MATERIALIZE EXHIBIT – Caribou Conflict

from David Von Ness (2010)

by Adam Pearson

This 3D printed piece by David Von Ness shows two caribou pushing a sphere made of their intertwining antlers towards each other. As these caribou are connected to the object they are trying to push, facing towards each other, this is a conflict neither can win and can’t be resolved. Could this sculpture be some sort of metaphor for a struggle that results in stasis? Or is it simply a cool design meant for nothing more than to show off the potential of digital fabrication?

This is just one of many digitally fabricated sculptures positing this question in Materialize, the newest Robert & Elaine Stein Galleries’ exhibit open now at Wright State Creative Arts Center, room 252.

Elena Dorfman – A Primer

Elena Dorfman and her artwork, from "Empire Falling"

Elena Dorfman and her artwork, from “Empire Falling”

by Adam Pearson

Fine art photographer, Elena Dorfman, achieved much her fame through exploring the social, cultural, and sexual practices of overlooked communities. Horse jockeys, Cosplay participants, sex doll co-habitations, and Syrian refugees were among her subjects throughout her career. Eventually she branched out to explore places in addition to people, capturing and reconstructing landscapes in her “Empire Falling” series.

Elena Dorfman was first placed in the spotlight in 2005 with her series, “Still Lovers.” This series documented a growing, and for many, baffling, trend of men and women integrating hyper realistic sex dolls into their day-to lives. It was not created as a piece of exploitation, but as an exploration of the relationships between these people and their dolls, leading to startling realizations about what draws human affection.

More recently, Dorfman received acclaim for her intimate portraits of Syrian teens living in refugee camps, displaced by the civil war. These photos carried brief descriptions of each individual and their current living situation. Many these individuals’ lives seemed without hope, and the series was used to bring awareness to this “lost” generation.

In short, Elena Dorfman’s fascination with the obscure and the overlooked has resulted in a very rich and diverse portfolio. The spirit of her work can be sometimes mystical, sometimes playful, sometimes somber, and sometimes an overlap of the three. One thing her work has never been is predictable.

Elena Dorfman, will be coming to speak at Wright State on Thursday, October 9 between 5:00-6:00 pm in the Creative Arts Center, room M252 with a reception at 7:00 pm. Add free food and a bar to the mix, and you could find a worse way to spend a school night.

The Other Man’s Grass Is Always Greener

By Chloë Sizelove, Gallery Monitor

Wearing grass shoes for the first time was quite an experience. Especially while wondering around my college campus.

The day started out normally. Get up at 6:20AM, routine morning rituals, and the long commute to school. I arrive on campus around 8:10AM and head towards the CAC (Creative Arts Center) from lot 4 (across campus). Having to wait on my boss to arrive to open the gallery door, the chair of the Art Department walks into the hallway to get onto the elevator. He asks, if I need to get into the office and I replied with, “yes, I have grass shoes to wear.” He unlocks the door for me and I rush over to my incubating shoes and begin to lace them up. I had put plastic wrap around my feet to keep myself from getting soggy (eventually it didn’t work out too great). Now that I was all laced and ready to go, I rush out of the office and head into the tunnel system for my first class.

Showing up a little before class started, I see one of my classmates (whom I’ve had classes with before) and we start talking. As we were blabbing about something that I can barely remember, a male student walks by and does a double take at my feet. He says, “wow! Nice shoes, those are really grassy.” I say back to him as he continues on his way, “thank you, it’s the new way of ‘Going Green’”. The class before us lets out and a few of us early birds head into the empty seats that were awaiting us. As I take my seat the professor in the class before us was so shocked by the greenery on my shoes. He comes up to me and says, “is that real?” This became a very common question that I have been asked throughout my morning. I then reply, “yes, I grew the grass on my shoes. You can touch them if you like.” He reaches cautiously and brushes his fingertips on my grassy shoes before rushing out the door and complimenting how amazing my shoes were.

