Refusalon Group Show, San Antonio 2000
April 19, 2013
UTSA Sattelite Space Gallery in San Antonio, Texas
This group show of eight artists represented by or affiliated with the Refusalon gallery in San Francisco. The exhibition developed from a desire to present a very, very, strong group of artworks, whose original, uniqueness and independent, individuality curate the show on their own. The art in this exhibition ranges in both media and content – Vegar Abelsnes’ manipulated photography and video, Heather Sparks‘ xerox assisted sculpture, Pip Culbert’s seams, Sam Yates‘ use of death both literally and figuratively – and maintains a consistent dialogue between the visual and the conceptual. This dialogue exists as a seductive transparency of images, objects and materials that will transform into layered propositions. The experience generated by this work will extend curiosity and discovery.
Vegar Abelsnes proposes that you have difficulty in your relationship to authenticity. Contemporary society provides you with many alternatives and mutations of that which is authentic yet present these as originals. In his photographic works, Abelsnes presents you with plausible images as well yet allows you to investigate the subtleties of his intervention. In his mapping pieces he intervenes into the lives of seven people by asking them to track themselves for seven continuous days. The scrutiny of one’s daily path by themselves and by you magnifies one’s movement and place in the physical world. The similarities and differences of the participant’s traces will create patterns of random activity.
Pip Culbert uses the seams of fiber objects to re-trace its original pattern proposing to you an abstract form or shape. Using the essential lines of the original form her pieces are both skeletons and line drawings. Culbert discards the bulk of a pants pocket or a shirt and draws with the pattern’s outlines, insinuating the original object while producing minimal structures. She dissolves the ordinary function of every day items and challenges you with its lack of presence. You will see the essence of a form and you will see an abstraction.
Is ‘what you see, what you see’ or is ‘what you see, what you think you see’? Davina Grunstein proposes this dilemma to you in her work. The mystery in her imagery is really only mysterious in your eyes. In many ways her imagery is quite literal but her choice and presentation creates a quandary – what is actually being seen – are you discovering, uncovering or inventing. Grunstein’s work provokes these ideas scripting you as a protagonist. In her Rorschach influenced wallpaper she presents varying assumed roles of imagery, from passive idleness to psychoanalysis. Your perception will be assumed.
Gay Outlaw’s sculptural pieces are often distinguished by their sense of being alive. Her materials have a limited, if not predictable life span. The artist’s training in French pastry and cuisine has clearly informed her choice of media, puff pastry and caramel. This element of temporality she embraces, the degenerative crumbling, melting, and crystallization that inevitably occur to her work, although, some pieces live longer than others. A single brick of fruitcake remains from Tinned Wall / Dark Matter. The piece was comprised of a sinuous wall made of matte-finished aluminum panel that wrapped around an interior of bricks made of fruitcake. “The use of the fruitcake is loaded with connotations, ranging from Victorian images of decadent consumption to the remnant from a past that has no meaning today”. Yet you will see the construction of that past is preserved both literally and metaphorically.
Tilo Schulz proposed that I write this as a collaborator for this piece. He proposes that you read this text and painting. You will see this exhibition by reading this text and painting. These collaborators enable you to see what you are supposed to see without any provocation; you will see what you read.
Most of you have viewed the skin of an onion under a microscope under the guise of determining its composition. Heather Sparks propositions you to view her composition under the ‘micro-scope’. Sparks “blows herself up” onto clear rolls of plastic. Various sized spots of color populate the material disassociating the origin. The translucent samples – her hair, her breast – are magnified to a degree of anonymity and sterility yet they retain an odd sense of personal intimacy. The playful construction appears like softly coiled colored ribbons and defies their biological premise. Your visual attraction to the work is indirectly an attraction to her personal matter.
Uri Tzaig’s work proposes to you the discontinuity of translation whether in language, perception, memory or knowledge. Working primarily in film/video, print and installation, Tzaig disregards the conventions of the visual narrative and builds layered dichotomies with preconceived conceptions and multiple perspectives. The levels of chaos and entropy within his work decentralize your focus and defer your expectation. Your awareness of these conflicts is further challenged by Tzaig’s consistent use of the ordinary. His work highlights your dependence on determined translations.
Whether or not the idea came first Samuel Yates visually manifests his ideas to epic proportions. Intellectually provocative and visually demanding Yates’ work proposes the impossible and provides you with the physical possibility. One possibility – a 1974 MG Midget, shredded, steamrolled, photographed, bagged, numbered, labeled and filed, in ascending order by descending weight (measured in milligrams – mg), in stacked black file cabinets rising three stories high, titled Minuet in MG -or another possibility, a dead man on canvas. The visual clues from the paraphernalia of this project tell the story of Mr. Koski’s road to the museum via his death, his cremation, his burial, his exhumation and his ashes as a medium. Conceptually and visually you will see Yates’ re-invention of the commemorative art object.
The experience you have of curiosity and discovery extended to you through the work in this exhibition was developed from a dialogue that existed as a seductive transparency of images, objects and materials that were transformed into layered propositions.