Careerists and Visionaries
August 7-September 3, 2009
Closing Reception: Thursday, September 3rd
This selection of artists, all of whom are recent graduates from the Yale School of Art Sculpture MFA program, was originally curated two years ago, by another group of thirteen artists, ten of them students and three faculty members: Joe Scanlan, Daphne Fitzpatrick, and the head of the department, Jessica Stockholder. The experience of this department and its particular conversation has refined this show over time by creating the possibility for it, and by creating the problems inherent to it.
Careerists and Visionaries gives space to this specific moment in time, bringing together the varying practices of 10 artists: Eoin Burke, Ian Campbell, Boris Chesakov, Lourdes Correacarlo, Meredith James, Sarah Lassise, Laura Marsh, Jo Nigoghossian, Ryan Wolfe, and Jacques Louis Vidal, curator of the exhibition. A curatorial statement is available at the gallery and upon request.
"The effort to define the word 'sculpture' leads to the scrutiny of the edge, the field, the pedestal, the frame- to the various devices that serve to establish a privileged space / place / or moment in time in which we can imagine, postulate, recast, notice, and remember in order to, enjoy, entertain, manage, structure, and make sense of our lives. Tending to how any single work negotiates its relationship to this line between itself and life is part of its content."
-Jessica Stockholder, Excerpt from Swiss Cheese Field-A Sculpture Mingled (forthcoming essay in the Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin, 2009)
The influence of Jessica Stockholder's educational and creative philosophy, which could inadequately be interpreted as "expansionist," is noticeable in each artist's work in this exhibition. Jessica sees every artist occupying, and expanding an allotted creative space, an Emersonian notion if there ever was one. In this utopian spirit these works have been selected to highlight each artist's capacities, curiosities, and strengths as opposed to producing a more tangible whole.
The sculptures of Jo Nigghogosian, Eoin Burke, and Sarah Lassise may seem formally figurative, but this is deceptive and inaccurate in describing their work. Their work, disparately, is much more concerned with a more abstract and fundamental idea of an object, its affect on the room, its affect on the artist as they make it, its ability to stand up, to be alone, and to have dignity. All of these concerns prefigure any notion of resemblance, but do not exclude them.
Boris Chesakov and Ian Campbell's work differs in the distance they choose to create from "it" as an entity. In this show, Ian's work is represented by unauthorized documentation of his performances, which he does not allow. Boris' work does not aim towards completion, but rather towards an ongoing, endless experimentation of time-based works.
Lourdes Correa-Carlo, Laura Marsh, and myself occupy a personal space, where the meaning of our symbolism, and its references do not necessarily relate. The craft and formality in the work is specific to our own history, and is an attempt to magnify that history. In Laura's work it is a menagerie of accessories including bags, Imovies, and jewelry that produce her totem. With Lourdes, the politics and image of Puerto Rico is centralized, as is her accent, as the words "Beaches" and "Bitches" are often confused. In my work for the show, I have produced a series of posters that are documentation of my childhood home, these are posters advertising my sensibility, the personal here becomes a diagram for the development of an aesthetic.
Ryan Wolfe's works are often made to seem invisible, to be assimilated. Here he has created a series of chair bases, modeled after the original Papasan Chair. In order to strip these objects of their casual destiny he has reduced them to their minimal design origins. Meredith James' work swallows space, for like Ryan's, it often takes the room itself as a subject; not as installation site, but as space itself to be a subject, easily manipulated, and suited for re-understanding. Her video takes the assumption of a place being there, static, like a living room ready for use, and proves that to be false. Instead these places are almost always moving, and when she wants to leave, the room becomes an emotional mirror that she literally takes with her.
Our dean, Robert Storr, once instructed us that Yale was not a finishing school for young artists. This sentiment seemed obvious, even sanctimonious at the time, but to a certain extent I hope this show proves his point, and goes further to say that in this time there is nothing that a finishing school could teach us, or nothing it hasn't tried to teach us that we as a class flatly rejected.
-Jacques Vidal, Curator of the Exhibition
For more information please contact Kelly Woods at firstname.lastname@example.org.