Bag Lunch

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Bag Lunch Bag Lunch features eight non-Texan artists recently or currently residing in Texas, who, with some awkwardness, traversed solitary habits to get to know each other’s work over the last two restless years. The artists take the gallery site—a former gymnasium in a repurposed school building—as a jumping-off point to reflect on their wideranging practices. Through gestures, both tender and unruly, they explore exercise, repetition, reuse, learning, vulnerability, play, and rebellion as themes that trouble and inspire their practice. The works span multiple media, including sculpture, painting, photography, video, and papermaking.

Included artists Aishwarya Arumbakkam Bee Gray Helen Jones Emma Rossoff Anthony Rundblade Joy Scanlon Brendan Shea Anna Teiche

This zine will be available at the opening of Bag Lunch July 9th, with an additional insert available the closing on July 30th.

Emma Rossoff Emma Rossoff creates allegorical installations where ancient mythology and religious symbolism are interwoven with personal narrative. In her work, Rossoff employs traditional craft techniques in wood and fiber in order to investigate the moral and devotional facets of the handmade, as well as the labor embedded in domestic environments. Rossoff received a BA in Studio Art and Art History from Columbia University in 2016 and is an MFA candidate in Sculpture & Extended Media at University of Texas, Austin (2022). Before attending Columbia she completed her foundation year at the Rhode Island School of Design and studied Fashion Design at Central Saint Martins in London. She attended a residency at Vermont Studio Center (2019), and has been included in group exhibitions in New York City, Washington D.C., and Austin, Texas.

In a Dream World, wood, paper clay, plaster, cotton, burlap, dye, 39” x 24” x 6” @emmalouiserossoff

Anna Teiche Anna Teiche is an oil painter and drawer based in Austin, Texas, where she has recently earned her MFA in painting + drawing from UT Austin. Her work explores intersections between landscape, climate change, and illness, using textural experimentations with oil paint to create beautiful and haunting interpretations of natural environments. Teiche’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. In 2020 her first solo show “Anna Teiche: Fragments” opened at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art (WA). She has attended residencies including NES (Iceland), Rockland Woods (WA), and Kintai Arts (Lithuania), and will attend Vermont Studio Center this summer on fellowship. She recently completed a large-scale site specific installation with the Facebook Open Arts Seattle office in summer of 2021. Her work is featured online and in publications such as Friend of the Artist,, and New American Paintings (Issue 151). @annateiche

Untitled (Iceberg), gouache on archival paper, 9” x 12” Cindercone, oil on canvas, 11” x 14”

Helen Jones Helen Jones holds a BFA in Photography from the Massachusetts College of Art. In 2010 she started a photography publication, Incandescent, with a couple of friends. Lately, she runs it on her own and recently released the twentieth issue. Helen’s work explores interactions between people, places, and landscapes, her aesthetic is one of things built up unintentionally and of imprints left behind. Her work has been featured online on sites such as Ain’t—Bad, Nowhere Diary, Lenscratch, F-stop Magazine, and Float Magazine; and in print in Subjectively, Objective’s Monthly Monograph Magazine. She has exhibited in group shows at the Visual Art Center (Austin, Texas), Vermont Center for Photography (Brattleboro, Vermont), and was included in the Pacific Northwest Photography Viewing Drawers at Blue Sky Gallery (Portland, Oregon). @helenjonesphotographs

Wild flowers, archival inkjet print, 20” x 24” Mending, archival inkjet print, 11” x 14”

Joy: When I think of the term “repurpose,” something anti-purist within me bristles. Like, there’s some primary, objective purpose for any one thing. To me, everything material is repurposed-- a leaf “repurposes” light to make energy. The tee shirt fibers in my paintings aren’t made from repurposed textiles any more than the textiles are made from repurposed cotton. Does this resonate with either of you? Or am I making a mess out of a term that works perfectly well as is?

Helen: I think this makes sense. Somewhere next to repurpose in my notes on this show, I wrote down “other lives.” My work doesn’t reuse materials per se, but I photograph objects and places that retain traces of former uses—well-worn spaces, shirts mended time and again, or things that have been made use of like an old coffee can used to coil a hose and keep it off the ground. Most materials in our lives have had prior uses. Maybe there’s something nice about not covering up those past uses—making those cycles visible?

Brendan: Yes, I think about the word use when it comes to the word repurposing. I think material is more likely to be labeled as repurposed if it had a common use, and then diverges from that use. I do not repurpose in the general sense, but I do rely heavily on the prior contexts of images and material in my work. I recently made a painting of a pansy on concrete; I am using the concrete for its material quality, but I am also using it because of how it has existed in others contexts. Concrete is used in many different ways, so it carries a wide web of associations like construction, infrastructure, labor, and industry.

Joy: Where do you think the repurposing impulse comes from in your practices? does repurposing feel like a moral imperative in a world that’s moving too fast? Is it a straightforward reaction to the surplus of signs and images and materials in the world? Or something else?

