Space + Land at FOCA

Chelsea Dean. Space + Land. Fellows of Contemporary Art. Photo Credit Kristine Schomaker

Space + Land

Fellows of Contemporary Art

Chelsea Dean / Susan Feldman / Susan Logoreci / Aili Schmeltz Curated by Chelsea Dean

August 25 – November 2, 2018

 

By Lorraine Heitzman

The four artists participating in the Fellows of Contemporary Art’s Curators Lab Exhibition are like members of any good band; each one embodies a different characteristic that contributes to the success and appeal of the whole. Chelsea Dean has curated a show that focuses on our local, built environment through different perspectives, her own, as well as those belonging to Susan Feldman, Susan Logoreci and Aili Schmeltz. The cardinal elements that constitute the artists’ work are Feldman’s tactile earthiness, Schmeltz’s austere and conceptual approach, Dean’s delicate desolation and Logoreci’s kaleidoscopic geometry. Seen together, Space + Land suggests myriad ways to perceive the landscape and architecture that impact our lives. From the quiet and poetic to the vivid and intellectual, the differences make for an engaging and complete experience.

Chelsea Dean. Space + Land. Fellows of Contemporary Art. Photo Courtesy of the artist

Dean has included several of her mixed media works that employ photographs, monotypes, found objects, decorative papers, watercolors and graphite. These, like many of her other paintings reveal the human imprint on the California desert. She has an eye for abandoned structures, the forlorn and forgotten buildings that litter the otherwise empty landscapes. Contrary to the gritty circumstances and time worn materials that she encounters, she reinvents her subjects with finesse and in doing so, elevates the melancholy scenes to a meditation about loss, isolation and the temporal nature of man-made habitats.

Susan Feldman. Space + Land. Fellows of Contemporary Art. Photo Credit Lorraine Heitzman

Feldman’s freestanding sculpture, Flat, like all her work, is as rugged as Dean’s work is refined. Using small wood scraps and twine, she knits together her disparate pieces into a unified assemblage, while each element maintains its autonomy. The work exudes the rough energy of their crazy quilt fabrication, and in the manner of a crazy quilt, they delight in their complexity. This is not the studied construction of a Nevelson, but a testament to the joy of building and making connections between structures and materials through transparencies, photographs, and scribbles. In both her floor and wall pieces, Feldman’s crude construction methods are integral to her work, as if the frenzied assemblages themselves would not tolerate a more exacting, subtle style.

Aili Schemltz. Space + Land. Fellows of Contemporary Art. Photo Credit Lorraine Heitzman

Schmeltz has two works on display that question both two and three-dimensional ideas about representation. Cartesian Cube Object Window is an austere steel construction composed of interlocking, open metal grids, suggesting a graph in sculptural form. Devoid of ornamentation, it defines space in the most basic way and implies an architectural space in a purely conceptual manner. It occupies space as a sculpture, but refers to volume as a three- dimensional model of a drawing. Her drawing, though similarly pared down, is a more evocative depiction of the illusion of depth. The void at the center of the piece is alluring, the soft graphite void barely contained by the folded perimeter.

Susan Logoreci. Space + Land. Fellows of Contemporary Art. Photo Courtesy of the artist

Lastly, Logoreci makes drawings that manipulate and confound our perception of urban spaces. She exaggerates the density and energetic pull of cities with underlying patterns that distort and fracture overhead views of housing developments and cities. Her use of colored pencils is painterly and helps make sense of her jumbled shapes. At the same time they instill a softness and surprisingly decorative touch to her work. The resultant drawings are like paper maps that retain their creases even after they are flattened, still helpful to navigate, but increasingly difficult to understand. Logoreci’s superimposed grids and mapping serve less to explain than to emphasize the complexities of our urban sprawl.

Space + Land will be up through November 2, with a special event workshop on Sunday, October 28, 1-4 pm. Contact FOCA for more information.

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