FRUITS OF OUR LABOR; CHEW, SCREW, GLUE CURATED BY KEVIN FRANCES MAY 9TH - JUNE 6TH ELEANOR ALDRICH TAYLOR BALDWIN HILARY DOYLE BAYNE PETERSON JOEL SEIDNER JOHN ZAPPAS
DIRECTOR’S NOTE Collaboration - the push and pull before a snap - has become a huge part of GRIN. We collaborate with artists, writers, visitors and all sorts of forces. It’s a challenge, but it’s a challenge full of critical nuance and consistently ends in a pleasant suprise. We have a strong vision for what GRIN should mean, offer, and be - but that vision, we know now, can only be realized with a generous sprinkling of outside ideas. We specifically choose to work with with guest curators, not only because their sphere of influence is different than ours, but also because they bring a new interest and set of goals to our table that we might not have considered ourselves. When seeking meaning, (while it’s romantic to think that finding it can be as simple as looking inward) establishing a parntership between the individual and an outside force is imperative. Support, constructive criticism, and pats on the back (proverbial or real) is integral to the growth of a creative voice. In this exhibition curated by Kevin Frances, the artists are trying to find that support and meaning not through peer recognition, but through their own third-party creation; ultimately by their own hand. We are particularly pleased to present these artists, as they grapple with their personal search for meaning, through the curatorial vision of another figure. We’ve found, after working so closely with other people, that we are building up our own object of partnership through these interpersonal collaborations and, ultimately, finding the anwers in our own search for meaning through the continued development of GRIN. Yours, Corey + Lindsey
GRIN GRIN is a contemporary art gallery located at The Plant in the historic Olneyville District of Providence, Rhode Island. Directed by Corey Oberlander and Lindsey Stapleton, GRIN was founded in 2013 as a space for artists to develop and exhibit their work, with a steady curatorial hand. Our intent is to develop an intellectually demanding yet aesthetically pleasing program, focusing on emerging artists working across mediums. Our hope is to stimulate fresh dialogue while continuing to promote the development of the local creative community. Our mission is to support the careers of underexposed artists with a devotion to craft and conceptual advancement. To purchase any available works, please see our Artsy page or contact us directly. All sales are Tax Free! CONTACT 60 Valley Street, Unit 3 Providence, RI 02909 e. email@example.com p. 401 272 0796 Open Saturdays 12PM - 5PM, by announcement, appointment and chance.
FRUITS OF OUR LABOR; CHEW, SCREW, GLUE CURATED BY KEVIN FRANCES MAY 9TH - JUNE 6TH
ELEANOR ALDRICH ELEANOR ALDRICH TAYLOR BALDWIN TAYLOR BALDWIN HILARY DOYLE HILARY DOYLE BAYNE PETERSON BAYNE PETERSON JOEL SEIDNER JOEL SEIDNER JOHN ZAPPAS JOHN ZAPPAS
Fruits of Our Labor; Chew, Screw, Glue is an exhibition of six artists based in Providence, Boston, New York, Los Angeles, and Knoxville. Curated by Kevin Frances, it features the work of Eleanor Aldrich, Taylor Baldwin, Hilary Doyle, Bayne Peterson, Joel Seidner, and John Zappas. Fruits of Our Labor is about the backwards, silly, idiosyncratic search for meaning. The artists in this exhibition take familiar objects as their collaborative partners; mops, lamps, dish towels, an elephant tusk, and through the act of recreation, expand our understanding of what these things can do, and arrive at wholly unexpected destinations. Eleanor Aldrich creates work that bridges the gap between painting and sculpture. In her recent works, actual mop handles lean against paintings, merging seamlessly with the furry, spongy, thickly painted mop heads. Shimmering colors and expressive paint application create a sense that the mops are in motion. A brief selection from the materials list of Taylor Baldwin’s The Plague Year: “Wood glue, prehistoric whale ear bone from the James River delta, pine, aluminum shaft collar stolen from Tim’s office, ride stand/snare stand bought in 1994 from a medical student in Sahuarita, AZ, coconut shell.” In Baldwin’s work, everything has a history, summons a memory. Together they coalesce into the shape of a person, looking slightly resigned, toothbrush in hand. Hilary Doyle is also working with domestic objects, exploring different ways to represent towels. In her painting, Towel Folded, the heavy texture of a teal towel folds softly around the edges of the painting support, creating the illusion of a folded towel somehow stuck in place on the wall. Bayne Peterson takes the object of a 19th century Swedish camp stove, translated through a walrus ivory carving by an anonymous Inuit artist, as the starting point for a series of sculptures about translation, globalization, and craft. Joel Seidner takes objects with nostalgic value and creates sculptures that twist and probe at those memories. In his piece You and My Grandma, an old fashioned lamp shade sits atop a base of porcelain and mahogany; traditional materials that have been reformed into something abstract, a lamp in a dream perhaps, ready to turn into something else. John Zappas makes sculptures that feel strange, yet familiar. His works in Fruits of Our Labor resemble something like a cross between a beetle, mold, and a hat hook.