Helen: It seems like a big claim, but it does feel important to reuse and not only value the new. The idea of a surplus of images rings true. I’m thinking of the many photographers who don’t make photos but utilize archives (including myself at times); their work is about the context of photographs and building connections through existing images, not creating new ones.

Both of you use familiar images, phrases, or patterns in your paintings, does that feel like repurposing? Or does that phrase feel like it is about materials to you? Is one way of repurposing more ideological than another?

Brendan: It does feel like a type of repurposing to me. Some images and phrases fall out of use, and by putting it back out into the world you are extending it, and changing it. For me repurposing does not feel like a moral imperative, it feels more like a habit. I think back to what Joy said “something anti-purist within me bristles. Like, there’s some primary, objective purpose for any one thing.” The idea that things have one use feels silly to me as well. The use of a concept or a material evolves with its relationship and that’s why I see repurposing as a habit, more than a moral imperative.

Brendan Shea

Hahahahahh jk, oil on canvas, 2’ x 2’ Pansy, oil on concrete, 10.5” x 12”

Brendan Shea is an artist whose work explores popular sentiment, affect, and mechanisms of painting. Brendan received his BFA in painting from Maine College of Art in 2018. Currently, he is an MFA candidate at the University of Texas at Austin, where he is a recipient of the David Bruton Jr. Endowment Graduate Fellowship. Brendan has attended residencies at the Pace House and Hewnoaks. He has exhibited work across the U.S., including Ortega Y Gasset Projects (NYC), Visual Arts Center (Austin, TX.), Grant Wahlquist Gallery (Portland, Me.), B.U. Gallery (Boston, MA.), Good Luck Have Fun (Austin, TX.), SaveArtSpace (Los Angeles, CA.), Able Baker Contemporary (Portland, Me.), SOIL Gallery (Seattle, Washington), and SPACE Gallery (Portland ME.). brendan_r_shea

Joy Scanlon Joy Scanlon translates, distorts, and reproduces patterns drawn from domestic objects. Scanlon employs papermaking and collage techniques to create paintings that both resist and submit to an underlying, grid-based composition. The paintings are torn between harmony and chaos—from afar, they read as unified and controlled. Upon approach, the contrasts in their units assert themselves. On the painting plane, contradiction can be aestheticized to the point of eliciting pleasure, integrating conflict without sacrificing discord. @soyj0y

Patch/Work Whole/Cloth (“Album Patch” Variation), handmade paper (cotton rag, pigments), pastel, ribbon, 50” x 60”

Bee Gray Bee Gray is a queer, Jewish artist who stitches together personal memoir with American cultural fragments to create humorous and critical soundscapes, installations, performances, video, prints, wearables, and text. Her work invites viewers to joyfully disobey dominant culture—its coherence, its cleanliness, its hegemony. She was born in Los Angeles in 1988, holds a BA in Modern Literature from the University of California at Santa Cruz, and an MFA in Transmedia art from the University of Texas at Austin. @carabiner_size_queen

Everybody Wants To Be A Celebrity, oil based monoprint on paper, 16” x 24” Headless My Little Ponies For Ritual Drinking, oil based monoprint on paper, 16” x 24”

Emma: For me learning in the studio is about unstructured play time. I listen to my materials and allow them to guide and teach me. I submit to them and the processes they require from me in a way I could never submit to a person or authority figure. I look at my pieces as both teachers and partners in crime, aiding me in the quest to escape prescribed systems of knowledge. In a lot of ways, I am more interested in unlearning than learning. Instead of pursuing a feeling of “knowing” or “mastery,” I seek to represent the fact of the unknown, to make its enveloping presence tangible. Anna: Over the past year I have been a caretaker for a cancer patient, a role I never expected to fill; that has a quick — and emotional — learning curve. During that time painting became how I processed and communicated my experiences. When words didn’t feel adequate I turned to color and light. I began to question how and why I set up a composition, chose the palette, and applied the paint. The questioning allowed me to stay invested in my work, to keep it feeling playful and experimental during months of scheduled treatments, appointments, and stress. Gouache and pastel allowed me to work quicker than oils, building up shapes, values and textures on paper. This process began as a way to get out of my head, to distract myself from thinking about illness or feeling stuck in the longer process of building an oil painting, but has become an integral part of how I learn, experiment, and build ideas. These paper works serve as both plans for the future, journal entries, and finished pieces in themselves.

