Jo Yarrington Jo Yarrington: The Leap On view in the Museum Building from May 4 – October 6, 2013 Jo Yarrington’s drawing, photographs, and architecturally-based installations have been shown in solo and group exhibitions at institutions such as Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, CT, Artists Space, NY, BRIC Rotunda Gallery, NY, The Cathedral of St. John the Divine, NY, DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, MA, Museum of Glass, WA, Newport Art Museum, RI, William Benton Museum of Art, CT, Broadway Windows Gallery of New York University, NY, and many others. Her work has been extensively shown in international venues, including Hallgrimskirkja, Iceland, Galeria Sala Uno, Italy, Museum of Contemporary Art, Macedonia, Centro de las Artes de Guanajuato, Mexico, Christuskirche, Germany, Glasgow School of Art, Scotland, Garnetthill Synagogue, Scotland, and Glasgow Cathedral, Scotland. In 2001, she represented the United States at the Sharjah Biennial, United Arab Emirates. Yarrington is a recipient of major commissions as well as fellowships and grants from the Pollock Krasner Foundation, the MacDowell Colony, the Brandywine Institute, the Pennsylvania Council for the Arts and the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Urban Glass Art Quarterly and World Sculpture News, among other publications. Yarrington earned both her BFA and MFA from Ohio State University, Columbus, OH. She is a Professor of Studio Art in the Department of Visual and Performing Arts at Fairfield University, Fairfield, CT. The artist lives and works in New York City. About The Leap: While visiting Grounds For Sculpture, Yarrington was fascinated by its story and its site, which for over one hundred years witnessed the myriad activities of the New Jersey State Fair. The Fair attracted great numbers of people with its farm, home and equipment exhibits, horse and car races, and the thrilling entertainments of the midway. In the mid-twentieth century, the relevance of the Fair faded. The site was largely abandoned and became part of an industrial park. Yarrington was further intrigued by the story of the Museum building and wove it into her concept. The building’s original purpose was to exhibit small livestock during the Fairs, and it was located between the Domestic Arts and the Motor Exhibits buildings, now renovated and part of Grounds For Sculpture. Early in the development of GFS, it was determined that the building should be relocated, to open up the space and to give the future Museum a more central position in the park. The building was then mounted on wheels and slowly moved across the terrain to its current location, formerly the Fairground’s midway. Research is an important component of Yarrington’s process to develop authentic concepts for her site specific installations. She spent several days studying the New Jersey State Fair archives at the Trenton Free Library. While examining glass lantern
Jo Yarrington slides of the midway entertainments, she was captivated by the photograph of a daredevil act in which a man is shown suspended in empty space after diving from a tall structure. This provocative image inspired the direction and title for the installation. The Leap is a metaphor for the courage required, specifically of the artist and generally of humankind, to take an enormous risk, to have enough faith in oneself to leave familiar territory and make a leap into the unknown. It is this capacity to envision the landing and then, on faith, leap into the void that has brought about humankind’s greatest achievements. Yarrington recognized this capacity in Seward Johnson’s vision in 1984: he looked out on the dirt and concrete rubble acres of the former State Fairgrounds and imagined an extraordinarily beautiful and inspiring sculpture park. Then he courageously leapt into the unknown and, over the next twenty-five years, turned his vision into reality. Yarrington also equates this process with the transformation an artist undergoes during the process of creating art. Exploring unknown territory in pursuit and eventual realization of a compelling artistic vision results in heightened awareness of and trust in the artist’s own inner resources and his/her capacity to break new ground, thereby encouraging the artist to continue the process of artistic advancement. Photo taken by Yarrington on the train from NYC to GFS
Previous works by Yarrington, also site specific.
