that present the limits and potentials of the bodyâ€™s physical and psychological state. For these artists, depicting the body is just the beginning of a journey to something else. The works reveal many themes including impermanence, transformation, and resilience. Approaching their work for the first time is similar to encountering each other in life, it begins with a surface understanding of each piece that deepens through repeated encounters, and from the associations derived between the works. Heather Couch, Demosthenes (detail), 2020, Wood, stoneware, raw wool and twine, Dimensions variable
Heather Couch uses clay, fibers and wood to create stand-alone objects and installations. Her ceramic forms range in size from a few inches to a few feet, but they all share evidence of her hands and fingers. Rather than smoothing the clay surface, Couch is purposely revealing her process and her body in the work. The bulbous forms of her sculptures are opened as though they once were occupied. They suggest the presence of a body while recording the body’s act of making. Couch also creates organic ladder structures with handles immersed in bundles of wool. They hang from the ceiling implying movement to another place. The combination of these elements creates a landscape of possibilities open to interpretation that we find repeated in the other artists as well. Marina Font is explicit in her use of the human body in a different way. Photography is the basis of her work and an entry point for the viewer. The model she photographs can be seen as a representation of “any woman”. This model is used repeatedly throughout her work, but is always positioned in the same pose. Font then layers the photograph of the life-size nude with explosive patterns that recall star systems, energy and past generations. These patterns are made using thread,
Marina Font, Celulas Madres, 2016, Archival pigment print on canvas, gesso, fabric and thread, 86 x 58 inches
fabric, and ceramics, creating a visceral juxtaposition against the photographic image. The abstract patterns exist in our physical space, more real and active than the photographic image itself, suggesting a static body that is in the process of exposing the emotional, spiritual and psychological being. The large-scale paintings by Renée Rey are figurative and depict fantastical landscapes. Her paintings allude to an ethereal space of atmospheric beings that float and merge with each other and their surroundings. The physical laws break in a multitude of ways. The bodies themselves are fluid in gender, age and size. They intersect with each other, becoming one, as the sky and landscapes create symbolic forms celebrating this state of flux. Much like the abstract patterns in Font’s works, Rey’s bodies become the patterns, fragmenting into possibilities beyond the static form. Rey also describes her figures as self-portraits. They are interpretations of herself over the course of her life. Self-portraiture is seen again in Terre Rybovich’s process. She begins with placing her body directly onto the drawings. It is a performative act that creates a literal imprint or tracing of her physical self within the work. This ghost of her body begins the drawing. From there,
Renée Rey, Dare to Know (Sapere Aude) detail, 2020, Oil, graphite, charcoal, oil pastel on unstretched canvas, 82 x 82 inches
Rybovich generates infinite possibilities for her drawings, from formal investigations to morphological evolutions with animals. Birds are a recent addition to her work. Their larger than life depictions are gridded over her body print, morphing and transforming it. The bodyâ€™s scale and form change in relationship to both the birds as well as her other additions. Out of this process new structures are defined that map out the bodyâ€™s relationship to itself, to nature, and mythic narratives. The variety of approaches depicting the human body was the impetus for the exhibition, but through studio visits and group conversations, the artists revealed a different purpose. It became clear that a larger work was being created as each artist found connections and overlaps between the pieces they were creating for the exhibition. This was also during the first six months of the Covid-19 outbreak and the protests over racial inequities. It is impossible to separate the exhibition from the context in which it was created. The artists themselves see their work in new ways based on these events and through their collaboration. The human condition is clearly only limited by the context in which we choose to imagine it to exist. These artists provide ever-expanding hopes for that condition.
Terre Rybovich, Painted Bunting and The Drawing Process, 2020, Pastel and charcoal on paper, 76 x 50 inches
Heather Couch, Knowing on What Grounds (detail), 2020, Mixed media installation, Dimensions variable
Marina Font, Universe, Installation, 2019, Archival pigment print on canvas, gesso, found textiles, thread and ceramics, Dimensions variable (image 86 x 54 inches + ceramics)
RenĂŠe Rey, Dare to Know (Sapere Aude), 2020, Oil, graphite, charcoal, oil pastel on unstretched canvas, 82 x 256 inches
Left to right: Terre Rybovich, Color Grid 4, 2020, Powdered charcoal and pigment on paper, 48 x 34 inches; Terre Rybovich, Townsend Warbler and the Drawing Process, 2020, Pastel and charcoal on paper, 76 x 50 inches.
