The Silber Gallery
Goucher College Athenaeum
â€œArt is the imposing of a pattern on experience, and our aesthetic enjoyment is recognition of the pattern.â€?
Alfred North Whitehead
Adornamental features the work of seven artists who are breaking new ground in the decorative and ornamental arts. At times considered primarily feminine and removed from fine art, the decorative arts began to achieve an elevated status in 1975, with the creation of the Pattern and Decoration Movement. The movement was, in part, a reaction against the impersonal nature of Minimalist art. Originating in New York, the Pattern and Decoration Movement involved mostly female artists creating complex and multicolored patterns, but it was not long before the decorative arts were embraced by male artists as well. Contemporary artists continue to employ decorative and ornamental aspects in their work, demonstrating pattern as a tool for expression and showing that there is no distinction between fine art and decorative art. Adornamental features the work of artists Liz Ensz, Stephanie Liner, Xavier Schipani, Piper Shepard, RenĂŠ TreviĂąo, Emily Uchytil, and Kelly Walker.
Laura Amussen, curator
Liz Ensz designs politically themed patterned spaces inspired by the floral motifs and geometric structure typical of religious architecture and decorative art. Her installations are intended to be spaces for reflection and concentration. The viewer is drawn in and calmed by the beauty of the mesmerizing pattern, then compelled to engage with hidden religious and political imagery. Designed and built between the election and the inauguration of President Barack Obama, This End Is a Beginning, This Beginning Is an End welcomes the new administration as a representation of change. The printed fabric and the fountain both contain imagery of budding and blooming, wilting and dying flowers, moments in an unending cycle of change.
This End Is a Beginning, This Beginning Is an End, 2009 devoré on velvet, fiberglass, epoxy resin, light, and water 10’ x 10’ x 3’
Stephanie Liner uses decorative fabric, sewing techniques, and upholstery to create vehicles for human interaction—her sculptures explore the relationship between domestic space, furniture, and sexuality, and address how our culture impacts and is shaped by women, their various social histories and functions. During the performance component of Liner’s work, there is not only a physical interaction, but also a visual interaction. This takes the form of the “gaze” between the viewer and model, which becomes a performance, often placing the model as an object of desire, and creating a power struggle between the viewer and the model.
Cherry Bomb, 2009 sequins, light, plywood frame, and upholstery 4’ diameter
Xavier Schipani’s work illuminates the idea that gender, sexuality, and identity are limitless abstract ideas that are influenced by the states of religion, history, and discovery. She is interested in pushing her viewer to accept all extremities of gender and reject the simple binaries that we have grown so accustomed to. When Schipani draws a body, she considers the vulnerability one feels in dressing one’s self and moving through a world that judges everyone by everything that has come before. The patterns in her work, the adornment of her figures’ clothing, become a kind of armor or bandage, a way for the artist to lovingly care for the body in turmoil. In her drawings, the bodies are not masking themselves in order to pass as something else; in fact, they are not trying to pass as anything that can be defined.
Prom Promise, 2010 sumi ink on paper 18” x 24” 6
Piper Shepard has long been interested in the patterns and ornament found in cloth and architecture. Her textile pieces make connections to windows, screens, or curtain walls, and work with plan view and topography. In her sited works, she hopes to draw visual connections between textiles and these structural references. In Daisy Wave, some of Shepard’s textile references include lace and printed handkerchiefs and the moiré or “water silks” of Victorian taffeta. The pattern has been amplified and enlarged to become a frame, field, or window. This field of undulating pattern is at once hypnotic and contemplative. What is composed is a work that links cloth references to site. The wall’s surface is the covering to delineate and adorn, and celebrates the repetitive patterning and momentum of textile work.
Daisy Wave, 2010 digitally printed cotton, corsage and boutonnière pins 96” x 96” x 1.5”
René Treviño uses historic photographs as source material for his drawings and paintings. Photographs are presumed to be truthful and accurate documentation, but the camera lies as much or more than people do. In transforming these photographs, Treviño attempts to reconstruct, re-imagine, and retell history from a different, very specific, and underrepresented perspective. Treviño’s work addresses themes of identity—he is interested in challenging traditional ideas of race and sexual orientation and feels compelled to make thoughtful and beautiful work that confronts societal assumptions and gives new insight into our human experience.
Otello, 2010 acrylic on mylar 24” x 36” courtesy of C. Grimaldis Gallery
Emily Uchytil’s Intimate Scenes are a glimpse into the sanctuaries that people create from their environments. The warm oil colors, the detailed focus, and the use of natural light provoke a sense of comfort and moodiness—a contrast to the loneliness and isolation suggested by the solitary human forms and sentimental scenery. Each painting is saturated with pattern; every surface holds a different decorative motif. These paintings peek into the comforts that we create in our surroundings and the moments we inhabit in our environments.
Africa, 2009 oil on board 16” x 20”
Kelly Walker’s mixed media paintings are heavily influenced by the decorative arts. A professional faux finisher, Walker’s imagery reflects a love of texture and the diverse power of layering mediums. Her recent works respond subtly to the creative groove of patterned embellishment while sneaking uncommonly used materials into the realm of fine art. Products like Venetian stucco hide subtly beneath day-glow industrial paints, between car paint, waxes, and marine varnishes, and cohabit effortlessly and deliberately together beneath the pattern of the stencil.
Rita II, 2008 mixed media on canvas 48” x 36”
Adornamental Liz Ensz Stephanie Liner Xavier Schipani Piper Shepard René Treviño Emily Uchytil Kelly Walker
February 16 – March 28, 2010 Opening Reception
Thursday, February 25, 6-8 p.m.
The Silber Gallery
Goucher College Athenaeum Directions
Baltimore Beltway, I-695, to exit 27A. Make first left onto campus. Gallery Hours
11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday – Sunday. 410.337.6477 The Silber Gallery is free and open to the public. The Silber Gallery program is funded with the assistance of grants from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency funded by the state of Maryland and the NEA, and the Baltimore County Commission on the Arts and Sciences.
Adornamental features the work of seven artists who are breaking new ground in the decorative and ornamental arts. At times considered prima...