Aishwarya: In mid 2020, because of the covid-19 global pandemic, and sudden closures of international borders, I was abruptly separated from my parents for an undetermined period of time. I was deeply pained by our seperation, overwhelmed with concern for my ageing parents and their health, and consumed by guilt for leaving them to start a new, and possibly better life in a country far away. I tried to compensate for what I couldn’t see, what I didn’t know, what I feared I was missing by combing through my fathers messages, tracking the number of steps he took, and watching my parents over video calls and home surveillance cameras. I conjured reasons to shoot with my parents everyday over facetime, so I could spend an extended amount of time with them. When there was fear and uncertainty about everything around us, we used shooting as an excuse to be together, and derived comfort from it. We spent days, months, years without being able to meet in person. Through all this, time always passed and the distance always stayed, but we spent days filling the distance between us with the works we made together. Through learning, I tried to slow down time that was slipping through our fingers. My parents are older, maybe time passes differently for them. I don’t know. I know how it passes for me. It always makes me panic. I am unwilling to accept that my parents are aging, and that I am going to lose them. It is inevitable but I keep trying to pull these threads, maybe one of them will make it stop, maybe one of them will make us touch. By looking, listening, visualising, filling, flattening, tracing, impressing, and slowing, I have repeatedly tried, and always failed to prolong time or close the distance.

Aishwarya Arumbakkam Aishwarya Arumbakkam is a multidisciplinary visual artist working with photography, filmmaking, and drawing to create narrative installations and artist books. Produced in grayscale, her prints, drawings, publications, and projections are patient and intimate, slowly revealing political subtexts. In her research, systematic collecting, and image-making, she collaborates longterm with communities around whom her work is centered. Her work interweaves cultural, mythological, and personal narratives to unravel sociocultural complexities. An artist from Chennai, India, Aishwarya is currently pursuing an MFA in Studio Art at The University of Texas, Austin. Arumbakkam was honored as one of the ‘Ones to Watch’ by the British Journal of Photography in 2019. In 2020, she was awarded the Magnum Foundation Photography and Social Justice Fellowship. Her work has been exhibited at various places including Ishara Art Foundation (UAE), Chobimela International Festival of photography (Bangladesh), Ffotogallery (UK), and the Visual Arts Center (USA). @aishwaryaarumbakkam

Triptych 1 Appa , three panels of intaglio on gampi silk tissue, 24” x 18” each, edition of 6 + 2 AP

Coach Smiley (Desk Graffiti), silicone, hair (human and otherwise), stick and poke tattoo, upholstery foam and wood panel, 11” x 11” x 9”

Math is a Tempestuous Lover (Desk Graffiti), silicone, hair (human and otherwise), stick and poke tattoo, upholstery foam and wood panel, 11” x 11” x 9”

Anthony Rundblade Anthony Rundblade is an artist who lives and works in San Antonio and Austin, TX. He creates sculptural installations in search of joyous anarchy and an un-poetic absurd. He received his BFA from The University of Texas at San Antonio, with a focus in printmaking. Rundblade is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Texas –Austin where he is expanding his skills through sculpture and installation. In the last five years, Rundblade worked as a Studio Technician and Studio Manager at the Artpace Residency Program (2014-2019) and held several solo exhibitions in Texas, exploring the relationship between print media, sculpture, and installation. @anthonyrundblade

What did you bring?

Assembling the “bag lunch” is a necessary improvisation, a bricolage in the kitchen the night or morning before leaving for school or work. Maybe it starts with an apple—something visible and desirable— you grab it and then begin to place other things in relation to it. You project into where and when you or another will consume and enjoy these items. Somehow, whatever you end up placing in your bag will emerge elsewhere with the appearance of a complete collection, one that betrays logics and patterns perhaps legible only to you, perhaps to everyone except you, about where you live and shop, what you want and what others think you should have. The bag lunch is a multi-directional conduit: it translates from the private space into a public one; it then moves, deeper, into the body that carries it all back home again.

Lunch, who came The eight artists in Bag Lunch, together first in a coincidental way, all working, studying and making do in Austin during the time of the pandemic, come together again for their exhibition in Braddock. In this context, further serendipitous relationships between them become clear. There is a way of working here that is not dissimilar to the process just described: searching around, starting with one thing, perhaps for no other reason than that an object or image happens to be before you, then adding and subtracting until you get somewhere else—pushing, pulling and projecting to a place where different relationships and meanings will be possible, where accidents will become intentional. That thing might be a scene, as when Anna Teiche stretches the forms and colors of encountered landscapes until they vibrate and sing an un-natural music. Or the effect of the accumulation of delicate moments Jones found across the photographs of Helen Jones, who deftly locates that which is just tenderly, achingly visible in its precarity. Brendan Shea traverses images and references virtually, starting with a search term—“hermit crab,” say—in order to find stems of things to paint together,

eventually leaving the seams of actuality and artificiality, sense and non-se nse, a bit loose. One might begin with a process: Joy Scanlon started out painting on paper, and the n turned to handmaking it, building crisp, ripplin g compositions that resemble quilts and blankets hovering stiffly on the wall in deep, dyed-in-thewool chroma. Emma Rossoff gives new skins to thi ngs, applying aper clay and textiles to found and fabricated objects. She builds suggestive snippets , defamiliarizing common objects in ways tha t inevitably bid connection and signification.


And what n o w ? These a to ask this rtists questi

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