Installation

Installation

Vignette: Jada Lynn Dixon

“Clothesline Spirit” by Jada Lynn Dixon, Mixed Media, 26x12in, 2019, $300

“Clothesline Spirit” by Jada Lynn Dixon, Mixed Media, 26x12in, 2019, $300

It may oversimplify to consider that so much of what adult artists search for is a rediscovery of the simple, pure artistic expression of childhood; to clear away the responsibilities of family, employment, debt and other impediments of adulthood. In her most recent Artist’s Statement Jada Lynn Dixon connects her practice to her childhood experiences with great deliberation:

“I have a longstanding fascination with the idea of  ‘Safe Spaces.’ There are many different definitions for this title, frequently personal, and can shield an individual from an emotional trigger. Other people may consider it a public space to receive help. As for myself, my grandmother and her creativity defined my version of a ‘Safe Space.’ I grew up in a very volatile environment, but fortunately had a devoted mother who tried her best to compensate. My Granny was a source of comfort. She was not an artist in the traditional sense, but crafted a series of pillow forts, clothesline tents, and shoebox dollhouses that occupied me for hours. These spaces kept me safe from anger, sadness, and uncertainty. I would watch eagerly as Granny took a simple cardboard shoebox and turned the bottom into a dollhouse with furniture created from the lid. I’d escape with it to a tent made from sheets on her clothesline, and exist safe in a created world for hours.”

“Little Sanctuary” by Jada Lynn Dixon, Mixed Media, 16x12in, 2018, $150

“Little Sanctuary” by Jada Lynn Dixon, Mixed Media, 16x12in, 2018, $150

“Today my adult self enjoys ‘Safe Spaces’ in my artwork. I use wooden boxes, large canvases, cast resin pieces, clay, and found objects instead of shoeboxes and sheets to make meditative areas. My recent work incorporates a peaceful palette of pale blues, yellows and greens. Natural elements appear reclusively in many of my pieces, such as leaves, small branches, moss, and crystals. These reference the settings I enjoyed with my shoebox dollhouse, and it’s adornments. I work in a space created long ago, an emotional area originated by my grandmother, and perpetuated by materials and symbols that I associate with safety and happiness. It is my hope and intention that my viewers will find a moment of comfort and sanctuary in my pieces.“   

Selected Exhibitions:

2018 Safe Spaces Dual Exhibit – Art Sanctuary, Louisville, KY
2018 Lexington Art League: PRHBTN 2018 – The Loudoun House, Lexington, KY
2018 Art at the Old Capitol (Juried) Featured Gallery Artist – Corydon, IN
2018 Cosmic Revelation LAG Annual Exhibit – KORE Gallery, Louisville, KY
2017 Funny Little Things Solo Art Exhibit - Day’s Espresso, Louisville, KY 2017 Art at the Old Capitol (Juried) Featured Gallery Artist – Corydon, IN
2016 Scars Group Exhibit – Tim Faulkner Gallery, Louisville, KY
2016 Trees Are Poems Group Invitational Exhibit - Cook Studio and Gallery, Louisville, KY 

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Education: Currently attending Kentucky College of Art + Design (KyCAD) for a BFA in Studio Art
Instagram: @jynnart

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“Cloud Birds” by Jada Lynn Dixon, Mixed Media, 26x12in, 2019, $350

“Cloud Birds” by Jada Lynn Dixon, Mixed Media, 26x12in, 2019, $350

“Luna Memory” by Jada Lynn Dixon, Mixed Media, 12x8in, 2018, $125

“Luna Memory” by Jada Lynn Dixon, Mixed Media, 12x8in, 2018, $125

“Back Yard Spirit” by Jada Lynn Dixon, Mixed Media, 30x16in, 2019, $300

“Back Yard Spirit” by Jada Lynn Dixon, Mixed Media, 30x16in, 2019, $300


Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2018 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved. In addition to his work at the LVA, Keith is also the Managing Editor of a website, Arts-Louisville.com, which covers local visual arts, theatre, and music in Louisville.