ELEANOR ALDRICH eleanoraldrich.com Eleanor Aldrich was born in Springerville, Arizona. A participant at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine, she also holds an MFA in Painting & Drawing from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where she currently lives. She earned her BFA in Painting & Drawing through the Academie Minerva (Gron ingen, the Netherlands) and Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff. She is currently a participant in the Drawing Centerâ€™s Open Sessions.
Kevin Frances: Will you tell me a bit about your working process? How do you choose your materials/subject matter? Are you working towards a goal? Eleanor Aldrich: Yes, I am working towards a goal- I used to be swept away by something that surprised me, but that isn't enough now. There has to be a logic- an autonomy within the work, but with an almost literal representation too, if that is possible. I think a lot about drawing. I am an impatient person who also craves realism. I don't like drawing things out. So how to move fast- keep that initial mark-making and still wind up with something almost trompe l'oeil? I don't know because it is a new problem every time -but it is partly in choosing subject matter that resembles a certain application of material, or in using materials that are bulky enough to be real and a factual object in themselves, and partly in dealing with the support as an object. My favorite tool to draw with is the caulking gun.
Dust Mop (Green and Purple) Oil, Silicone, Tile, Plastic Grid and Handle Approx. 25 x 16 x 41 in 2015
I am attracted to the utilitarian, objects of labor and leisure. I carry an idea (like "mop" or "lawn chair") around for a while, and scroll through Google images of it. But ultimately there is no image reference, just an effort to combine actual materials together in a way that creates a pictorial atmosphere despite its three-dimensionality. So the subject matter and materials both have to do some of the heavy lifting, but that said, there needs to be a lightness in both-as the work is really about the negotiation between the actual and illusion, the subject matter can't dominate, and the materials need to serve the subject matter too. But actually, they are very, very physically heavy. KF: Have you become jaded trying to surprise yourself?
EA: No, the mystery and surprise of making is always exciting, and that surprise is what keeps me coming back to the studio, but surprise in itself doesn't last long. The dangerous kind of surprise I refer to is that kind of open mindedness towards one's own work that can crowd out self-criticism. Sometimes there is a nice single-mindedness in making something straight out and leaving it un-pestered. But usually, it needs more work. KF: Your formal goals, "the negotiation between the actual and illusion" seem a bit dry, while your work is anything but. It seems that your subject matter has a big part in that. Can you tell me more about the "objects of labor and leisure?" EA: Ahh, you got me! The dry cynicbut that play between the actual and illusion is interesting to me, both visually, and in terms of content. Since my First Communion at age nine (the ACTUAL body of Christ), I have been fascinated with this. It has to do with that blurred line between fact and fiction, real and simulated, and- at the end of the day- mystery.
