M. Gert Barkovic Jessica Braiterman Brent Crothers Steven Dobbin Michelle Hagewood Huguette Roe TRAsh Collective
The Ordinary Expands
The Silber Gallery
Goucher College Athenaeum
“Creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvelous.” –Bill Moyers
In The Ordinary Expands, artists M. Gert Barkovic, Jessica Braiterman, Brent Crothers, Steven Dobbin, Michelle Hagewood, Huguette Roe, and TRAsh Collective, explore the familiar and everyday through the metamorphosis of mundane materials. By presenting massproduced, disposable objects in unusual contexts, each artistâ€™s work is familiar, yet strange. Their individual ideas and expressions influence their material choices. All the pieces create seductive visual statements, and while some speak of the minimalist and formalist legacy and are purely visceral, others speak of the temporality of art and culture. Regardless of their language, each artist transcends the materials and proves that there is beauty in ordinary simplicity.
Laura Amussen, curator
M. Gert Barkovic has always enjoyed the simplicity of life and its often overlooked details. Materials give value to objectmaking for herâ€”she finds the small revelations in touching surfaces and identifying new methods or techniques self-evolving. Objects can conflict in their texture, placement, and starkness, but this compels Barkovic as a fabricatorâ€”she sews steel, cement, or rubber together while trying to remain simple and honest. For Barkovic, heating, bending, or forming materials allows her to be a silent communicator. By involving other matter in her pieces, she experiences varied kinds of satisfaction from her forms. The overwhelming physical nature of these industrial materials creates a sense of solace and contemplation.
Untitled, 2010 Plastic
Aurora, 2008-10 buttons and wire
At the center of Jessica Braitermanâ€™s work are tumbling metaphors. Forms are massive, then rendered weightless; the ordinary inverts into the cosmic; tangled masses reveal hidden regularities. Aurora revels in these inversions, aiming not for resolution or stillness, but for a quiet in the mind where points of tension are delicately balanced, ordinary logic is suspended, and, perhaps, even a hint of the infinite surfaces.
In the past decade, Brent Crothers has evolved from building sculptures with organic materials to working organically with materials discarded by a consume-andthrow-away society. His pieces are a type of physical poetry with an emphasis on form, on the relationships of materials, and on our relationship to these materials. The artwork comes, in part, from a strong environmental connection to a once sustainable world.
Water Wars, 2005 used garden hoses
Steven Dobbin has been a special-education teacher for over 20 years; throughout that time, his primary goal has been to develop the abilities of students who may have previously been dismissed out of hand or perceived to lack the skills necessary to succeed in a work setting. By taking students out of a traditional classroom setting, Dobbin provides them with skills that may prove beneficial in the future. During a recent job-site painting project, Dobbin began to examine the paint cans surrounding him, as well as the abandoned, discarded ones, the colors inside the cans, and the contrasting rust or metal rims. As an artist, he has always juxtaposed his career and his creative work and so began to correlate these cans with the very students with whom he was workingâ€”students once cast aside, students whose possibilities could only be realized with time, energy, and effort. Over six months, Dobbin collected 945 paint cans, discarding the paint in an environmentally friendly manner and exacerbating the various degrees of rust on each. These cans have evolved into a number of installation pieces, which have been shown in New York, New Jersey, Washington, DC, and Maryland.
Reclamation Variation, 2009 16' x 9' x 8" paint cans (courtesy of Causey Contemporary) 9
Infrastructure Specimen, Drunk, 2009 digital image
Michelle Hagewood explores the ulterior worlds of marine microbes, rainforest undergrowth, and urban understructures in search of micro- and macro-cosmoses that are on the brink of bursting or collapsing. Interested in the human intrusion found throughout these ecosystems, Hagewood uses drawing and digital manipulation as a tool of experimental intervention, researching and processing the forms and behaviors through pseudo-scientific methods. The resulting images often dramatically diverge from the original source materialsâ€” pointing to the beauty and failure inherent in humanityâ€™s continual quest for control.
Huguette Roe’s images—wherein she extracts only a chunk of a scene—reveal her sensitivity to detail. In her photography, she leans toward graphic compositions, rhythms, color combinations, repetition, and pattern. In 2008, Roe began to develop a different subject, an element of the environment with an industrial touch, about which she was personally concerned. She discovered nearabstract patches of compressed matter in the most unlikely places: recycling facilities. Her work relates to the object’s life, where everything is processed and reprocessed, refuse rescued for a new identity, captured and compressed for a new life. Where you see trash, she sees composition, texture, and color combination, individual objects becoming tormented matter, lost and crumpled into rippling surfaces like an abstract painting.
Wrinkled Cokes, 2009 photograph
Trashball, 2009 trash
The TRAsh Collective was founded by artists Katie Walberg and Gerry Moll with the purpose of synthesizing art with environmental activism. The Collective is based in Knoxville, Tennessee, and engages people through public art where they work, play, and live. They use nontraditional sculptural materials to create fun, surprising public artwork to challenge commonly held perceptions of trash, waste, garbage, refuse, rubbish, and junk of all kinds. The TRAsh Collective is guided by the belief in the transformative power of art in creating positive change. The TRAsh Collective's beloved mascot is TRAshball. This gnarly ball had humble beginnings as a small tumbleweed of urban debris. It meanders through the urban landscape, feeding off the discarded waste products left behind, all the while expanding and growing. There is no telling where you might find TRAshball—it freely roams the Knoxville area, showing up with TRAsh Collective members at local art shows and environmental events (occasionally being thrown out due to its trashy behavior). It has even spawned other “TRAshballs” in East Tennessee, as well as in other prominent international locations (such as Buenos Aires, Argentina). Trash has become an ordinary part of our environment—it is ubiquitous within our urban landscape. We have come to expect fast-food wrappers down every back alley and plastic bags blowing past us on the street. Trash, because of its volume and our consistent exposure to it, becomes familiar and, therefore, invisible. By expanding and personifying this trash into an ever-growing ball, TRAshball increases visibility and provides an opportunity to revisit our relationship to these products that litter our environment.
The Ordinary Expands M. Gert Barkovic, Jessica Braiterman, Brent Crothers, Steven Dobbin, Michelle Hagewood, Huguette Roe, TRAsh Collective
November 9 – December 12, 2010 (Closed November 24-28) artists’ Reception
Thursday, November 18, 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.