June 3 – July 1, 2016
Opening Reception: Fri. June 3, 2016
SOHO20 is pleased to present Crossing, the 2016 exhibition of works by its National Affiliates members, in their first exhibition in SOHO20’s Bushwick gallery space. Crossing features works by artists: B. Amore, Fran Bull, Laura Cloud, Louise Farrell, Gail Hoffman, Elizabeth Michelman, Nelleke Nix, Barb Rehg, Ann Rowles, Georgia Strange, Rosie Thompson, and Virginia Tyler.
Coming together from different parts of the United States for this yearly exhibition, the National Affiliates reflect on the condition of transition, both literally and figuratively. Acknowledging SOHO20’s recent move from Manhattan into Brooklyn, the artists explore the resonance of this leap across a river into a new home. Crossing recognizes the changing currents of a community, the artistic process of the individual, and the artist’s role in the larger world.
Whether traveling forward or backward, in time or in space, the artists explore the processes and experiences of transition. One could regard “crossing” optimistically, as the triumph of navigating new territories, or as a courageous banding together to traverse personal and social boundaries. On the dark side, crossing may imply an individual struggle in the overstepping of boundaries or the anxiety of passing through and beyond this present life. Each artist in Crossing, through her own distinctive practice, considers the facets and nuances of this theme.
B Amore uses found gloves cold cast in bronze to create works that speak to our commonly shared humanity. Glove Globe incorporates sixteen such gloves in a wall relief. Imbued with a sense of history because of how they have been used and worn, each glove has its own individual character, while together creating a whole. She is interested in the irony of taking a lost or discarded object and elevating it to a work of art, truly transforming it, while honoring the life that produced it.
Fran Bull’s cycle of brightly-painted sculptural works, Soul Clap Hands and Sing, is inspired by classical sculpture and the stock characters of Commedia dell’Arte. Bull’s ambiguous scenarios and curious actors invite the viewer to eavesdrop on imaginary conversations intuited by the viewers themselves.
Laura Cloud creates installations involving large sculptural forms and multiple sensory pathways that include sound, smell, and the poetry, voices, words, and cultural records of others. Her interdisciplinary structures play with and deconstruct cultural traditions, stereotypes, and mythologies, including her own personal identification with the name “Cloud.”
Louise Farrell returns her sculptural roots in the classical process of casting in bronze. Always interested in the fecundity of nature and the interconnected cycles of life and death, Farrell continues to explore the female form as a symbolic carrier of these eternal concerns. The cyclical swings of her practice have conjoined figuration and abstraction in a range of processes that has included casting, trompe-l’oeil installation, public art, glazed hand-built ceramic, weaving, encaustic, and direct carving. Farrell here exhibits two related works from earlier and most recent periods: Corner Sentry (1979) along with her latest work, Messengers (2016).
Through narrative, Gail Hoffman continues to develop her visual and metaphorical language, which combines video and sculpture. Using cast bronze, collaged film and animation in small installations, she explores the challenge of remaining centered amidst transition and revision.
Elizabeth Michelman’s multi-media practice embodies sculpture, painting, music, installation, drawing, video and poetry and explores the connections and incompatibilities of different artistic languages and disciplines. The 2-D paintings in colored sign vinyl from her Color Theory Series quote works of the jazz- and language-inspired modernist Stuart Davis, in his transition from early Cubistic and Romantic influences to an engagement with radical politics and popular culture.
Nelleke Nix recently became aware of a changing impulse in her work, both in the visual and literary sense. Perhaps due to the loss of hearing experienced after an accident, Nix’s visual imagery has shifted into a written reality. Nix rarely visits native Holland but flies regularly back and forth cross-country from her Seattle home to the New York studio, reading the changing image of the American terrain down below.
Barbara Rehg presents Woven Earth, part of a series of works dealing with the points where connections meet and cross. The imagery in her work involves a particular preoccupation with the catalyst for self-change. Taking ‘crossing’ as a symbol for vitality and movement, Rehg is interested in what happens internally in the mind to prompt bodily decisions for external action.
Ann Rowles uses the craft of crocheting, learned as a child from her great-grandmother, to challenge the arts/craft hierarchy and celebrate what was previously denigrated as “women’s work.” The topologically complex surfaces of her suspended abstract sculptures, crocheted from mixed fibers and combined with metal and plastic found objects refer to felt experience of the human body, inside and out.
Georgia Strange’s Imaginary Friend (Silence) is one of a series of free-standing portraits in clay and mixed materials combining images of real and imaginary people in contemplation of the specter of death. “It may feel claustrophobic, but somehow this rapid-pulse reflection can result in the embrace of life and re-engagement with the present.”
Rosie G. Thompson’s Little Houses with Skeletons series are painted wood constructions with houses exposing dismembered skeletal remains, suggesting investigations of rites, rituals and practices celebrating the crossing in life, death, and the afterlife. Through these bringing together dissimilar materials and images in her investigations, Thompson’s experience of completion is reached.
Virginia Tyler works with raw and processed natural substances, photographs, cultural artifacts, and found materials in installations exploring the economics of global exploitation of labor, particularly for youth and women, and the tragedy of racism, Her current installation, Prayer for Sandra, is dedicated to Sandra Bland, a young black woman who was arrested, beaten, and found dead in her Texas jail cell last year. A wrongful death suit is pending against the state.