Sponge with Drain (Yellow) Oil, Silicone, Enamel, and Tile on Panel with Handle Approx. 26.5 x 18 x 44 in 2015
A lot of my subject matter comes from aesthetic memories of this tiny, dead-end town in Arizona where I grew up; its disintegrating buildings: the cheap plastic summer equipment bought from the dollar store. The equipment of lower-end leisure and labor is attractive to me- its physical similarities, and how you can buy it in the same place. Lately I have been fascinated by how many of the words I look up (things I think of as specific to that place and its people) bring up stock images that seem made to be generic and economically metaphoric: visual aids for business presentations. My work has a lot to do with mimicrywhich in itself has reverberations in identity politics- but I think of it more as mimetic, backed by an earnest belief in the transformative power of the object. I think of it sometimes as onomatopoeia, and the way a word collapses the distance between itself and that to which it refers- mimicking the sound it means. The human body is always implied in my work; its props, its bulk, its scale, its unruly fluidity, its wear and tear on objects. And, because I work with an immediacy, my tracks are visible- the paintings are a result of where an idea meets the reality of the material and my efforts to manipulate it. And yet, I am very conscious that I am making a painting, not a statement. A painting has its own relationships to class and economics. Much of my labor is formalist in nature.
TAYLOR BALDWIN taylorbaldwinstudio.com Taylor Baldwin was born in Tucson, AZ. He received a BFA from RISD in 2005 and an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2007. He has been awarded residencies at the Fine Arts Work Center, the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, the Seven Below Arts Initiative and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. He has recently had solo exhibitions at Conner Contemporary in Washington, DC and Land of Tomorrow Gallery in Louisville, KY. His work has been exhibited in group shows at the Queens Museum of Art, Tucson Museum of Contemporary Art and PPOW Gallery, as well as in New York City, Los Angeles, Providence, Richmond and Istanbul. Kevin Frances: Will you tell me a bit about your working process? How do you choose your materials/subject matter? Are you working towards a goal? Taylor Baldwin: My working process; I’m not entirely sure what that phrase would refer to for me at this point, if that’s any indication of where things are at. Mostly I am sort of lost in my practice right now, but intentionally so. So it makes answering this question a little obscure for me at this point, but here’s an attempt: In the past few years, I’ve found that I am really working to trick myself out of knowing what I am doing, working against my own initial plans, or preventing myself from being able to anticipate exactly where a particular piece or body of work is going. This all comes from the fact that I don’t think that I have any good ideas for work before I actually start making it, and I’ve been trying to engineer circumstances where I have to let process save me from the poverty of my intentions. I’ve been increasingly pursuing a psychological condition in the studio that you could call a ‘fugue state’ or ‘ecstatic reverie,’ Tim Bearse, a really close artist friend of mine refers to it as being ‘fucking ethical’. These all feel like ways of describing a state that is about losing or limiting control. It requires a certain amount acceptance of risk, which requires a willingness to self-destruct. The piece in ff
“Fruits of our Labor” is the first time where I’ve really consciously exploring using the fugue state as a tool to make work, and throughout all of it’s genesis I would engage in all of these really specific routines on a daily basis that seemed to help to induce a more fluid, elastic, and sub-lingual flow of thought and action afterwards. These routines included an hour of playing drums before working, listening to hours-long loops of a single musical phrase, and trying not to engage in any language for as long as possible, meaning no radio, television, and limiting contact with other people throughout a studio day. It wound up creating a fairly brutal and ascetic existence for a period of about 4-5 months, which while psychologically demanding, also seemed incredibly potent and new as a position to make artifacts from, and I wanted to try to live some pale shade of an experience like those of proto-religious mystics, hermits, ascetics for as long as I could stand it. The only control I tried to consciously enforce on the form of the ideas within the work was the initial decision of format, which in this case was a sculptural self-portrait. The use of the fugue state as a tool for making seemed like it needed some ur-form or structure to keep it from tipping into unmediated chaos and noise. The format of a self-portrait seemed like a standardized and formulaic enough of a container to hold and organize any energy directed at it, and encompassed a familiarity through which I could operate without external reference unbothered.