Class still hasn’t begun and the first thing my classmates and I always do before class actually starts, is to log into our computers and onto our class site located through the Wright State server. Now, my Business Writing professor is also a professional Artist (a painter to be precise). He comes over to me, jaw to the floor, eyes wide, and by his expression absolutely astonished by my shoes. I explained to him that yes, it was real grass growing from my shoes and how I was able to do such a thing. I explained to him why I was parading around campus with grass on my feet. I then told him briefly about the artist, Gene Pool (yes, he legally changed his name and regrets it), who had the idea of grass clothing. He laughed out loud and then he too, touched my grass shoes.

Class finally began. The very first thing my professor asks the class was if anyone was growing grass on their shoes? My professor then points directly at me and announces to the class to check out how amazing my shoes were. I proceed to lift my legs up enough so my classmates could see my shoes. My classmates, were in awe. Of course, similar questions came about and once again I had to advertise my shoes and also the gallery. Hopefully people will come to the gallery!!! But, I doubt it… who knows.  Throughout class, my professor and I would tie every activity in class with my shoes.  As a class we each had to briefly write a memorandum from the three questions projected onto the board.  My classmate who sits next to me finished quickly and submitted her work.  Our professor then tells her to just sit back and enjoy her neighbors grass.  I laughed at this and blurted out, “well, you know the other mans grass is always greener!”  The three of us burst out laughing.  That class was the best out of the other two.  No one seemed to really care after that.

After class, I continued to take the tunnels to my next class and then again to my final class of the day. As I would pass people by in the tunnels, many of them either; smiled, gave a questioning look, walked slower behind me to whisper something to their friends about not being able to have the confidence to wear such things because it would attract attention. I thought to myself that this isn’t just an art/science project, it’s a great sociology experiment.

Like always, my final stop wasn’t just class… it was the gallery. I approached the front desk with one of my coworkers telling me how amazing my shoes were and how great it was that I walked around campus in my wet, soggy, green shoes. One of the photography professors was in the other section of the gallery and noticed my shoes. She was so thrilled by the outcome. She told me to walk around the gallery since some high school students will becoming in shortly. I said sure, and as I said that people started to flock into the gallery.  The professor pointed to my feet and told everyone to take a look at some grass shoes. Yet again, I had some students not give a care and others were so amazed.  Some of them took pictures of my shoes and I had one person asked if they could “mow my lawn.”  I told that student I didn’t want her to because I didn’t want her to cut off one of my toes. Again, told them the process of creating them and then headed off into the office area to dry my wet feet.

Credit to Artist Gene Pool Harding.  Through his mind, this experience wouldn’t have been possible.  Thank you.DSC_0089_276

Jeremy Rotsztain Gives “Action Painting” a Whole New Meaning

by Adam Pearson

 

still from Revving Motors, Screeching Wheels

still from Revving Motors, Screeching Wheels

 

You are probably familiar with “action painting” even if you’re not familiar with the term. It’s that oft sneered-at staple of modern art where paint is slashed, dripped, smeared or outright thrown onto a canvas, seemingly at random. If you’ve never done it yourself, or even stepped foot in an art gallery, you’ve probably seen it in enough movies and TV shows as a last ditch effort to derive comedy from a character’s artsy free spirted-ness (or lack thereof) that I don’t even need to list the examples.  What you may not be familiar with is Jeremy Rotsztain’s new take on the style, a series of still and animated digital paintings composed from sounds and images of Hollywood action films. The video series is simply and appropriately titled, Action Painting.

What action painting most emphasizes is not the finished work but the physical act of painting.  The painted canvas is more a documentation of the art rather than the actual art, and the real subject is the painter, not the image. In Rotsztain’s series, we see the action occurring in the original film projecting abstract images onto a high definition screen like paint being thrown onto a canvas. In other words, the real subject of this series is blockbuster violence. With action scenes from films such as Fight Club, Rambo, and Terminator 2 used as the compositional material, this is masculine expressionism at its most masculine.

The four videos in the series each consist of an action trope where animated paintings are composed through materials of the production process. Monochromatic Bursts of Color is composed using the light, flames and smoke of explosions. Pitter Patter Splatter uses smoke and fire from handguns and automatic weapons. Unrelenting Physical Aggression uses smacks, punches, and kicks from physical combat. Revving Motors, Spinning Wheels uses exactly the sounds you would expect to hear in a piece called Revving Motors, Spinning Wheels.