Ocular Visions, 2010 The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum Ridgefield, Connecticut Photographic Duraclears in Front Entrance windows, Rear Exit windows, LCD video installation
20' x 30' overall
State of Grace, 2001 - 2002 Broadway Windows, New York University New York, NY Photographic Duraclear on Steel Rods Five cruciform images, 4' x 7'
Meredith Pingree GreenLight: Meredith Pingree On view in the Museum Building from May 4 – July 14, 2013 Artist's Statement: My artwork physically tracks human behavior and traffic patterns using quasi-scientific, homespun, reactive sculptures. I use sensors to pick up on people’s energy and movement throughout a space. My work exists as amplifications of this subtle energy, creating unconventional, complex portraits of people and spaces. The work functions in a way that is similar to many quasi-scientific devices like aura cameras and mood rings. The realization of each piece inevitably sets up a study. Action within the sprawling electronic systems of brains and guts creates a force to react against as the piece simultaneously responds back in a cyclical, chaotic nature.
A Conversation with the Artist:
As a part of Duke's Visiting Artist Lecture Series, "Immersed in Every Sense,"
How did you get into robotics?
I started making geometric welded sculptures in college at the University of Utah. Toward the end of the four years, I got more and more ideas for objects with moving parts. I made a gazebo-like sculpture with a round metal mesh floor suspended by bungee cords. As you stepped on the floor, it pulled a cord attached to a piece of chalk that made a mark on the ceiling. After that, I went to Rhode Island School of Design for grad school. My first ideas were very similar to the chalk piece. My professor said, "Why don't you just do this with electronics?" Nobody had any specific knowledge on how to do it. I picked up bits of advice from different people. I bought some 12-volt solenoids and a 12-volt power supply and put them together and was amazed when they worked. I put more parts together -- sometimes they would work and sometimes they wouldn't. I later took a real electronics class and then later some programming. I still learn new things through trial and error in current projects.
What influences your art?
Math, geometry, science, music, rhythm, plant life, artificial intelligence, chaos, energy, dreams. And many artists, such as Tim Hawkinson, Arthur Ganson, Theo Jansen and Olafur Eliasson.
Brief Biography Meridith Pingree is a Brooklyn based artist known for her quirky reactive sculptures, and squishy geometric forms. Her work has been shown in recent solo exhibitions at Fringe Exhibitions in Los Angeles, and Sarah Lawrence College in New York. Other recent exhibitions included her work at the Bronx Museum, Smack Mellon, The Soap Factory, BravinLee Programs, Triple Candie, Heskin Contemporary, and Gallery Satori among others. A hanging kinetic piece was recently commissioned by BakerIE.org.
Meredith Pingree Pingree's work has been written about in the New York Times, Art Week, The Brooklyn Rail, Vellum Magazine, Art Fag City and KCLOG among others. The artist received her MFA in sculpture from Rhode Island School of Design and is an alumna of Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Meredith Pingree’s work is composed of: • Zipper tape • Glass beads Zipper Wall, 2013 plastic & nylon zipper tape • Fishing wire • Steel • Motors • Motion sensors • Acrylic • Nylon • Wire
Works by Pingree at GFS.