The Plague Year Wood glue, prehistoric whale ear bone from the James River delta, pine, aluminum shaft collar stolen from Tim’s office, ride stand/snare stand bought in 1994 from a medical student in Sahuarita, AZ, coconut shell, cotter pin, epoxy resin, fluorescent Plexiglas, brass screws, magic sculpt, walnut, tension bolt, rock climbing handhold given by some undergrad, vintage 60s ride stand bought off Craigslist from an industrial design student, Purple Heart given by Brian, yoga mat, stainless steel bolt, wingnut, salvaged gas pipe, cholla skeleton, birch bark driftwood given by Chris and Em, Corian, satanic candle given by Adam, acrylic rod, heart pine, steel, Plexiglas, urethane glue, traffic cone, metal detritus, axe handle given by Jess, mirrored Plexiglas, broken drum stick from January 2014, peace pipe bought from Dave at Bike Lot garage sale, birch plywood, garden hose from Bemis 4th floor, drywall screws, aluminum, eye shadow applicator found on Dexter Street, lead, screw driver, electrical wire with wire nut, electrical tape, zip ties, limited edition aluminum Slurpee straw, copper, driftwood, Hydrocal, banister cap, Magic-Smooth, foam board trade show display found during undergraduate studio clean up in 2009, geodes bought at the Crystal Shop in Tucson in 2012, high-density polyethylene salvaged from the Trident Plastics dumpster, vinyl floor tiling leftover from Brett’s office remodeling, Sculptamold butt, industrial pigment given by Arthur, carriage bolt, washer, mop handle, offcut from Dan’s sculpture, rainbow strap from a car seat from the Truro dump, ball chain, urethan foam, masonry line bought in Vermont in 2011, fiberglass driveway markers, one-shot sign painting enamel, trophy eagle from the Truro Swap Shop, resin mixing sticks from 2008-2014, maple, birch, ash, 1972 Kennedy silver dollar, rough sawn wood stolen from Alton’s shop, broom handle, melted solo cup, pipe cleaners, rosewood, stainless socket cap screws, door stop, beads, rocks, copper slag, toe from a skeleton replica stolen from AFO, wire, nib pen handle, thread spool, coat hanger, CO2 cartridge given by Starbucks employees, table top found on Dexter street, drill vice stolen from RISD sculpture in 2004, Nathan’s crash stand, bent spoon, Mel’s toothbrush left in bathroom after breaking up. 67 x 48 x 48 in 2014
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the vessel of the energies (a self-portrait) was a fixed control, and the material was a fixed control (whatever materials existed in the studio, and all of the reasons why they existed there) The variable being portrayed through the expression of energy through these two fixed points was what I was really looking to see. The structural idea was sort of based on the logic of performative improvisation, where you do all of the structural work before the moment of performance - setting up a general chord progression and time signature or establishing a comedic premise and a series of characters - and then once the live performative moment starts, the performers extemporize within those structures, trick themselves out of their own control, and generate something unforeseen that, in the best cases, distills and condenses everything that went into the structures that made it. As a process, I hope it can be transposed onto an artistic practice as a way to make work that skirted the contriving effects that artistic control often engenders, but was still able to be intentionally directed. You know, as a way to make work about something without it being formulaic and lame. And so all of this structure gave me a way to think about the sculpture itself as the live performative moment, and every sculptural action as a performative act, with the physical residue of that act being leftover as sculpture. I sort of believe that within this model of performative improvisation, the energies expressed within this bracket of the empty vessel of the self-portrait would take the impression of the patterns existing in the mindset that expressed them, and so the act of directing the work became about only crafting the mental space that produced. At the time I was really fascinated with finding moments in history and culture where people were, on a societal level, really concretely considering the reality of total self-annihilation or absolute destruction. Throughout specific time-period this process encompassed - the end of daylight saving 2013 to daylight saving 2014 - when I wasn’t in the studio fugue state, I was focusing on literature and work from and about cultural moments like the 14th Century
and the Black Death/Hundred Years War, WWI and WWII, The Vietnam War, The HIV epidemic in NYC and San Francisco, the end of the American Indian Wars and Geronimo’s resistance, first-hand accounts of self-trepanation, among a lot of other stuff. I read a lot of apocalyptic and post-collapse literature, nihilistic philosophy that came out of all of those historical moments, and spent a lot of time on reddit subforms like /r/conspiracy and /r/endlesswar and /r/postcollapse. All of the musical loops I played endlessly in the studio were taken from places like funeral dirges, black metal, harsh wall noise, or prison work songs. Genres expressive of abjectness mostly. It seemed that there was a common and allied urge that was being expressed at multiple scales throughout all of this cultural material, which was the same willing embrace of self-destruction that felt required to enter a transcendent ecstatic or fugue state. It was a will for self-annihilation or dissolution that I was also familiar with at an individual-scale, which I think lives in most of our brains. It’s that compulsive voice that tells you to turn your car over a guard-rail when you are driving over a bridge, or to jump when you are standing at the edge of a building. That happens to everyone, right?
