For Immediate release:
Shari Mendelson and Paul Baumann
TRANSLATIONS FROM THE UBIQUITOUS LARGESSE
June 5 – July 18, 2010
Reception: June 5, 6-9 pm
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you. (Walt Whitman Song of Myself)
The work in this exhibition revels in a "largesse", drawing upon and transforming the abundance of abandoned trash for both it's raw material and point of departure. What is ubiquitous and freely available becomes a symbol for inventiveness and wonder - an opportunity for creative response, such as shells on the beach are to a child. Both artists take particular delight in noticing the overlooked and discovering new ways to utilize and re-imagine this STUFF THAT IS JUST AROUND ALL OVER THE PLACE. They re-mold it; transform it; recontextualize it – these new works "transcend" the original meaning and use, delivering a "translation" while not obliterating the past history and present character of the found material.
Mendelson (see also sharimendelson.com) will be showing sculptures that are inspired by historical ceramic, glass and metal vessels and constructed from found plastic bottles. Some of these pieces are copies of specific glass bottles from the Greek and Roman galleries at the Metropolitan Museum. In other pieces the shapes of the found material influence the outcome. The larger vessels will be shown on sculptural bases built from altered cardboard boxes. Mendelson playfully addresses issues of mass production, waste, the value of objects, history and culture. In a recent review Annie Buckley wrote, "What seemed at first glance to be glass vessels were made from used water bottles. Both the forms - an orbed vase, an elegant if eccentric goblet, a blue candy dish - and their transparency gave the impression of glass vessels, but the intricate surface pattern and layered texture belied this presumption. Made from bits of repurposed plastic pieced together into vessels, Mendelson's works move past the dualistic premise of remaking glass objects in plastic and into new territory."
Baumann will be showing large installations and excerpts from a series of Polaroid prints. The installations have grown out of his interest in taxonomies. The Polaroid series (see also herewereyou.com) has a similar rootedness in the feeling of responsiveness and improvisation; of movement through successive experiences, experiences that are presented here also in various "frames of reference". "Real" and illustrated light are juxtaposed. Found objects, transformed found objects, and found images are re-deployed in his prints, as chance encounters with "real" objects also see these transformed & re-presented, for example, as various characters, such as a wilting daisy as Pierrot.
In speaking of his search for yellow materials for one of his large color/taxonomy based installations Baumann states, "Yesterday I saw something bright yellow on a sidewalk near a fence in the distance, which turned out to be sunlight finding its way through a chink in the bottom of the fence in the evening and laying over a small triangle of concrete."