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June 27, 2011

CFEVA Fellows at the Crane

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Alison McMenamin

See the exhibition here

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Giving artists ample space to work and an open theme, Construct, curated by CFEVA director Amie Potsic, is broad enough to encompass the foundation’s diverse roster of fellows. On view at the Crane Icebox, Construct is one of the exhibition opportunities that CFEVA artists received as part of their two-year career development fellowships.
Like her performance video, “Dancing with Divorced Men” from 2008, Allison Kaufman continues to set up situations of forced intimacy with the previously married. In Trust Falls, a series of four videos featuring Kaufman and male divorcees, the artist and one of the men perform the relationship-building exercise. Other tasks include mirroring each other’s actions, attempting to maintain the precarious balance of a hammock, and grooming each other. While the initial videos deliver an awkward humor, the final videos of grooming offer a true feeling of intimacy.
Daniel Kornrumpf’s paintings resemble the work of Alice Neel and share the artist’s interest in expressionism and psychological intensity. Despite being seated, the figures do not seem relaxed, but filled with a sense of anxiety, and bear forlorn expressions.
Using natural materials like rice stalks from the artist’s native Japan, Mami Kato’s sculptures reference organic forms. Her entwined mass “Umbilical Field” seems to grow out of itself, suggesting a perpetual motion or cycle.
Hovering in vacuous landscapes or disjointed from their surroundings, the children and adolescents in Maggie Mills’s paintings seem uneasy in their environment. Many of the figures are plagued by natural forces or placed in situations beyond their control.
Laureen Griffin’s inclusion of modern figures in a black and white tableau questions long held expectations of race and gender. With a mash-up of disparate activities, like wearing sparkly heels while reading the sports page, the work questions ideas of gender roles and identities.
“After the Artifact (Waiting Machine)” from Lewis Colburn provides a space to contemplate Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time. The sculpture’s partially opened door resembles a time-traveling portal, but it only leads to a generic waiting room. For Colburn, the astrophysicist’s seminal text avoids the stereotypical depictions of time-travel in culture and is the greatest source of theoretical knowledge concerning time travel. Also on view is the fifteen foot tall tower, sprawling scroll of paper, and typewriter, which Colburn used during a performance in which he typed excerpts from War and Peace.
Alison Stigora creates an ordered arrangement of charred branches that evokes a mental image of fire. The sculpture’s upright character and the carefully nestled branches suggest a ritualistic burning.
The markings and partitioned sections on Jordan Griska’s oil barrel make the sculpture resemble a grenade and point to an impending danger. The barrel is not air tight with slits along its sides, and the oil inside becomes a hazard to the surrounding environment.
With building materials impaled in a television, Don Edler’s sculpture suggests an environment filled with instability and chaos. Blades of grass are visible under growing stations, bringing to mind an artificial environment where life has difficulty existing.
The other artists on view are Noah Addis, Arden Bendler Browning, Ana B. Hernandez, Tim Portlock, Jennifer Williams, Kimberly Witham, and Bohyun Yoon. With artists exploring a variety of ideas, Construct gives its fellows an opportunity to showcase their diverse talents. The exhibition is open until June 29.
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