Yellow Star, 2007 Acrylic, motors, motion sensors, wire
Magic Curtain, 2011 Glass beads, fishing wire, steel, motors
Jason Peters Jason Peters: Less Than <> More Than On view in the Museum Building from May 4 – October 6, 2013 Currently living and working in Brooklyn, NY, Jason Peters was born in Mobile, AL and grew up in Munich, Germany. He returned to the United States to attend the Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD, earning a BFA in Sculpture with a minor in Asian Art History in 1999. Since then, Peters has been awarded residencies at the Bronx Museum of Art, Bronx, NY, Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT, Sculpture Space, Utica, NY, Salina Arts Center, Salina, KS, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Omaha, NE, and the Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh, PA. Solo exhibitions of his work have been presented by Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, NY, Time Square Alliance, New York, NY, Sculpture Space, Utica NY, Bronx Museum of Art, Bronx, NY, Center for Contemporary Art, Santa Fe, NM, and Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, Richmond, VA, among others. His work has been show internationally in many group exhibitions – in the United States, Austria, Germany, and Italy. Peters’ work was featured as part of The Light Project, a major collaboration between the St. Louis Contemporary Art Center, the St. Louis Art Museum, White Flag Projects, and the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, St. Louis, MO. About Less Than <> More Than: The title of this exhibition, Less Than <> More Than, refers to the process of working creatively with lowly materials until they lose their individuality and become a single, momentous entity. When completed, Peters documents the installations with photography and video, dismantles them, and moves on to the next project. Since the components have little or no monetary value and are relatively easy to replace, he either puts them in the trash or recycles them into new projects. Peters’ lack of attachment to his artworks is explained by his overall goal which is not to create impressive or spectacular artworks, although they are, but rather to create experiences that open viewers to fuller consciousness of their relationship to the spaces in which they conduct their lives. His works are often large in scale but remain within human reach, both physically and psychologically. Peters likens it to the Japanese concept of “ma, which is a consciousness of place or experiential space. It is not an enclosed three-dimensional entity, but an unfolding event that takes place in the human imagination while experiencing architectural elements.” As viewers happen upon these structures, they evoke a somewhat unsettling sense of potential chaos, and create a moment in which viewers’ assumptions about the space they occupy are undermined. They are presented with forms that expand and flow with an unrecognizable force and appear to be
Jason Peters unaffected by the force of gravity. It is similar to the way in which animated films present situations that are unreal in terms of the natural world, but viewers accept and enjoy this experience because, while watching, they suspend their assumptions of reality. Peters refers to the viewers’ reaction as “a speed bump in their perceived reality,” when accustomed modes of thinking and seeing are released and the mind opens to new modes. The initially disorienting moment is supplanted by viewers’ fascination with the way in which the simple, homely materials have been assembled into vibrantly animated forms. For all the seriousness of their intent, as viewers continue to contemplate and scrutinize Peters’ fascinating installations they reveal the profound and wondrous possibilities of human imagination and elicit genuinely pleasurable responses. Jason Peters’ Less Than <> More Than is composed of: • aircraft cable • metal chair frames, • fluorescent light tubes • custom metal fixtures • electrical wire Jason Peters
Less Than <> More Than, 2013
Jason Peters, 2012 Piece title unavailable, photographed day & night
Previous works by Peters, also site specific. Over
Jonathan Shahn Jonathan Shahn: Heads in Wood and Plaster On view in the Domestic Arts Building from May 4 – September 22, 2013 “I’m not sure about anything in art. My mind changes.” – Jonathan Shahn Background: Jonathan Shahn was born 1938 in Ohio to Ben Shahn and Bernarda Shahn, both artists. Shahn prefers to not be associated with the fame of his parents, but rather to have his art considered on its own merits. He studied sculpture at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine, Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, and School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. He spent about 1 year living in Italy where he observed sculpture and art everywhere. Shahn currently teaches at the Art Students League in NYC. His studio and home is nearby in Roosevelt, NJ. Awards: Shahn has been the recipient of many awards, including the National Academy Annual Maynard Prize and an Honorary Bogliasco Fellowship. He was commissioned to do both the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial at the MLK Station in Jersey City and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial in Roosevelt, NJ. His works are in the collection of the Princeton University Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. Subject Matter: One of Shahn’s major subjects is the human head. Heads are easily recognizable to cultures across the world. He says artwork is never completed, just abandoned. Style: His work has almost always been of heads. His earlier work had a more academic approach, with attention on symmetry and proportions. Over his career, Shahn developed his own style for sculpting the head. He chose to leave many of his heads partially-finished, which emphasizes the asymmetry created by the material he is working with. Sometimes facial features are suggested. Details are added by the smallest amounts of Sharpie marker or white-out. He chose to leave his clay and wood sculptures to age naturally, allowing cracks to form in the materials. Sometimes, he will repair these cracks and others are left to show character.
