November 6 - December 10, 2017
Reception: Friday, December 8th from 5-7pm
preposition | con·tra | \´kän-trə\
1. : against —used chiefly in the phrase
2. : in opposition or contrast to
It has been more than 55 years since the critic and theorist, Clement Greenberg, wrote his seminal essay “Modernist Painting,” in which he casts forth several arguments in an attempt to “save” painting (and art). While Greenberg may have been using Modernism as a vehicle to argue for a more “pure” art, he was reluctant to connect the avant-garde with a rejection of the past. Greenberg’s unwillingness to commit might be seen as a recognition that, even when pushing the boundaries within a medium, there needs to an awareness of history. In doing so, he constructed an acknowledgement that both artist and medium are by-products of established traditions. Where, however, does that leave us in a Post-Modern, or even a Post-Medium, era?
Many cultural pundits such as Rosalind Krauss, Marshall McLuhan, and W.J.T Mitchell have discussed the relevance of ‘medium’ in various fields. While their verdicts may differ, they each acknowledge that both subject matter and social trends can’t be detached from medium. Instead, a case could be made that artwork is best understood in the context of something other than media and related formal considerations. This exhibition features six artists working freely across media and, frequently, defying traditional classifications. Each artist is engaged in different conceptual pursuits, yet they all find "purity" within their own practice.
Kendell Carter is a conceptual artist that explores identity and social mores within visual culture. Whether he is utilizing shoelaces, graffiti tags, or famous furniture, Carter’s work explores the intersection of art and design. Nicole Cherubini is a ceramicist whose work pushes into the realm of both installation and painting, while still embracing the history of pottery. Her work champions traditional formats such as the vessel or relief sculpture, but also challenges the boundaries between craft and fine art. Mariah Robertson is a photographer who, paradoxically, works without a camera. While embracing traditional photographic material (photo paper, chemical developers, etc.), Robertson creates photographs that are often seen as doppelgängers for paintings.
Erin Shirreff deftly uses photography, sculpture, and video to interrogate the relationship between an object and it’s representation. For example, her lens-based work often explores the capacity to which a photograph or video can convey a sculptural experience. Jessica Stockholder utilizes a wide-range of seemingly mundane objects to create sculptural installations. Through the incorporation of materials culled from the everyday, she is able to address numerous artistic traditions including abstract expressionism, minimalism, and color field painting. Molly Zuckerman-Hartung is a writer and artist whose deep engagement with process, material, and paintings is undeniable. Yet her work evokes a punk spirit that constantly challenges the mainstream while clinging to painterly values. Regardless of the substrate, Zuckerman-Hartung explores what is possible when paint is employed with equal parts rigor and audacity.
Marc Mitchell / Curator
Jessica Stockholder, [JS 453], 2007. Vinyl, cloth, carpet, sheet aluminum, chicken wire, hardware, plastic coated cable, plastic parts, snap shots, plexi-glass, acrylic and oil paint, plastic zip ties, table base. 94 x 53 x 26 inches. © Jessica Stockholder. Courtesy of the artist and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York.
Molly Zuckerman-Hartung, Adulterate, 2013. Acrylic, bleach, enamel, latex, and paper collage on cut, draped, and sewn cloth and canvas; oil and spray paint on two leaning canvases; found objects. 95 x 167 x 12 inches (hanging). Photo: Tom Van Eynde. Courtesy of the artist and Corbett vs. Dempsey, Chicago
Erin Shirreff, Relief (no. 4), 2015. Archival pigment print. 72 x 42 inches, with fold. Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York
Kendell Carter, Mark, 2006-07, 14 c. gold plated brass and clothing item. 13 x 29 x 1/4 inches. Courtesy the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago
Nicole Cherubini, P. Pot #1, 2017. Brown earthenware, earthenware, glaze, grog, pc-11. 53 x 18 x 23 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Zevitas Marcus, Los Angeles
Mariah Roberston, 113, 2012. Unique color print on metallic paper. 30 x 1968 inches. Courtesy of the artist and M+B, Los Angeles