A Chorus of Objects
Curated by Krista Saunders Scenna trans·ac·tion:
“A Chorus of Objects” is a site-specific, group exhibition conceived for SPRING/BREAK Art Show 2015. The exhibition features five mixed-media artists whose work blends public and private negotiations with everyday objects, situations or the seemingly mundane. Each artist’s process involves transactions ranging from the exchange of goods and services to exchanges informed by language or the body. In each instance, the artist’s hand ultimately determines how reciprocal the arrangement (not always with the consent of the other party involved). In the complex realm of their artistic practice, these artists masterfully transact somewhere between the freeing intimacy of the studio and the external encounters of rudimentary life.
A conceptual trickster rooted in everyday life and American history, artist Quay Quinn Wolf both scavenges and consumes mundane materials in order to – literally and figuratively – weave new perceptions of black American identity. A visit to his studio reveals a playful yet poignant interaction of objects ranging from cotton and burlap to R&B albums and styrofoam. His woven pieces are primarily constructed of newspaper or found wood embroidered with synthetic hair typically used for African-American hair types. While he purchases the hair from his local 99 cents store, he also solicits donated materials from his employer, the Museum of Modern Art. All of these unassuming items are spoils from his daily transactions that he then manipulates behind closed doors.
Jennifer Grimyser also creates deeply thoughtful and, at times, humorous installations within the confines of her studio and, in the past year, beyond those confines as well. Like Wolf, Grimyser is rather spare and deliberate in her selection of materials but creates exchanges between her body, familiar objects and fragments of conversation. Her work also prompts an exchange with the viewer who is often compelled to laugh or sigh – as instructed by her installation “Sigh balloons”. In other moments, Jennifer alludes to mysterious transactions. In “Psst,” she creates an installation depicting said command etched into a grass lawn just beyond a fence. In each scenario, the objects don’t have a say and the viewer has no choice but to respond.
a communicative action or activity involving two parties or things that reciprocally
affect or influence each other – Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Painter Amanda Valdez is also engaged with dialogues created in and around the self. Her signature blend of viscous paints dripping across stitched fabric bodies reflects the intimate exchanges that define her process. She engages her full body with each massive canvas – painting, sewing and stretching to conquer it from head to toe. The expressive contours of her shapely compositions are informed, in the moment, by her memories of past physical experiences (floating on a lake, being pressed by another body, and dancing “ecstatically”, for example). While the abstract nature of Valdez’ paintings obscure these transactions, their tasty textures entice viewers to touch, lick and respond to these objects in some way – not unlike the communicative context Grimyser creates for her viewer.
Artist Nyeema Morgan has, quite literally, invited viewers to eat her artwork in her BRIC Arts project, “Forty Seven-Easy Poundcakes Like grandma Use To Make (2007-2012), 2013.” Both enamored and steeped in the quest for knowledge in our information age, Morgan initiated the project with an Internet search of poundcake recipes to compare to her grandmother’s beloved formula. In spite of the potentially daunting experience of the World Wide Web, Morgan discerned that after the first 47 recipes, the subsequent results were merely repetitions. What began as an intimate exchange in the family-oriented, domestic sphere, evolved into a transaction with volunteers who were each asked to bake one of the 47 recipes and then debut it for consumption at the opening reception.
Artist and dancer Simon Courchel perhaps orchestrates the most audacious transaction of the bunch. Armed with his camera and a keen eye towards urban sensitivities, Courchel commandeers the “plein air” studio of the New York City sidewalk to capture spontaneous, intimate moments of strangers in his midst. None of his subjects are aware of his gaze (the artist’s preference) or their leading role in Courchel’s carefully choreographed performance, yet he manages to surreptitiously probe a raw, authentic moment that the viewer can share unapologetically. Despite his physical distance from each “Beautiful Stranger”, the artist silently responds to them by positioning and repositioning himself as he waits “for the precious moment when their body moves into the ideal position on his stage.”