Jonathan Shahn Wood: Wood lends a raw, natural feeling to the work. Natural colors of the wood and natural forms lend character to individual pieces. Shahn sees wood as an aged material and chooses to work primarily with discarded wood. To create works in wood, Shahn draws rough outlines of the head in the wood before carving or chiseling. Few works are completely painted, details are added with marker, white out, or acrylic paints. Jonathan Shahn, Quebracho Head on Ipê Base, 2013, Quebracho and Ipê Base, White-Out, Courtesy of the Artist.
Plaster: Used primarily for smaller pieces. This material needs to be worked much more quickly, as it can only be manipulated while wet. This means the shapes are forms must be simplified. Jonathan Shahn, Jonathan Shahn, SPH-6, 2008, plaster, mixed media, 4.875 x 2.875 x 2.75 inches, Courtesy of the Artist
Boxes: From showing in group exhibitions, Shahn saw how the feeling of his works would vary depending on proximity of works by other artists. This led him to the idea of creating an isolated environment for his works. These works were planned in great detail: sketches included dimensions, materials, even colors. The glass skylights were created using panes of broken glass from his studio’s windows. The white boxes intensify the isolation of these pieces and control the lighting and shadow. Jonathan Shahn, Head of a Woman, Yellow Hair on Long Pole, 2008, plaster, mixed media, glass panel. Courtesy of the Artist.
Pepon Osorio Pepón Osorio: Where the Me Becomes We On view in the Domestic Arts Building from May 4 – September 22, 2013 “My principal commitment as an artist is to return art to the community.” – Pepón Osorio
Background: Pepón Osorio is a Latin American artist from Puerto Rico. He attended the Universidad Inter-Americana in Puerto Rico, then continued his studies at Lehman College in NY. He later earned a MA in social work from Columbia University. He worked as a social worker in the Bronx for five years, which is credited as the reason for his interest in cultural history and identity. Wanting to help create social change for the communities he worked with, Osorio decided to transition from social worker to artist, a career he felt could raise awareness of social issues. He currently teaches at the Tyler School of Arts at Temple University in Philadelphia, where he a professor of Community Arts.
Awards: Osorio has work in the collections of The Walker Art Center, the Whitney Museum of American Art and other prestigious museums. In addition, he has received a MacArthur Fellowship in 1999, the Skowhegan Medal for Sculpture (2001), and The Smithsonian Legacy Award for Visual Arts (2008).
Subject Matter: Identity – personal, cultural, community – is the main focus of his work. Osorio challenges the academic definition of fine art by creating pieces that are made of objects from everyday life. These works have a relevance to Latino communities which traditional fine art does not. The reason for this was two-fold: 1. to show the established art world other definitions of beauty, and 2. to make contemporary art that Latino audiences could connect with. Osorio took this concept even further by displaying artwork in non-traditional gallery spaces, such as stores and homes. In this way, he brings his artwork directly to the community.
Style: Most of his works are mixed-media. His work often incorporates elements of popular culture, community life, home life, social issues and political issues
Pepon Osorio related to the Latino experience in America. This is a topic he speaks about in the PBS series Art 21, which devoted an entire episode to this artist. The colors, objects, images, and words he uses all relate to the Latino style of embellishment and ornamentation. Many of the elements he uses are common “knickknacks” or “trinkets” in Puerto Rico. Osorio has also worked directly with community members in over 30 different locations to create temporary installation works.
Pepón Osorio, La Bicicleta, 1985, mixed media with bicycle, 42 x 60 x 24 inches, Courtesy of the Artist and Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, NY
Mixed Media: As a result of his “mixed-media” aesthetic, several of Osorio’s works show a “kitsch” style. Osorio uses seemingly random materials, including metallic and reflective tape, ribbon, fabric flowers, small plastic figures, etc. In order to successfully represent his life and culture, Osorio’s works incorporate fairly everyday materials.
Pepón Osorio, Lonely Soul, 2008, wooden crutches, fiberglass, styrofoam, 108 x 31 x 49 inches, Courtesy of the Artist and Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, NY
Pepón Osorio, Las Twines, 1998, mixed media, 89 x 63 x 126 inches, Courtesy of the Artist and Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, NY