Installation

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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Installation

Vignette: Waller Austin

"Waller Austin works with childhood's preeminent medium, the crayon, but the uses to which he puts this pigment are anything but childlike. Waller melts, mixes, pours and burnishes his paintings. His aptitude for representational techniques is expansive, as is his gift for mimicry, so the devices of schoolbook illustration are often uncannily attached to compositions and subjects referencing contemporary art; Pop Parody, if you will." – Buzz Spector

"Prosaic (dis) appearance" by Waller Austin, crayon, gesso, linen, poplar, mylar, stainless steel, 48,648 paper wrappers, 2016-17 (contact for pricing)

"Prosaic (dis) appearance" by Waller Austin, crayon, gesso, linen, poplar, mylar, stainless steel, 48,648 paper wrappers, 2016-17 (contact for pricing)

Interdisciplinary is, arguably, the most crucial term on contemporary visual art, although even that claim underscores the essence of the word, as it points to the persistent breakdown of definitions of cultural disciplines. Today’s art lexicon now includes the designation “creatives” in places of artist, poet, musician, etc., a further reflection of the fluidity that confronts working artists.

Waller Austin uses the phrase to delineate his own artistic identity, connecting to a strain of installation artists that dates back to the early 20th century.

"snowed in" by Waller Austin, crayon, gesso, linen, wood, 12x12in, 2017, $900

"snowed in" by Waller Austin, crayon, gesso, linen, wood, 12x12in, 2017, $900

“All of my art can be summed up as post-conceptual self-portraiture, though it may be difficult for untrained eyes to recognize and/or acknowledge. With a Postmodern attitude, I address challenges of post-colonial times by actively engaging structures of mimicry and hybridity via the appropriation of common themes in contemporary art. I stress that the identity I deliver through art is to be recognized as apocryphal - simultaneously indulgent and self-abasing. Through an interrogation of originality and authenticity, I challenge the viewer to examine their own systems for consideration and interpretation of any prescribed visual language or learned norm.”

“My works incorporate processes of decision making that revolve around play and leisure with a conflation between art history, humor, and mythology. I address an open range of content stemming from an interest in identity, mimicry, and hybridity. As an artist, my goal is to muddy and force a complication of information, and to incite intuitive and inventive thinking within my audience.  Elevating the ‘riff,’ I work almost exclusively with ‘readymades’ in terms of image, esthetic, idea, and process. Exploring notions of ownership, I commandeer screenshots of intellectual property and transform defining information into new tangible objects that bare my unique signature.”

“Paint is simply pigment and binder. Artists have the privilege to choose how to further define these two elements. Over the past three years, I have dedicated much of my studio practice to utilizing Crayola crayon as a both paint and sculpture material. The resulting works occupy a place in the art historical cannons of encaustic painting and wax sculpture. They catalyze a nostalgic phenomenon for older audiences and flatten high and low art, providing understandable access to a younger audience.”

 "eleven (hybrids)" by Waller Austin, crayon, gesso, linen,poplar, 120x72in, 2016, $4600

 "eleven (hybrids)" by Waller Austin, crayon, gesso, linen,poplar, 120x72in, 2016, $4600

There will be a Closing Reception for Waller Austin's current installation at The Tim Faulkner Gallery
Friday, January 26, from 6:00-7:00 pm.

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Education: MFA in interdisciplinary studio arts, Washington University, St. Louis, MO; BFA, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Website: www.walleraustin.com
Instagram: @walleraustin

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"mouth of a gift horse" (installation detail) by Waller Austin,  mixed media. variable dimensions, 2016 (contact for pricing)

"mouth of a gift horse" (installation detail) by Waller Austin,  mixed media. variable dimensions, 2016 (contact for pricing)

 "Superman Ice Cream Paintings" (installation detail) by Waller Austin, mixed media. variable dimensions, 2015-17, $200-$900

 "Superman Ice Cream Paintings" (installation detail) by Waller Austin, mixed media. variable dimensions, 2015-17, $200-$900

"lil homies" by Waller Austin, crayon, gesso, linen, wood 12x12in, 2017, $900

"lil homies" by Waller Austin, crayon, gesso, linen, wood 12x12in, 2017, $900


Entire contents copyright © 2018 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved. 