So the idea behind this new working process is this: If I had some fixed structures in place to work through, that weren’t fluid or needed any decisions made (i.e. only the format of sculptural self-portrait, only the materials I had unconsciously gathered at a specific moment in time), and if crafted the mental condition of a fugue state to make all the active conceptual-physical decisions of the work, all while flooding my mind with cultural material from moments of significant focus on total self-annihilation, I would see something in what was produced that connected the inherent individual experience of self-annihilation/destruction with the larger cultural experience of it in a compressed, condensed, processable whole. Like something potent or transcendent could be distilled out of all of these cultural artifacts and my own shitty psychology if I could somehow act as an unmediated and open conduit of it. An unbiased channeller of a tapped vein. Or something like that. Does that answer the question? It’s sort of like how the post-iconoclast Byzantine icon painters has really specific rules and rituals in place that they had to conduct in order to open up their ‘mind’s eye’ or whatever to the divine spirit, to make sure that what they were painting was actually channelling God, and not their own ego or individual personas. Except I think with my work I am interested in trying to channel something that feels inherent in the material of the world as they exist within and connect to larger hyperobjects and hyperideas in the world. Does any of this make sense? It sometimes sounds fucking stupid to me, if I am being totally honest. But sometimes it feels amazing. Since then, I’ve been trying to continue these processes, using the larger mechanisms that happened in this “Plague Year” and explore or refine or warp the ways in which they can be used to draw out the ideologies and meaning embedded in a material and it’s processing. I hope that it allows me to make work with some degree of authorial control, but without getting too much in the way. I’ve been making a lot of videos recently too.
HILARY DOYLE hilarydoyle.com Hilary Doyle lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She received her BFA in Painting as a Fine Arts Major from Massachusetts College of Art in 2007 and her MFA in painting from RISD in 2012, where she was a nominee for the Joan MItchell Foundation Grant. She has since continued to focus on exhibiting and curating, and has been featured in Hyperallergic, Blouin ArtInfo and the New American Paintings Blog.
Kevin Frances: Will you tell me a bit about your working process? How do you choose your materials/subject matter? Are you working towards a goal? Hilary Doyle: I choose to paint subjects in the real world that I see constantly. I get ideas from my morning routine, commute, walks, rest and more recently observing others. I experiment a lot with oil and acrylic paint to learn exciting ways to replicate the physical texture of a surface- i.e. the smoothness of a tile or sheen of a towel. I also make little studies and hang them on the wall so I can see how the colors and narrative of the paintings function as a whole. My goal is to bring ideas to life and to paint in a way I have not seen before.KF: You've spoken before about wanting your work to end up somewhere surprising, to be something uncanny. Is this still one of your goals? If so, how do you achieve this in the studio? HD: The uncanny comes from this idea of familiar objects looking like people and also people looking like objects. I try to pay attention to when I feel something is funny in an uncanny way in life and to work from there and also try to find inspirational images of this happening. More recently I have been thinking about the uncanny in the latter way- trying to paint people as though they are objects (frozen in the paint and their position) and thinking about the uncanny valley as seen in very real looking CGI.
