Display Cases in the Great Hall

Drawings by Benjamin Cottam
March 21, 2015 - April 30, 2015

COLLATERAL DAMAGE


Benjamin Cottam’s drawings have the vaporous quality of plumes of smoke, captured against a fine and delicate azure sky. Using techniques favored by many artists of the 18th century, Cottam excerpts images taken from the headlines or news snippets, and converts them into riveting and intense studies. Delicately rendered in white crayon against a blue page, they are silky threads of memory. Recording moments of journalism, depicting pieces of people, bodies, and the residual effects of mindless, senseless killing, Cottam draws what is reported on the news. The raw contrast between the pathos of a dead child’s body, and the delicacy of his drawing, speaks to Cottam’s intuitive sense of the historical and tragic record of a life, depicted on a paper so thin that it can fly away, like the soul of the tiny body that lies before us.

Working with images of war, much like Goya, Cottam draws and then scrapes back his images, creating and destroying a layered surface. As a result, many of the drawings have a transparent quality, because of the shimmering white crayon against thinned blue paper. The metalpoint that he uses to scrape away the surface also adds polish and sheen to the skinned paper, and mineral spirits added to the crayon create areas of wash. The technique is about layering and destruction, using methods that reflect an inherent need to remove the creation from its support. Choosing a paper renowned for its luxury, Cottam works on Smythson Featherweight stationery, laid and watermarked, with a soft dove gray-sapphire color. The sheets serve as blue skies to vapors of imagination, with cloud-like and fleeting images.


Case One: Collateral Damage, 1,2,3; Road Marker, 1, 2
Case Two: Drone Strike; Firing Squad; Staged Kill, 1,2,3

Variable, from 6.25 x 6.25 inches (15.88 x 15.88 cm) to
6.25 x 8 inches (15.88 x 20.23 cm);
White crayon on Smythson Featherweight paper.

All Works Courtesy of the Artist and Gasser Grunert GalleryOpen link in new window.
Curated by Lisa A. Banner

Display Cases Exhibition Archive

William Hempel
February 14th, 2015 - March 21st, 2015

DIRTY WORDS: LOVE LETTERS

William Hempel When William Hempel returned to New York after seven years living abroad, he was struck by the casual and constant use of insults. This series of paintings emerged from his experience of language, and its permutations, as the artist experienced harsh words in common parlance, called out loud on streets among friends and strangers every day in public and private in the City.

Each small painting has the same dimensions. The panel depths vary, implying the hurt of the words, how deeply they penetrate as they are uttered. Contained on the handcrafted wooden panel is a single word, appearing in the top register of a two-color field, lovingly painted with stencil. Read more >

TR ERICSSON
January 7th, 2015 - February 13th, 2015

LUCIFER’S KISS: Photograms by TR ERICSSON

TR EricssonLucifer was the Latin name given to the brightest star in the ancient Roman sky, the light we now identify with the planet Venus. The first light in the night sky, it is often seen low on the horizon just after sunset. Ericsson plays with the subsequent interpretation of Lucifer as the favored angel who falls from grace, becoming identified with forces of darkness. In these photograms, Lucifer brings light to the paper, revealing a woman’s form, fashioning her contours against glossy black.

Playing with light and dark, edges and shadows, Ericsson manipulates both muse and medium to create a sensuous and luminous image. Read more >

Beatrice Pediconi
October 6th, 2014 - January 6th, 2015

EPHEMERAL PIGMENTS: Polaroids by Beatrice Pediconi

Beatrice Pediconi

Beatrice Pediconi's Ephemeral Pigments is a series of polaroids of paintings on water, documenting her spirit moving over the liquid tableau. Using a different medium each time, sometimes paint, sometimes egg, sometimes pigment and oils, she circulates images into a basin of water, dropping viscous liquids into a receptive tray filled with water, coloring the movement and ripples on the surface, with these intense and delicious substances. At times they are suspended like a meniscus on the surface, at times they form shapes, and then dissolve, trailing tails behind.

The movement of the artist's hand over the water, her gesture, is recorded in the three poetic series of polaroids. Read more >

Michael Kirk
August 8th - October 6th, 2014

NORWAY: Small works on Paper

Michael Kirk

Michael Kirk's intimate pastels and watercolors were made on trips he took to Norway. Tender reflections of majestic landscapes, made on site as he traveled through Norway's fjords and mountains, many of the small works later inspired larger paintings and drawings when he returned to his studio. They convey his immediate responses to Norwegian landscape. His own words describe his impressions:

1991. Lofoten, an archipelago within the Artic Circle, mountainous islands reach out into the Norwegian Sea. In late May the “midnight sun” floats along the horizon. Dusk becomes dawn; one day runs into the next. I was working with pastels using my fingers to grind pigment into pigment. This physical act extends my being directly into the paper. The work is not driven by conscious thought, rather by a series of sensations and the rhythm of my hands responding to the moment. Read more >

Dean Dempsey
June 20th to August 8th, 2014

DREAMSEQUENCE FILM STILLS

Dean Dempsey

As a photographer and a filmmaker, Dean Dempsey plays with questions of identity by masking his figures, removing them from our gaze with layers and adornment, or by placing them into carefully arranged tableaus that reveal a multiplicity of meanings.