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Installation, Mixed Media, Painting

Vignette: Lennon Michalski

"Ghost Bike" Installation by Lennon Michalski (2016)

"Ghost Bike" Installation by Lennon Michalski (2016)

In a body of work entitled Ghost Bike, Lennon Michalski explores the relationship between man and machine, expressing a complex array of themes, most importantly, the tyranny of technology and the fragility of the human form.

“Ghost Bike takes a specific look at Motorcycles, considering the uniqueness that describes the machine, the man that chooses to indulge in that machine, and the nature of their relationship,” says Michalski. “The imagery in the series considers motorcycle accidents to represent their dangerous cultural association. I specifically chose the motorcycle, the imagery, and popular icons to reflect my personal engagement with this idea. My grandfather was killed on a motorcycle, and this has largely inspired these pieces in the hopes of bringing attention to the motorcycle to provide an understanding of their own distinctive culture.”

"Wrecked Bike"   by Lennon Michalski, 36 x 48 x 84 in, Honda Motorcycle and paint (2016) |  Photograph by Brian Campbell

"Wrecked Bike" by Lennon Michalski, 36 x 48 x 84 in, Honda Motorcycle and paint (2016) | Photograph by Brian Campbell

Michalski in his studio | Photograph by Adam Brester

Michalski in his studio | Photograph by Adam Brester

“Even when these tragedies strike, society often places blame on the cyclist, for they, have willingly put them selves in harm’s way. Motorcycles are largely considered unsafe and rebellious in the eyes of the public because of the sense of vulnerability and danger associated with motorcycles. In an effort to define the broad spectrum of this machine’s interaction with the human condition, I sought to understand why so many individuals crave to connect with it. I realized that engagement with motorcycles cultivated an undeniable sense of community. Motorcyclists feel passionately about their investment in this machine, creating a strong bond between, not only the machine and its owner, but also everyone who rides. In order to incorporate this idea of community, I created works that also represent this aspect of motorcycle culture. I examine the documentation of a group of cyclists traveling cross-country to pay tribute to the fallen. Rather than viewing the death of the biker as a careless rebel, he is considered a fallen hero, who deserves the greatest of respect. Within the motorcycle community there is boundless devotion, which allows for the machine to act as a tool in eliciting genuine human interaction.”

"Wreck" by Lennon Michalski, 72 x 108 in, water based pigment and mixed medium on canvas (2016)

"Wreck" by Lennon Michalski, 72 x 108 in, water based pigment and mixed medium on canvas (2016)

In his paintings, Michalski often uses his hands directly in applying the medium, building transparent layers that evoke a passage of time. “My paintings are not objects assembled by machines or other individuals; I develop a bond and communicate through the development of each work. This technique is based on a physical language; by pushing the paint with my hands, I am infusing my energy into the gestures. I learn something new from each piece allowing my process to open doors I would have never thought to walk through. Through the creation of digital work, paintings, and sculpture, I hope to bring attention to the motorcyclist so that the sense of community motorcycle culture creates can continue to thrive. The motorcycle acts as a metaphor to represent the motorcyclist himself, with the engine acting as the heart of the individual, and the community. While many have fallen victim to the unpredictability of this machine, it uniquely acts as a tool to cultivate relationships, activate commitment, and instill a sense of community.”

Michalski also just self published a children's book called "How Penguins Save Television," a story that explores what it means for society as it attempts to evolve with the aid of science and innovation. The book engages children with the natural world around them through technological modifications, such as the jetpack.

Since 2008 Michalski has been an Instructor of Digital Media, Drawing, and 2D Design at the University of Kentucky.

Hometown: Lexington, Kentucky
Age: 36
Education: BFA in Painting, Eastern Kentucky University 2004; MFA in Painting and Digital Media, University of Colorado at Boulder, 2006
Website: http://www.lennonmichalski.com

"Stoplights" by Lennon Michalski, 72 x 108 in, water based pigment and mix medium on canvas (2016)

"Stoplights" by Lennon Michalski, 72 x 108 in, water based pigment and mix medium on canvas (2016)

"Heart" by Lennon Michalski, 72 x 108 in, water based pigment and mixed medium on canvas (2016)

"Heart" by Lennon Michalski, 72 x 108 in, water based pigment and mixed medium on canvas (2016)

Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2016 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

Are you interested in being on Artebella?    Click here    to learn more.

Are you interested in being on Artebella? Click here to learn more.