Artists create exhibition where threads converge and they lay bare their commonalities
June 6th 7-9pm
Artists in conversation with
art critic Shana Nys Dambrot
June 18th 7pm
May 16th – July18th
Brand Library & Art Center
1601 West Mountain Street
Glendale, CA 91201
Susan T. Kurland
Curated by Yoram Gil
There is no abstract art. You must always start with something. Afterward you can remove all traces of reality. –Pablo Picasso
Thread is a material and an action. Bare is an adjective and an act of revelation. To follow the thread is to track an idea through different incarnations and across conversations; to thread is to navigate a pathway. As a sewing tool, thread literally stitches disparate parts into new wholes — while baring separates, uncovers, makes naked and clear — bodies, truths, connections. In this exhibition, commonalities are revealed and redrawn among a group of artists who each in their own way pursue the elusive connections between history, nature, identity, depiction, and abstraction.
As the second edition of this group show thread/bare/regroup represents both a continuation and an evolution — a cogent reformulation manifesting a physical reconfiguration. It follows the thread of the same story — but features new work and a new contributor. In January 2014, the artists first gathered their work together and the idea suggested itself like an epiphany. Now there’s fresh intentionality and new temporal and architectural contexts. This edition is all women, which is a coincidence carrying meaning, since these artists’ work frequently engages topics of femininity, power, matrilineage, craft, domestic materials, and generational memory.
For Susan Kurland this dynamic is often expressed through the use of found objects such as her grandmother’s rocking chair, densely wrapped in thread or knitting. She is interested in recycling emotionally imbued materials and attracted to tools of sewing, fabric, labor and textile’s powerful associative memories. Peggy Pownall paints with oils, watercolor and acrylic to treat and transform found materials like sewing patterns and maps, constructing images and installations using stitched thread, paper, canvas, and panel, using stitching and collage as metaphors for the containment of chaos. Janet Neuwalder makes strange, elegant, cosmic, hybrid artifacts of an ethereal apocalypse out of handmade paper, liquid plastic, and porcelain. Her objects and installations constitute a natural history or a cultural anthropology of the present’s own past, revealing patterns of materiality and theoretical phenomena.
Elana Kundell’s raw meditations in slathered paint and charcoal line poke around the divide between the seen and felt, the real and imaginary — but isn’t it all imaginary? Her kaleidoscopic visual dichotomies are responsive to her environment, now shifted toward the architectural/urban from the landscape/geological and embracing the dream logic of geometry and empty planar space, color fields, smoothness, and vertical grounds. Sigrid Orlet’s richly textured mixed media paintings push darkness into light, according to a rhythm of seasonality focusing now on autumn’s decay and winter’s retreat as being as much a part of life and thus as beautiful as spring’s exuberance and summer’s brightness. Her reconfigured installation of tree roots suspended in a small white room glows like a light-box or a chapel — positing death as but a temporary illusion. Nurit Avesar uses paintings on paper as the foundations and physical bases of her palimpsestic mixed media compositions, mapping the psychical terrain of the past-present continuum. The layers of quasi-geological fragments come together like a distressed mosaic. It seems like what memory itself must look like.
These artists make diverse looking work for eclectic reasons, yet frequently employ the same words (intuitive, visceral, remembered, feminine, organic, transformational) and even some of the same non-traditional materials (ceramic, thread, fabric, found objects, text). All brave the shifting sands of the abstraction/representation terrain, and engage with personal/family history, expanding the reach of narrative to include the ambiguous and symbolic — because while formal issues are the language, storytelling is the impulse.
–Shana Nys Dambrot, Los Angeles 2015