KF: Do you think anthropomorphism plays a role in your work?. HD: Anthropomorphism is something I am interested in for a depth of psychology. Psychology has always been important to me I think because my father was a psychotherapist when I was growing up. According to Freud's definition of the uncanny when you see a object with human characteristics it reminds you on some level you that you too are an object. This is at once a disturbing reminder of death that is followed by the cathartic reaction of humor that such a dumb/ familiar object like a towel or painting might have the power to bring you to these thoughts. There is a slippage where painting or sculpture can make an object seem even more anthropomorphic than the 'real' object which interests me. KF: Can you talk more about that last point? How can the painting seem more anthropomorphic than the real object? HD: The painted object does not follow laws of gravity that the "real" towel does and appears to flop and "stand up" at the same time which gives the art object a quality of aliveness. The gooeyness of the paint gives the material a food-like almost pretend playdoughness that I think also makes the object ever so slightly a caricature of the real. I often think about the food fight scene in the movie "Hook" where the "real food" miraculously appears but seems like it could actually be paint.
Washcloth (Purple) Oil on Canvas 17 x 16 in 2013
Tennis Ball Colored T-shirt on a Hard Object Oil on Canvas on Wood 16 x 12 in 2013
BAYNE PETERSON baynepeterson.com Bayne Peterson received his MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2013. He received the S.L.Y. Herman Scholarship in 2013, when he was also the Recipient of the Graduate Studies Grant for In Search of the Primus Stove Carver. Kevin Frances: Will you tell me a bit about your working process? How do you choose your materials/subject matter? Are you working towards a goal? Bayne Peterson: My process is usually about transforming an image, object, or idea through multiple materials and modes of working. My goal is to push the work beyond its original source toward something more mysterious, to the point where the initial steps end up being obscured by successive layers of process. Sometimes the material quality is unreadable, entering a place of total mystery. KF: Mysterious for the viewer, or for yourself? BP: For both, but in different ways. I'm more motivated to make something when the result is mysterious for me, when I'm curious to see what it will end up looking like. Even when I'm starting from a 3d model or have a pretty good idea what it will look like, there's still a sense that I'm approaching the unknown, which makes the process exciting. KF:What is the source IV-X-6236 series pieces?
BP: The series is based on a small sculpture called the Primus Stove that I studied in Canada, a 2.5" tall representation of a late 19th-century Swedish kerosene-burning camping stove. It was carved in walrus ivory by an unidentified Inuit artist in the early 20th-century on Baffin Island, in what is now the Canadian territory of Nunavut, an area that straddles the Arctic circle. The title IV-X-6236is taken from the Primus Stove's documentation number in the special collections
at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Ottawa, where I was able to see it and draw it. I was interested in the layering of approaches and material; the idea of taking something manufactured in an industrial material and representing it by hand in a natural material related to ideas that I was thinking about of combining disparate forms of craft. Although the artist is unknown, the actions of his or her hand are recorded in the slightly undulating surface. I was also interested in the social dynamic of the piece, and saw it as an artifact of early globalization. The 19th-century saw increased contact between the Inuit and outsiders, such as whalers and traders, who brought manufactured goods such as tools, cookware, guns, and stoves to trade for furs, ivory, and art. The tiny sculpture seemed to encapsulate this history. KF: The first in the series is directly based on the Inuit carving, while the subsequent pieces are based on a 3D scan of that piece. How does the technological translation come into your thinking of the work? BP: I see it as a reflection of the translation that occurred in the walrus ivory Primus Stove, from a manufactured to a hand-carved object. I like to think about craft through the terminology of David Pye, who wrote that all types of craft fall somewhere on a spectrum between risk and certainty. For example, drawing a straight line by hand is on the risk side, and drawing it with a ruler is on the certainty side. The Primus Stove is a sculpture that overlays risk onto certainty, and this risk manifests as a somewhat softer, more fluid form.