In his film Dreamsequence, women are posed in diferent rooms that suggest a dramatic stage set. One kneels on the floor in an empty room filling with balloons that drop randomly from the ceiling, and later sits in a chair, lifting her face to a shower of golden glitter raining down upon her skin. The other perches on a chair in a bay window, naked except for the paint on her face, and the tulle enveloping her lower limbs. She moves without speaking, holding a bird in a cage. In the close ups of their faces shown here, they appear as though they are remembered from a dream. Read more >

Eliana Pérez
May 4, 2014 - June 16, 2014

HUNTED: Gouache Drawings by Eliana Pérez

Eliana Perez Domestic intranquilities form the subjects of this series of gouache drawings by Colombian artist Eliana Pérez, executed as a continuous numbered series with point of brush on deckled edge paper. Animals inhabit an interior and domestic landscape, coming to life and interacting with their environment. A group of branches in a vase waves cautiously as if bent by wind toward an unseen place, breaking into pieces and wispy fragments for no apparent reason. A slipcover begins to growl as if ready for attack. A hidden dragon slithers to life in the folds of a drapery, leaving fire in its wake. An archer shoots at a trophy stag from the comfort of his decorative pose on an ovoid telephone table. A flock of birds twitter against the back of a sofa. A living room is submerged in standing water, colorless, and linear. A blue mattress, its coils exposed, floats away on an ocean of coiled lines. The images form a personal narrative of disquiet. Read more >

Jongil Ma
March 24, 2014 - May 3, 2014

WOLF: Constructions in Wood and Mirror by Jongil Ma

Timothy Hawkesworth

Jongil Ma is intrigued by the delicate social relationships between friends and inside social groups. As an immigrant to the United States from Korea in 1996, his continued fascination with these interactions has led him to create an art practice that embraces sculpture and installation to create interactive spaces. Working in both large-scale monumental sculpture and intimate conceptual pieces, he brings sensitivity and power to his work. Because he wants to break through the confining divisions between audience and artist, he asks a wide range of participants to bring their own concerns to transform his pieces. Read more >

Timothy Hawkesworth
February 1, 2014 - March 17, 2014

Wishes: Horses

Timothy Hawkesworth

Horses are powerful, atavistic creatures, symbols of freedom, speed, and sensitive response. This exhibition of horse drawings spans two important dates connected to the imagery of Irish painter Timothy Hawkesworth: 1 February 2014 marks the beginning of the Year of the Horse, the seventh sign of the Chinese zodiac and an auspicious year recognizing the power and primal nature of the horse. The end date of the exhibition, 17 March marks Saint Patrick’s Day, named for the patron saint of Ireland, where Timothy Hawkesworth grew up on a farm and began his relationship with horses.

Hawkesworth’s horses are energetic and rapidly drawn with graphite over wax and paint on paper, moving from right to left, galloping, rearing, and walking with heads bowed, raised or thrown back in restless movement. Evoking the animal nature with figurative representations, like Susan Rothenberg’s horses from the 1970s, Hawkesworth infuses a personal vision in these drawings, and taps into a source of infinite fascination: domesticated animals that retain a wild and untamed spirit. Read more >

Christopher Smith
November, 2013- January 17th, 2014

Alabaster and Albacore

Christopher Smith

Christopher Smith's Alabaster and Albacore is a series of lush and velvety photographic prints, showing proposed video installations in the interiors of recognizable landmarks and public spaces, including the James B. Duke House.  In this body of work Smith engages themes of transience and permanence, movement and color, nature and displacement. 

Taking elements of color and bubbles from his ongoing "Painter Project," Smith transforms them, draping them over the railings of staircases, suspending them from the skylights and floating them across the floor toward the viewer.  Using techniques attuned classic films like as director Carol Reed’s “Odd Man Out (1947, Two Cities film), Jean-Luc Godard’s “Two or Three Things I Know About Her,” (1967, Argos Films), or Martin Scorsese’s 1976 classic, “Taxi Driver,” Smith hones in on the bubbles floating in front of the camera as visual metaphors for the transience of life, the fragility of the moment. Read more >

The inaugural exhibition:

William Smith
September 15th - October 31st

Flowers of the Sky

William SmithFlowers of the Sky is a series of life-size botanical paintings on the folios of an 18th century astronomy text, dismantled and then reassembled into an accordion-fold artist book. The transformation of the text of James Ferguson's Astronomy Explained upon Sir Isaac Newton’s Principles (1799) began in response to a Victorian astronomy book entitled Flowers of the Sky in the archive of the John Work Garrett Library at Johns Hopkins University.

As the artist describes, the fluid yet tenuous painting on the book pages is analogous to a fragile web or distant constellation. For Smith, flowers are symbols of our selves and of nature, as well as a metaphor for the machinations of the universe. Implicitly, book folios serve as multivalent supports for the painted leaves and flowers that adorn them with color and design imposed over printed words. Read more >

Upcoming Event

April 13, 2015, 5:30 – 6:30 PM
"Conceptual Space: Artist Installations in the Display Cases"
A Conversation with TR Ericsson, Dean Dempsey, Jongil Ma, Christopher Smith
Moderated by Curator Lisa A. Banner
Introduced by Linda Mai Green, IFA Student
By invitation only.

Display Cases Artists in the News

TR Ericsson is featured in the Huffington Post. "The 21 Art Exhibitions You'll Be Talking Bout This Year"Open link in new window looks forward to Ericsson's upcoming show at the Cleveland Art MuseumOpen link in new window.

Beatrice Pediconi exhibition on view at the Maison ParticulièreOpen link in new window in Brussels.