- This event has passed.
Living Arrangements: Katie Bell, Julie Green, Alika Cooper and Tom Gregg
September 23, 2011 - November 24, 2011
The artists selected for “Living Arrangements” attempt to make the familiar unfamiliar in order to reveal the hidden qualities of the mundane and uncover the complex nature of our desire for comfort and stability. The works in this exhibition are positioned within the seemingly comfortable territory of the domestic sphere where the everyday is the subject matter as well as the material. Through a collaborative curatorial process four artists were selected whose varied strategies push the backdrop of the everyday to the foreground of our awareness.
Katie Bell’s wall installations appear archeological in their structure. Discarded building materials are layered along with paint to evoke both gestural abstraction and the strata of demolished homes. Bell’s work emanates a sense of immediacy and violence – some of the pieces are literally torn open to reveal their complex structures. The work reminds us that every human construction can easily become a barrier the nature of which is worth examining.
Julie Green’s devastating series entitled, “The Last Supper,” is comprised of nearly five hundred elegant dinner plates hand-painted in nostalgic cobalt blue. The images depict officially documented final meals requested by death-row inmates throughout the country. Twelve of the Missouri plates were chosen for this exhibition. Moving in their simplicity and vulnerability, the plates evoke a longing for ultimate comfort. Green’s work employs familiar decorative Delft-like forms in order to place the viewer face-to-face with the dehumanized subjects turned objects. The deep empathy that the pieces evoke is a rare and needed quality in the contemporary world characterized by the virtual distance and entertainment.
Alika Cooper’s stark gouaches on paper are literal and metaphorical glimpses into the private sphere. Cooper conjures mysterious scenes rendered in muted colors set in ambiguous pictorial spaces. The depicted figures, domestic objects and fragments of landscapes appear more as traces of personal psychodrama than records of direct experience.
Tom Gregg’s still life paintings are formal meditations on the seductiveness and mystery of mundane objects. The quiet tension in Gregg’s still life paintings is heightened by the uncanny arrangements. Gregg’s precision rendering of light, surface, and object, coalesce to elegantly suspend time. These visual metaphors make palpable the fallibility and compacted tension of domestic existence just below their surface. The works’ intimate scale further pulls the viewer into the isolated time and space of the paintings.
The pieces assembled in “Living Arrangements” are rich and layered negotiations with the domestic and the everyday. The work in the show resists the passive absorption into the background of our existence and allows us a rare glimpse at what is often overlooked in the process – ourselves.