Thursday, September 15, 2016

SDSU Downtown Gallery Exhibits Work by Recent Grads: With Abandon

With Abandon
Group exhibition of former students, SDSU
guest curated by Ginger Shulick Porcella, Executive Director, San Diego Art Institute

Article by Cathy Breslaw

With Abandon is a group exhibition of fourteen former students of San Diego State University who graduated within the past five years, and one student working toward an MFA. The artworks include a fabrication of materials, metal and wood craft and the repurposing of found objects in the form of installation, sculpture, ceramics, video, painting, book-making and photographic prints. Though each artist offers varying perspectives in the nature and purpose of their work, there does appear to be a commonality of an almost obsessive attention to craft and detail.  Ainsly Buhl’s installation created with coffee straws, wood and wire, and Aren Skalman’s mixed media and found objects installation seem to bounce off of one another – the former lending an exacting display of layers of carefully constructed very long strands of two toned red straws emanating from the wall equally from a wood and wire central base, while Skalman’s work appears to be a randomly placed mixture of various short and long colorful shapes hanging from the wall suggesting some kind of communication system we are not familiar with. Chelsea Herman’s Artist book (Chiné-colle etchings, text handset Bembo and printed letterpress on Stonehenge paper) and Tammy Young Eun Kim’s 3-D printed sandstone, alumide, brass, steel and silver small sculptural forms share a quiet and poetic sensibility with a delicate and subtle sense of beauty and focus on craft. Lee M. Lavy’s installation of found posts are arranged within the gallery’s central space, each fulfilling a different size and character, mostly all weathered by time from their former ‘home’, telling a story seemingly marked by territory, allowing viewers to roam within and around each post, giving us access to a ‘close up’ view. Adam John Manley’s two 12 foot wood and acrylic installation works share Lavy’s marking of territory with his works’ pointing of ‘to’ and ‘from’ arrows giving directions to viewers within the landscape of the gallery space. The works of Maricarmen Olimón and Amanda Packer share a vulnerability in their more personal and intimate art pieces created from clay (Oliman) and copper, silver and brass with thread and paint jewelry (Packer). Kaiya Rainbolt’s minimalist sculpture(65” x 38” x36”) sitting only inches above the floor, uses twin mattresses twisted in a symmetrical ‘knot’ – This work seems to sit between a humorous and sober theme. Artist Phil Rowland uses the objects of hammer and axe heads, using ash, maple, oak and walnut woods to create his highly well-crafted conceptual works. Rowland’s pieces reflect a surprising sense of humor.

Michael Rybicki’s 8 foot concrete and wood installation leans on a central column adjacent to Lavy’s posts and while they relate to one another, Rybicki’s ‘sculpture’ seems to have the hand of the artist in it’s making. Marisa Scheinfeld’s chromogenic prints are both formally and compositionally very beautiful.  In contrast, the subject matter is of abandoned buildings reminiscent of old-school soda fountain seating in a restaurant that saw better days. There is a certain feeling of nostalgia and good memories in these richly hued prints. Kurosh Yahyai’s oil on canvas and adjacent installation of wood, steel and mixed media is a heavy themed work portraying a  prone female figure, in a dark environment with light shone on her face. Ashley Fenderson’s installation created in the loading dock area of the gallery is a huge roundish art piece dense with organic and man-made materials filled with the stuff we see along highways blowing in the wind. It is mysterious, and both visually appealing and raw in its presence. 

There are no hidden agendas in the works of this exhibition – with a range of materials, techniques and artist’s intent, the works serve viewers a fascinating look at nicely crafted, distinctive and personal works by artists trained at San Diego State University.

Chelsea Herman’s Artist book
(Chiné-colle etchings, text handset Bembo and printed letterpress on Stonehenge paper) 

Lee M. Lavy with his installation   Outposts          found posts

Kaiya Rainbolt       Aposiopesis #3 Confusion,     twin mattress

Artist Ashley Fenderson working on her installation         Ghost      organic materials, wire

Adam John Manley    Itinerant Landmarks        print

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