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Installation

Vignette: Amalia Galdona Broche

“Knotty Mountains Installation” by Amalia Galdona Broche, Fiber, 2019

“Knotty Mountains Installation” by Amalia Galdona Broche, Fiber, 2019

Amalia Galdona Broche describes herself as, “Living in a cultural in-between.” Born in Cuba, she has lived in the United States for the last 10 years. Now 25, her time in America frames the “coming-of-age” period that is often the most formative time in the identity of an artist.

“I am interested in the relationship between nature and nurture and how our surroundings shape character and identity,” she explains. “Through the process of collecting, tearing, breaking, joining, weaving, knotting and assembling, I mimic my journey through life, constantly adapting to the experiences, places and people around me.” 

“TheScream” by Amalia Galdona Broche, Fiber and pins, 40x15x15in, 2018

“TheScream” by Amalia Galdona Broche, Fiber and pins, 40x15x15in, 2018

“I use the cyanotype photo process to capture and present, in an abstracted manner, the way in which our environment imprints onto our identity. Currently, I explore figures through form, material, and surface treatment. The assemblage of woven structures with or created with discarded textiles creates a rich surface texture that is sometimes further altered through photo processes. By referencing the syncretizing of religious and cultural beliefs, as well as Spanish and Afro-Cuban culture in my work, I deal with the intricacies of the building and development of my own character as a product of colonization and appropriation.”

Broche’s use of the word syncretize in her statement is key. The Oxford Dictionary defines it as the ‘Attempt to amalgamate or reconcile (differing things, especially religious beliefs, cultural elements, or schools of thought),’ and the resulting tension in the work is palpable. The forms that are suggestive of human figures are colorful and vital, imbued with life and energy yet also not as open as they might be, their full identity occluded among the layers of material (“The Scream”). The more abstract constructions build atmosphere and context with the same air of muffled expression, curtains capturing a festive quality but also allowing some degree of barricade .

It may not be wrong to see a commentary of the American propensity for cultural approbation at work here, yet Broche’s statement also reinforces her own accountability in this exploration of identity.

“I find this creative process to be a meditative dance of making and building, using art and craft and their history to continue a conversation about otherness, feminism, and the global south.”  

Recent Exhibitions:

2019 Of Problems and Some Other Knots, Locker 666, Lamar Dodd School of Art, University of Georgia, GA
2018 Nurtured Nature, Glass Gallery, Lamar Dodd School of Art, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
2017 The Art of Structure, Still Point Arts, Virtual Gallery

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Hometown: Santa Clara, Cuba
Education: MFA candidate, University of Kentucky, 2021
BFA, with a concentration in Sculpture, Jacksonville University, 2016; BA, with a concentration in Art History, Jacksonville University, 2016, Departmental Honors in Art, Minor: Business Administration
Website: amaliagaldonabroche.com
Instagram: agaldonab

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“Sisters My Lady of Charity (left) and Our Lady of Regla (right)” by Amalia Galdona Broche, Fiber installation, 58x40x25in / 50x20x20in, 2018

“Sisters My Lady of Charity (left) and Our Lady of Regla (right)” by Amalia Galdona Broche, Fiber installation, 58x40x25in / 50x20x20in, 2018

“Sisters Our Lady of Regla” by Amalia Galdona Broche, Fiber installation, 50x20x20in, 2018

“Sisters Our Lady of Regla” by Amalia Galdona Broche, Fiber installation, 50x20x20in, 2018

“Knots in the Times of Trouble. Amalia Galdona Broche, Fiber and wire, 70x30x30in, 2019

“Knots in the Times of Trouble. Amalia Galdona Broche, Fiber and wire, 70x30x30in, 2019

Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2018 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved. In addition to his work at the LVA, Keith is also the Managing Editor of a website, Arts-Louisville.com, which covers local visual arts, theatre, and music in Louisville.

