Dedicated to covering the visual arts community in Connecticut.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Opening today: It's Getting Hot in Here

The Julian Akus Gallery
Eastern Connecticut State University
Shafer Hall, 83 Windham Street
Willimantic, CT
It's Getting Hot in Here
Curated by Leonie Bradbury and Shana Dumont
of Montserrat College of Art, Beverly, MA
Oct. 23 through Dec. 11, 2008
Opening reception: Thursday, Oct. 23, 4-7 p.m.

Artists include Vaughn Bell, Ellen Driscoll, Niizeki Hiromi, Katie Osediacz, People Powered/Pat Shannon, Yuken Teruya, Rachel Perry Welty

Press Release

This exhibition presents the work of eight artists using recycled materials as media in a subtle commentary on environmental awareness in the context of global warming. They have turned newspapers, bread tags, old paint, tin foil, cardboard tubes, #2 plastic bottles, glassine envelope windows, and fruit stickers as well as other recycled materials into works of art which are both lovely and which remind the viewer of the importance for our planet to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Curators Bradbury and Dumont say, “The common thread in this exhibit is the art’s ability to function as gentle forms of ‘protest’ art, what we interpret as beautifully packaged political statements.”

Vaughn Bell tending her pieces of land before putting them up for adoption in her ongoing "Land For Adoption" performance piece. "My work examines our relationship to the places we inhabit," Bell says. She sees the relationship as a visceral one, a physical and emotional necessity, yet often fraught with difficulty. Fascinated by our need for control, Bell finds both humor and pathos in the encounter.

Here's the land I agreed to care for. After completing the adoption form, the land was turned over to me. I hope I don't kill it.

Katie Osediacz performing "Sentimental T-shirt." According to Osediacz the performance speaks to the complexities and implications of our collective contemporary impulse to live 'greener,' more sustainable lifestyles. She hopes to reveal the dichotomy that exists between our disposable culture--which perpetuates a compulsive cycle of depraved consumerism–and that part of human nature which compels us to hold on to and create ‘sacred’ objects. At the same time, the performance also speaks movingly of the isolated individual's relationship to the larger community.

Pat Shannon in front of her wall installation, "New York Times, 9/8/05." She painstakingly cut out all the advertisements and text, leaving a fragile, wordless grid.

Other pieces (the gallery has a strict no-photographs-allowed-without-permission-of-the-artist policy) included large drawings made out of cut up fruit labels, toilet paper rolls carefully cut into delicately branching trees, room dividers made from pieced-together envelope windows, and a ten-foot bridge made out of reconstituted plastic containers. Besides the pieces of land, quarts of recycled, relabeled paints are up for grabs, too.

In this era of scatter installations and visually parched conceptual projects, curators Leonie Bradbury and Shana Dumont have thoughtfully bucked the trend, showcasing artists who have meticulously and evocatively transformed cast-off and found materials into visually compelling objects and installations.


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