Heather Couch is an emerging south Florida artist working primarily in installation with ceramic forms, fiber, and raw construction materials. Her work plays with fragility in a way that brings liveliness and nonchalance through materials that are both timeless and ephemeral. The seemingly irrational ways in which we move and make decisions are echoed in the process of this work. Nurturing, caretaking, risk, and transformation are themes that repeat themselves in her work, informed by emotional, spiritual, and ideological tension. The forms inform each other in a dialogue of growth and discovery, responding to experiences in the artistâ€™s life and in empathy to stories that resonate with her own. Raw materials actively respond to the maker, as the artist indulges in the character of the material. The repetition of finger marks in wet clay, the warmth of billowed wool, the grittiness and raw presence of concrete and woodâ€Ś these serve as grounding consistencies that allow for continued exploration and the expression of intuitive gestures. In this process is found comfort, fear and metaphor in repetitively approaching a dynamic precariousness. There is an underlying strength that sits beneath any fragility. Heather Couch is an Assistant Professor of Art at Palm Beach Atlantic University. She earned a BA in Sculpture at Union University in 2007, and an MFA in Ceramics at Arizona State University in 2015. She also studied ceramics and sculpture at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, the Chautauqua Institute of Art in upstate New York, Hong-Ik University in Seoul, South Korea, and Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Tennessee. She has been a resident artist at the International Ceramics Studio in Kecskemet, Hungary, the Mesa Arts Center in Mesa, Arizona, and the Armory Art Center in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Marina Font was born in Argentina in 1970. She studied design at the Martin Malharro School of Visual Arts, Mar del Plata, Argentina. In 1998 she studied Photography at the Speos Ecole de la Photographie, Paris. She earned an MFA in Photography from Barry University, Miami in 2009. She has exhibited extensively at galleries, museums and cultural institutions in the US and abroad. Her work is present in various public collections such as the MDC Museum of Art+Design, Miami, the Boca Raton Museum of Art, the Frost Art Museum at FIU, the LOWE Art Museum at The University of Miami, FoLA, Buenos Aires, Argentina, The Bunnen collection in Atlanta, the Girls’ Club collection in Fort Lauderdale and various private collections throughout the world. She is a multidisciplinary artist working in photography, mixed media, installation and video. Her studio practice explores ideas about identity, gender, territory, language, memory and the forces of the unconscious. Her visceral and intuitive works, strongly influenced by psychoanalysis, often focuses on women and the domestic sphere. Her first monograph “Anatomy is Destiny” in collaboration with Minor Matters Books + Dina Mitrani Gallery was selected for the Photo Book Spotlight by Aperture at aipad The Photography Show, NY, 2019. Marina is also part of the multidisciplinary collaborative RPM Projects, as well as the Instagram-based collaboration “Instacorrespondences”. She currently lives in Miami Beach and works at her studio at The Collective 62, located in Liberty City, Miami.
Renée Rey is an award-winning painter and mixed media artist working in Southwest Florida and New York City. In large and intimate-scaled artwork, Rey challenges traditional landscape and human figuration. In alternate universes and transformative self-portrait, she explores movement, metamorphosis and the sublime. Existential and societal narratives of age/gender/cultural identity, cross-cultural connections, environmental sustainability, inclusiveness and equality flow through her artwork. As she intuitively applies, wipes, scratches and manipulates traditional and non-traditional materials, Rey investigates intersections between abstraction and realism, two and three dimension, and intensity and delicacy of materiality by the artist’s hand. Rey’s artwork has been selected for numerous national exhibitions by museum curators and gallery directors including the exhibition Gateway to Imagination, Farmington Museum, Farmington, NM and Florida Contemporary Exhibition, Baker Museum, Artis-Naples, Naples, FL . Awards include Best of Show, Art Encounters National Competition by Alejo Benedetti, Curatorial Assistant, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AK, Jade Dellinger, Director of Exhibits & Collections, Bob Rauschenberg Gallery at Florida Southwestern State College, Fort Myers, FL, and Mallory O’Connor, Professor of Art History, Emerita, Santa Fe College, Gainesville,FL. Rey was invited to the School of Visual Arts Summer Painting Residency, New York, NY in 2019 and Sun Peak Center for Art and Sustainability, Colorado Springs, CO in 2016. She has taught painting, drawing and creative thinking to adults and children for 8 years. The artist studied drawing, painting, 3D design, film, performance art, computer art and art history on the undergraduate and graduate levels in New York and Florida. Rey holds an MBA in Management, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY, an AAS in Interior Design, Parsons School of Design, New York, NY, an MA in Jewish Education, Jewish Theological Seminary, New York, NY and a BA in Judaic Studies, University at Albany, Albany, NY.
A third-generation native of West Palm Beach, Terre is a daughter of Tommie Rybovich, the noted sports-fishing boat designer/builder. Like her father, Terre opts to work at the edge of what she knows, in a process of continual questioning. Her drawing technique came to her years ago, while delirious with the flu. “Drawing backward” was the initial idea. In other words, creating an image by removing charcoal from paper, instead of making marks on a clean page. Since that day, Terre has been drawing backward. She staples a large piece of paper to a sheet of plywood, then scrubs the entire surface with a thick stick of charcoal. Next, she works spontaneously to imprint her hands, limbs and torso in the charcoal. Her aim is to start the drawing with random marks. Ultimately it is those marks that determine the outcome of the drawing. Spending as much time looking as she does drawing, Terre relies on her intuition and her drawing skills to find the final image in the spontaneous marks. Working without preconceived results allows her to draw imagery she never could have imagined. Since becoming a serious birder, Terre also makes drawings of birds based on photos she takes. Increasingly, birds also appear in her figurative works. Terre has her Bachelors in Politics and Economics from New York University. She has a Masters in Rural Sociology from Wisconsin-Madison. Her first career was in grassroots activism and grant-making. That experience forged an enduring commitment to this world. It also instilled a courageous drive that Terre now channels into art-making. Terre now lives in Homestead, Florida with her husband Jon Ward. Her drawings have been exhibited widely in South Florida; they are in a number of private collections. Terre’s drawings have been part of the Viewing Program of the Drawing Center in New York City since 2004.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Gallery Director/Editor John Loscuito Graphic Design/Media Anica Sturdivant Lead Gallery Assistant Farrah Alkhadra Gallery Assistants Joseph Adams Breah Fyffe Marcela Pulgarin
Four South Florida artists working in diverse media exhibit their work together for the first time. Heather Couch (West Palm Beach), Marina...
Published on Sep 30, 2020
Four South Florida artists working in diverse media exhibit their work together for the first time. Heather Couch (West Palm Beach), Marina...