IV-X-6236b Laser Cut Wood, Paint 17 x 19 x 3 in 2013
IV-X-6236c Wood, Tinted Epoxy Filler, Paint 40 x 35 x 5 in 2014
In my first piece in the series, IV-X-6236a, I wanted to recreate the form of the Primus Stove as faithfully as possible with a process of risk, so I carved it by hand in wood. It was a way of trying to understand the the Primus Stove through taking a similar path as its sculptor. Then, I realized that I actually hadn't taken the same path because I hadn't shifted between the disparate worlds of risk and certainty: I had sourced something that was made with risk, and recreated it with risk. So as a way to make a more dramatic shift between these worlds, I decided to do the inverse of the Primus Stove sculptor, and go from risk to certainty. At the time, I associated digital tools with certainty. Most digital tools that artists use trickle down from manufacturing, and there's a perception that they eliminate risk in all processes. So I 3D scanned IV-X-6236a with 123D Catch, a 3D scanning app that uses photogrammetry to translate a set of photographs of an object into a 3D .
model. When I saw the model that had been produced of my carving, I was amazed at how amorphous it was, due to slight misunderstandings within the app caused by lighting and finish. It looked like someone had tried to build the Primus Stove out of silly putty. This seemed like an appropriate step, actually, in that it was in line with the translation within the Primus Stove, from a rigid form to a more fluid form. So I decided to go with this amorphous model, and used it as a starting point for a 3D print, a series of images from screenshots in 3D modeling, and IV-X-6236b, which I made by virtually slicing the model in a 3D modeling program into topographical layers that I could laser cut in plywood and glue back together in the studio. This process in itself was a strange mixture of disparate worlds of craft, in that you start from a virtual object made with a laser, and then you find yourself in the studio simply gluing and nailing boards together.
JOEL SEIDNER joelseidner.com Joel Seidner was born in Bogota, Colombia. He received his BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2014, where he received the 2014 Oxbow Fellowship Alternate Scholarship. Kevin Frances: Will you tell me a bit about your working process? How do you choose your materials/subject matter? Are you working towards a goal?
the ideas flowing and to develop relationships and dynamics until an image of the objects I want hits me. In the end I gravitate to the materials and the language that decorate the time I have yearned for.Often I canâ€™t tell which Joel Seidner: I like materials for what came first, the idea or the material. they are, and often get influenced by their context. However I prefer to use I have been working broadly with the materials that have symbology and subject of identity and its manipulation. history specific to me and my past. Itâ€™s a fascination I have had for a long When I use materials or processes time but was restricted by my certainty that I find appealing visually but have in the very superficial and simple no relationship to me, I end up doing notions I had formed when I was very a lot of experimentation that results in young. So I have been making work to nothing most of time, with only a few explore, test, and just think about the exceptions. I like testing myself with Identity, the roots of its fabrication, and all sort of materials as a way to get evolution/manipulation.
You and My Grandma Porcelain with Celadon Mohagony 33 x 17 x 7 in 2013
I feel like the work I make comes to me slowly and then catalyzes all of the sudden; like an image, an illustration of a confused thought or an object that fills a void. I’d like to think that my body of work is an inquiry that happens piece by piece. I have clear expectation of what I want the most objects to accomplish before I start working on them. The end result is not exactly as envisioned in the beginning because there is always the enjoyment of manipulating materials in the process of bringing the object to fruition. KF: You said you often use materials that have strong personal connections to you. I think one of the defining features of nostalgia is the acute pain that occurs when you try to relive the past, does this come into play in the creation of your work? Does the personal meaning of the materials change for you through working? JS: Yes! In essence that is one of the biggest motivations for me to make work. The materials often carry a permanent familiarity that time can’t touch. A lot of the work I make echoes my tendencies to get stuck in the past and resentment of time’s merciless motion. Some of the work I’ve made literally is done to try bring places or objects from my past, create things that have the flavors of my early childhood in Colombia before I moved to the U.S. When making objects I try to stay as faithful to the truth, to the memory, otherwise I’m afraid that it won’t be satisfying; there wouldn’t be any point in making anything. In that same way the material is sacred. It would be a disaster if I relearned the context of the material while making a sculpture. I am concentrating on being able to defy time for myself. I have tried to imitate and adopt materials, but I lose interest in the making the piece.