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Installation

Vignette: Tammy Burke

Tammy Burke inside Navy and orange personal enclosure

Tammy Burke inside Navy and orange personal enclosure

Tammy Burke is a multi-disciplinary artist working on her MFA through the Hite Institute for Art at the University of Louisville. Her history shows a good deal of installation and performance work, and here she shows us a concentration on the tactile as well as visual textures of fabric in recent sculptural pieces. In her statement she explicates her unique take on materialism:

“We use materials to psychologically or physically transform us every day, to conduct daily living, by believing in them to catapult us to higher moments, and by designing an identity. I create constructions that comment on and respond to humans’ sometimes irrational, but deeply seated relationships to things, how people use things and materials to generate and reinforce meaning, to project beliefs and identities, and how fragile but potent that dependency is.”

"Marbled enclosure" by Tammy Burke, umbrella frames, fabric, paint, LED candles, blacklight, paper hand fans, ink, table, exotic plant, black light, 2017

"Marbled enclosure" by Tammy Burke, umbrella frames, fabric, paint, LED candles, blacklight, paper hand fans, ink, table, exotic plant, black light, 2017

“Possessions project meaning and construct identities. The body is a charged vehicle, unequally distributed, and the bearer of our intentions, delivering coded messages through possessions: adornments, positions, companions, vehicles, and domiciles. Regarding this, Russell Belk summarized Sartre: ‘the only reason we want to have something is to enlarge our sense of self, and the only way we can know who we are is by observing what we have.’* Possessions act to amplify, mask, or create the self. They describe and extend the self and have the power to transform a believer. Identity is a territory, which can be acquired or at least pantomimed through possessions and performance.”

“Materials embody beliefs and facilitate sacred acts. Rituals, among life’s daily routines, are intentional simulations in which the outcomes may not be certain, but desired and envisioned. The ritual process may be the totality of the experience, but through ritual simulation we manufacture transcendence. For the faithful participant, objects and materials used to carry out, or that are produced through rituals become cathected.”

“Cathexis involves the charging of an object, or idea with emotional energy by the individual. They retain residues of the encounter in the mind of the participant. The simulation hallows the materials as well as the faithful.”

“I provide sensory experiences through seductive constructions. They may be exotic spaces, imagery, and materials, or commonplace things thinly veiled with pageantry. These objects provide an opportunity to experience cathexis. In turn, the viewer-participant’s engagement cathects these objects and materials, a transformative process for the construction, just as the encounter may be for the visitor. The materials are the message, and momentarily, they deliver something greater than their parts. Momentarily, they look divine. For a moment they enable a transformation.”

"Tall black personal enclosure" by Tammy Burke, umbrella frame, wood, gold leaf, sequined fabric, 48x82in, 2018

"Tall black personal enclosure" by Tammy Burke, umbrella frame, wood, gold leaf, sequined fabric, 48x82in, 2018

Burke has kept a busy exhibition schedule while working on her MFA, most recently mounting an installation concurrent with the run of Eurydice, at the U of L Thrust Theater in January, and participating in the Artlink Regional Exhibition, Artlink Contemporary Gallery, Fort Wayne, IN, January through March of this year.

Hometown: Jeffersonville, Indiana
Education: MFA Candidate, Hite Art Institute; MA Media Communications, Webster University; BFA Painting, Herron School of Art, IUPUI
Website: tammymburke.com

Belk, Russell W. “Possessions and the Extended Self”. Journal of Consumer Research, 15 No. 2 (1988), pp. 139-168. New York: Oxford University Press. http://www.jstor.org/stable/2489522.

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"Tall black personal enclosure" (detail) by Tammy Burke, umbrella frame, wood, gold leaf, sequined fabric, 48x82in, 2018

"Tall black personal enclosure" (detail) by Tammy Burke, umbrella frame, wood, gold leaf, sequined fabric, 48x82in, 2018

"Exponential" by Tammy Burke, cardboard boxes, sequin tarp, 9x12x8ft, 2018

"Exponential" by Tammy Burke, cardboard boxes, sequin tarp, 9x12x8ft, 2018

"Big Dumb" by Tammy Burke, wood, cardboard, spandex, zippers, 62in diameter, 2017

"Big Dumb" by Tammy Burke, wood, cardboard, spandex, zippers, 62in diameter, 2017

"Navy and orange personal enclosure" by Tammy Burke, umbrella frame, wood, gold leaf, synthetic fabrics, 56x56in, 2018