Action Painting will be shown in its entirety at Stein Galleries’ Fifth Wall Video Gallery during the month of October. Check here for office hours. Admission is always free.

A Stroll In The Grass – The Outfits and Designs of Gene Pool

by Adam Pearson

A man crosses the street in a suit of grass. What sort of gimmick is this? One passerby thinks it must be an advertisement, maybe for a lawn care company. Another passerby disagrees, they think that the promotion must be for golf. In actuality, it’s one of the many creations by Gene Pool, known for making outfits consisting entirely of things like grass, light bulbs, cans, money, and magazines.

Consisting of twenty pounds of sod, the grass suit is not the most slimming of fashion accessories. It is, however, a very simple artistic statement about “the stubbornness of nature – that grass will grow anywhere,” as stated by the artist. This included a 1966 Buick Le Sabre that Gene Pool also decorated with a layer of living grass.

Pool’s offbeat creations landed him fame in the 80′s and 90′s and he made several appearances on television, in magazines, and even in film (anyone remember the Can Man in Searching For Bobby Fisher?)

As Gene Pool did much of his work at Wright State, we at Stein Galleries decided to boast about it by featuring documents and photos of his experiments conducted at the college in our 40th Anniversary exhibition. It’s up from today until October 12th, so come take a look!

photo 3

Launching our new season with EXPOSURE: An Exhibition of Contemporary Photography

by Tess Cortés, Gallery Coordinator

We’re opening this exhibition season with an amazing photograph exhibition! Our own talented Tracy Longely-Cook along with Joy Hyatt curated this exhibit from five local collections. Some of the biggest names in the field of fine art photography are represented, spanning at least five decades of cultural themes and technical achievements.

The exhibition opens Tuesday, September 2 and runs through Sunday, October 12. The exhibition’s reception will be Sunday, October 5, 3:00-5:30.

The exhibition is also a participating venue with the 2014 FOTOFOCUS Biennial; a Cincinnati based, month-long celebration of photography and lens-based art.

 

©Courtesy of Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison

Aileron company collection. © Courtesy of Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison

Drawing Electric Dreams: On David Goldes

by Adam Pearson (Most Awesome Marketing Intern)

It was the early 19th Century when graphite was discovered to be a conductor by British chemist and inventor, Humphrey David. It was in the same century that another British scientist, Michael Faraday, discovered the phenomenon of electromagnetic induction. While these discoveries had a profound effect on the scientific community and led to important advancements in technology, the phenomena itself largely remained an abstraction to those who didn’t directly experiment with it and see it with their own eyes. For photographer David Goldes, the desire to bring this phenomenon to life has resulted in a series of videos and still life photographs capturing the mesmerizing results of experiments with electricity.

David Goldes’ primary interest is the physical world, the physical world that is too fleeting to see or register in our day to day lives. With powdered graphite and a thick pencil, he applies high voltage electricity that moves in his drawings, leaving a trail of smoldering ash in its wake. He takes a snapshot of the first moment after the power is turned on, and the voltage travels along the circuit. Other experiments showed threads tied together yet repelling from each other by a mutual source of energy, as well as small flames of voltage dancing on drops of water where heated air allows electrons to jump across a gap with less molecules hindering it.

The purpose of these experiments aren’t for science, as the existence of this phenomena is not a new discovery. Rather, it’s to justify and pay tribute to our innate curiosity. Goldes conjures a part of nature we would have never otherwise seen, and displays it as a spectacle to behold for its own sake, rather than one of practicality. The discovery of electromagnetic induction led to the invention of the motor, but it’s the naked energy of elements in themselves that entice some to learn about the forces behind the motor, and nothing shows why better than the photographs of these forces.

David Goldes will be featured in the upcoming Stein Galleries exhibition, “Exposure,” among other prominent American photographers of the late 20th century and today.

Video still from "Faraday's Dreams of Electricity," courtesy David Goldes

Video still from “Faraday’s Dreams of Electricity,” courtesy David Goldes