Architectural Folly Mahogany, Stoneware, Porcelain, Celadon, Bento Grass 58 x 8 x 17 in 2014
JOHN ZANE ZAPPAS johnzanezappas.com Born in 1985, John Zane Zappas lives and works in Los Angelos, California. in 2012 he received his MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, MI, and went on to attend the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture later that year. is work has been shown all over the States, with solo and two-person exhibitions in California, Arkansas, Michigan and New York. Kevin Frances: Will you tell me a bit about your working process? How do you choose your materials/subject matter? Are you working towards a goal? JZ: When I'm working, a concrete goal isn't really in my mind, although the finished work always has a high level of detail and material specificity. I try to avoid having a rigid intention at the outset; I find that moving in a straight line from conception to execution is when I make the worst work. There is an informal rubric that guides my decision making: an interest in ad hoc decisions and a desire to use very common materials. The material has to have a certain amount of resistance to my impulses so that there's a process of negotiation and compromise. When the piece is done, I like to feel that I've affected the material as much as it's affected me. In terms of the formal language of my work, I'm looking for a certain amount of perceptual ffffffffffff
slippage. and an uncanny mixture of familiarity and otherness. The mere fact that oblivious things can cause us to feel and think is a miracle to me and continues to push me to make new work. KF: Can you elaborate on what you mean by the necessity of the material having a "resistance to your impulses?" JZ: I look for materials with formal and physical properties that can play an active role in my decision making. It's important that the material presents an occasional road block that forces me to reassess where I'm going with the piece. In the past, I worked a lot with mold making and casting plastics which I used to create a wide range of mimetic versions of found objects. When you reach a certain level of knowledge and skill in working with these overly versatile products, it becomes
apparent that all that it takes to make an indistinguishable reproduction of an object is money and time. I was also feeling disillusioned with the legacy of Conceptual Art, which has absorbed the management/labor division of corporate culture. My process was feeling stagnant in that way, it had been reduced to deciding on a form, allocating the resources, and executing the idea. The older pieces always combined enough elements to form a sort of semiotic soup that was ripe with associative meanings, but there was very little room for the material to have a voice, and this unbalanced power dynamic left no space for me to learn and grow from the process of making the work. KF: I definitely see the familiarity and otherness in your works in this show. They seem like something in between a beetle, mold, and a hat hook. Can you talk about your thoughts making them? JZ: When I say Otherness, I mean that the works don't take any great
T L O T L O Gypsum Cement, Pigment, and Basswood 20 x 4.5 x 2.5 in 2015 E E R M I R Gypsum Cement, Pigment, and Basswood 33.5 x 15â€?x 2.5 in 2015
pains to represent any one thing. This allows them to function as a sort of existential looking glass, revealing whatever it is that the viewer brings to them. These wall pieces have been simmering on the back burner for a bit since I made the first one in 2012. The surfaces have an illusionistic pull and the pieces are very flat, but the display mechanism of the hook asserts the object-hood of the work. So it's uncertain how you're meant to approach them. This oscillation between pictorial and actual space connects to a recent push in my work to make sculptures that don't know what sculpture is. What I mean by that is the pieces flirt with the fringes of what a sculpture is supposed to do. These pieces incorpo rate flatness and a psychic depth, which typically belong to the domain of other genres such as painting or perhaps video. Similarly, a lot of my recent sculptures are marginalized by a mundane utilitarian purpose - ashtray, iPhone dock, bench - which confuses our modes of interpretation and interac tion.
R O Q O S Gypsum Cement, Pigment, and Basswood 47 x 5.5 x 2.5 in 2015 N O Q O S Gypsum Cement, Pigment, and Basswood 32.5 x 5 x 2.5 in 2015
Lucas's Desk Japanese Woodblock Prin 22" x 30 in 2014
ABOUT THE CURATOR Kevin Frances is an artist who lives and works in Boston, Massachusetts. He received his MFA in Printmaking at the Rhode Island School of Design in 2013, and his BA in Art Studio from the University of California, Davis in 2010. In 2012 he was a participant at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. kevinfrances.com
Eleanor Aldrich Mop Head with Wall Oil, Silicone, Enamel, and Tile on Panel with Handle approx. 24 x 20 x 50 in 2015
Hilary Doyle | Towel Folded | Oil and Acrylic on Canvas and Wood | 12 x 14 in | 2014