"Navy and orange personal enclosure" by Tammy Burke, umbrella frame, wood, gold leaf, synthetic fabrics, 56x56in, 2018


Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2018 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

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Interdisciplinary, Installation

Vignette: Shane Smith

   "Ed Reimann Visitation" by Shane Smith, Windows & mirrors & projector & screen & fake flowers & paint on wood, 12x24x16ft, 2016, NFS

 

"Ed Reimann Visitation" by Shane Smith, Windows & mirrors & projector & screen & fake flowers & paint on wood, 12x24x16ft, 2016, NFS

It is a misnomer that visual artists are less articulate, that a talent for expressing themselves in visual terms somehow comes at a price: the inability to verbally engage intellectually or socially. It is as hoary a cliché as the notion that great art comes from madness – Van Gogh, or that Monet painted as he did because of his failing eyesight.

So when Shane Smith offers the following as his most recent artist’s statement:

Preachin' to the choir,
just a liar vyin'
for retention.

"Learning Curve" by Shane Smith, Chair and table and bed slats and nails, 17x3x5 ft, 2016, NFS

"Learning Curve" by Shane Smith, Chair and table and bed slats and nails, 17x3x5 ft, 2016, NFS

We should take care to assume he has no more to say. In a 2017 interview with Not Random Art, the Interdisciplinary Artist refers to his own mental health issues as, “…more helpful than hindrance…but really, this, film and design are what help form my aesthetics.” Smith has a lot he can say about his work, beginning with this honest appraisal of where it comes from.

Smith’s work is rustic and playful, polished and serious. “Learning Curve” suggests that we should climb the ladder, but it also feels as if you might be positioned at the bottom of a roller coaster. Are we to think that getting ahead in life puts us at risk at being crushed by the weight of responsibility? In the installation entitled “Ed Reimann Visitation” we encounter a tableau that touches upon themes of mortality and remove through media that reach beyond the deceptively simple yet highly evocative objects placed before us.

The Wilmore, Kentucky native has recently returned to Kentucky after several years in Pennsylvania, and in 2017 exhibited at Pilot Projects and AUTOMAT in Philadelphia, and the Petzel Gallery in NYC. 

The artist in the basement.

The artist in the basement.

Hometown: Wilmore, Kentucky
Education: BA, Asbury University/NYCAMS
(New York Center for Art and Media Studies); 
MFA-PAFA (Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts)
Website: www.shaneallansmith.com
Instagram: @shane.smith.art

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"Pretty Pretty" by Shane Smith, Paint on socks and five pocket organizer, 1x2.5ft, 2017

"Pretty Pretty" by Shane Smith, Paint on socks and five pocket organizer, 1x2.5ft, 2017

"Caskpit" by Shane Smith, Paint on wood on wood, 8x3.5x3.5ft, 2016, NFS

"Caskpit" by Shane Smith, Paint on wood on wood, 8x3.5x3.5ft, 2016, NFS

"This Ain't Water" by Shane Smith, Paint on colander, jug, hose spray nosel, funnel, 3x1.5x1.5 ft, 2017, NFS

"This Ain't Water" by Shane Smith, Paint on colander, jug, hose spray nosel, funnel, 3x1.5x1.5 ft, 2017, NFS

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Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2018 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved

Installation

Feature: Vinhay Keo's Confront at Moremen Moloney Gallery

On March 1, 2018, Louisville Visual Art Honors The Stars Among Us, a luncheon event which will recognize artists and patrons in four categories:

Vinhay Keo - Rising Star Award - In Memory of Bob Thompson
Wilma Bethel - Visual Art Educator Award - In Memory of Anna Huddleston
Porter Watkins - Benefactor of the Year Award - In Memory of Charlotte Price
Elmer Lucille Allen - Legacy Award - In Memory of Julius Friedman

This review, reprinted with permission, discusses Vinhay Keo's fall 2017 solo exhibit in Louisville. 

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Confront – Vinhay Keo

Moremen Moloney Gallery
September 15 – October 14, 2017

Review by Keith Waits. Originally published by Arts-Louisville in October 2017.

Entire contents copyright © 2017 Keith Waits. All rights reserved.

