ďRare EarthĒ
Work by: Andy Brayman, Sarah Hearn, Mike Hein, Leigh Martin, Jason Pickleman, Cecelia Phillips, and Amy Ross

May 17th marks the opening of Plug Projectís eleventh exhibition titled, Rare Earth. Rare Earth features work that borrows materials and figures from the natural world to reevaluate the nature of nature and examine the many landscapes we all inhabit. Geodes, lichen, wind and water, fungi and fauna explore the possibilities of symbiosis, the interventions of pollution, and imaginatively refigure the terrestrial through painting, photography and sculpture. Considering human mediation into all of the ecologies we encounter, Rare Earth offers viewers new modes of seeing the world around them.

Andy Brayman is most widely known for his ceramic objects. The creation of those objects includes a daily practice of collecting data. The data documents the environment, everything from the shifts in Kansas City weather to the varying level of the Missouri River, which runs behind his Kansas City, Kansas studio. Brayman received a B.A. in sociology, a B.F.A. in ceramics from the University of Kansas and an M.F.A. in ceramics from the New York State College of Ceramic Art at Alfred University. He is a 2011, Charlotte Street Foundation Visual Artist Award Fellow. In 2005, Brayman founded The Matter Factory, a collaborative workspace thatís part artist studio, part laboratory, and part factory. www.matterfactory.com

Sarah Hearnís work is idea driven by a multitude of scientific theories. ďScience is always transforming our idea about world and the reality in which we live. We live in time where science renders humanity as more and more insignificant.Ē Her lichen installations investigate how humans can collaborate with, understand, and mimic small unassuming forms in nature. Hearn is a native Oklahoman, visual artist, citizen researcher and educator. In 2012, she was selected for a 3-month visiting artist in residence program at Cow House studios in County Wexford, Ireland. Hearn holds a M.F.A. degree in Imaging Arts and Sciences from Rochester Institute of Technology. www.instituteofaquaticresearch.com

Mike Heinís Pop sculptures represent nature through the use of natural and manmade materials. His cartoonish representations of planks of wood and common houseplants are made from materials such as, found wood, MDF, and acrylic. Found foam is also incorporated in much of Heinís work. The foam has been washed ashore from the East River where the chemicals present in the river ate away at it, creating vastly different colors and shapes. Mike Hein obtained his M.F.A. in 2002, from Syracuse University -College of Visual and Performing Arts, and in 1998, he received his B.F.A. from Columbus College of Art and Design. Recently, he has had a solo show at Mulherin Pollard in Brooklyn, New York and been a part of several group shows at ADA gallery in Richmond, VA. www.mike-hein.com

Leigh Martinís fiber installations revolve around the societal deficit of interaction with the natural world. Through the placement of realistic knitted forms in a natural environment, these installations invite viewers to open their eyes to the seemingly mundane, yet wildly complex details in their natural surroundings. In Kansas City, Martin will be installing a site specific installation in the often overlooked alleyway outside of the PLUG Projects gallery. Martin attended Oklahoma State University and graduated in 2007, with a Bachelor of Science in Forestry. She was recently awarded the Curatorís Choice award at the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalitionís Momentum OKC exhibition. www. bromeleighad.blogspot.com

Cecelia Phillips was born and raised in Rochester, NY. She attended the Cleveland Institute of Art where she received her B.F.A. in painting in 2005. Cecelia later moved to Austin, TX to receive her M.F.A. from the University of Texas, which she completed in 2009. She says of painting geodes, ďThey are worlds within themselves, private galaxies of color and space, and I love to paint them.Ē www.celiaphillips.com

Bridging the gap between fine and commercial art, Jason Pickleman has created a body of work both conceptual and popular, applying media as varied as neon, offset printing, silkscreen, collage and photography. The images he is presenting at PLUG Projects are collages utilizing photos cut from fashion magazines. The models have been removed from the magazine pages; leaving only the background. These images portray a landscape of Earth without humans. Picklemanís studio, the JNL graphic design, was begun in 1992, and specializes in the creation of graphic ephemera of unique cultural significance. Pickleman was included in the 2007, exhibition Young Chicago at the Art Institute of Chicago, and his work has subsequently been placed into the museumís permanent collection. www.jnldesign.com

Plug Projects is thrilled to welcome Amy Ross to Kansas City to create a site specific wall painting for Rare Earth. Her painting and collage practice is highly influenced by the hybridization of the natural world. Often in her work she replaces plant and animal parts with the human form. Amy Ross is a Boston-based painter. Prior to attending the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston from 1998 to 2000, she earned a B.A. in Religious Studies from Connecticut College in 1994, and a Masterís in Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School in 1997. www.amyross.com

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