Louisville has a thriving visual arts scene, but it lacks a meaningful representation of installation work with the artist’s personal involvement. It happens in other cities, but most exhibition spaces here tend to traffic in fairly traditional presentations. Academic galleries tend to come closest to fulfilling this need, but even they offer such programming intermittently.

Vinhay Keo is only a little more than a year out of the BFA program at Kentucky College of Art + Design at Spalding University (KyCAD), and Moremen Moloney Contemporary Gallery is hosting his first solo exhibition, Confront. The Cambodian-born artist here follows up on his work from the school’s 2016 BFA exhibit, some of which is included here.

Like many artists at this age, Keo is preoccupied with identity. His experience of moving to Bowling Green Kentucky and searching for a place in a smaller American community is realized through a monochromatic aesthetic in which the artist is continually surrounded, nay, overwhelmed by the color white. The Moremen Moloney environs, a renovated home, provide an interesting format by forcing the elements into individual rooms. Keo himself stands in the center of the first room on the left, motionless and silent, naked from the waist up, his lower half wrapped in white fabric and his neck adorned with a stiff white collar from which emerges a long white tie. The tie transitions from broadcloth to a twisted cord that reaches out of the room, across the hall and into the opposite room, where it disappears into an enormous, multi-peaked mound of confetti that is, of course, white.

The hallway displays photographic images printed on aluminum, five of which are specifically created for Confront, and several others that are from his time at KyCAD and the BFA exhibit. In the live installation, Keo’s brown skin is rich and warm in contrast to all of the white. The interior décor is analogous to the austerity of Keo’s imagery, and he has dusted his natural skin tone with white powder on his shoulders.

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In the photographs, Keo is mostly covered in white make-up, even graying his black hair, or wearing white clothes. His mouth emits viscous white fluid filled with suggestiveness, and in the most striking picture, he appears to vomit a profusion of confetti.

We can draw from all of this that Keo has spent an inordinate amount of time and energy trying to fit into a Caucasian world and that the effort very likely confused the artist’s own sense of himself, his own individual identity. Subsumed by a culture of Bible-belt social mores and backyard barbecues, and with, what we must presume, was a surfeit of similarly brown-skinned neighbors, what degree of denial and willful ignorance must have colored Keo’s own view of himself?

That quality of isolation is pointedly conveyed in this performance installation, set as it is in a high-end exhibition space that draws a well-to-do, predominantly white audience. As Keo stands, stone-faced, the viewers move around him sipping wine and blithely commenting on the artist and his work as if he weren’t within earshot. Is this a replication of Keo’s early life in Bowling Green? The Cambodian boy as the Other? Not fully a citizen and therefore not deserving of full social embrace? If so, Keo has provocatively forced the viewer to be complicit in realizing his statement.

The expression of his thesis is highly intellectual, but the imagery is emotionally charged. And if one stands in the room with Keo, listening to the self-satisfied chatter surrounding him, it is not difficult to empathize with his position. We might expect an artist coming from this experience to put forth a message of protest; to plant his feet and demand recognition for who they are and not who society forces them to be, but Keo codifies his biography into a savvy recognition of his repression.

This reading is reinforced when we consider that Keo is Gay. While it doesn't seem the most important aspect of Keo's projected alienation, at least not in the context of this installation, he references another level of repression in a covert photographic image in which he blocks the view of his genitals with his hands, his entire body, of course, covered in white.

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Keo has made clear that the overabundance of shredded paper makes reference to the relentless documentation of personal history in the United States. How many bureaucratic forms has Keo filled out in his journey thus far? We are all burdened with such baggage, and it is now a largely digital repository of personal data, but Keo’s paper trail is undoubtedly greater than that of most law-abiding native-born citizens.

As personal as the entire project is, it also strikes a universal chord for all immigrants who come to America as People of Color and/or people for whom English is a second language, and perhaps many others who might not as easily match those descriptions. This positions Confront as one of the more important exhibits of the moment, a commentary that speaks to the chaos in American society, the worth and importance of the immigrant in that chaos, and the very core value of diversity that lies at the heart of the United States of America.

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