Lisa Cooley Fine Art is incredibly pleased to present an exhibition of work by Alice Channer, Jamie Isenstein, and J. Parker Valentine. The show begins with a reception on Friday, April 1 from 6 to 8 pm, and continues through May 1, 2011.
The three artists in this exhibition are united by what is missing in their work: the body and its physical memory. Each artist renders this absence in a range of tones, from poetically solemn to surreally comic. In some instances the body is removed or substituted, while in others it is suggested as the elusive site of memory and sensation. Additionally, the artists deftly transpose sculpture with a given formal practice – textiles, performance art, and drawing, respectively. They each present sculpture that locates itself partially beyond the materials of its apparent constitution and perception. While the exhibition is unified by what is absent, what is materially present creates a lush yet subtle dissonance.
In her sculptures, drawings, and installations, British artist Alice Channer utilizes fashion, textiles, and a variety of sartorial elements as a discursive articulation of corporeal conditions and their relation to perception. Her installations are often elegantly minimal while being sensorily effusive. Echoing Minimalism’s emphasis on formal clarity, these restrained works – elastic fabric stretched around ellipses suggesting pairs of expanding or contracting bodily forms, coated aluminum resembling an elastic waistband, tracings of a reptilian patterned skirt – point to the space around the materials and the viewer’s bodily presence within it. As the viewers are being asked to figuratively put themselves in the work, the works are simultaneously dressing the architecture of the exhibition space. Within Channer’s oeuvre, materials are not only a contemplation of the bodies they suggest, but also a tactile iteration of Proustian memory.
Similarly, the work of J. Parker Valentine exhibits a tension between spare, elegant forms and fragments of abstraction. Her multidisciplinary work has at its performative center the act of drawing. Whether sculpture, film, photography, or collage, the works are often imbued with the personal gesture, trace, and weightlessness of drawing. The elemental act of mark and erasure is the generative process for works that delicately reside in physical and symbolic interstices, caught in an eternal in-between. Frequently utilizing found materials; she collapses the distance between sculpture and drawing into a lyrical indeterminacy. Sculptural ‘vessels’ – bottomless forms that can not physically hold anything – are casually displayed, forming intricate compositional lines, while also metaphorically funneling memory, and by extension time. For Valentine, the works retain the origin of their creation: the body and its ability to serve as a palimpsest of experience.
In the uncanny work of Jamie Isenstein, portions of the artist’s body are literally present or absent within the sculpture, and in the latter case there is often a sign reading ‘Will Return’ to let the viewer know. Blurring the line between sculpture and performance, her surreal and playful works – frequently using a Vaudevillian sense of entertainment – are underlined by issues relating to the impermanence of time, the possibility of magic in a technologically automated society, and death which is always looming, sometimes in the foreground and in a stylish top hat. The viewer is implicated in these humorously sinister works, even when it feels like they are arriving late to the mise-en-scène, encountering an open flame in lieu of a protagonist.
Alice Channer was born in 1977 in Oxford, England and currently lives and works in London. She received her BA from Goldsmiths College, London and an MA in Sculpture at the Royal College of Art. Her work is included in the Tate Collection, London, and she was most recently shown in a two-person presentation at Independent in New York. She has a current solo show at The Approach, London and past solo shows at The Approach and World Class Boxing in Miami, both 2009. She has a forthcoming solo show at Bolte Lang, Zurich in 2011, and was recently included in group exhibitions at Raven Row, London, in 2010 and Hayward Gallery touring, UK, in 2009.
J. Parker Valentine was born in Austin, Texas in 1980 and currently lives and works in Austin and New York City. She received a BFA from the University of Texas at Austin and an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. She recently had solo shows at Taka Ishii Gallery, Kyoto Japan, Supportico Lopez, Berlin and Peep-Hole in Milan, all in 2010. She was recently included in group exhibitions at the Contemporary Arts Museum in St. Louis, Missouri, and the Austin Museum of Art, among others. She will be the subject of a forthcoming publication by Mousse.
Jamie Isenstein was born in Portland, Oregon in 1975. She currently lives and works in New York City. She received her BA from Reed College and an MFA from Columbia University in 2004. She was recently included in the Liverpool Biennial and Marina Abramovic Presents at the Manchester International Festival. She has had solo shows at the Hammer Museum of Art, Los Angeles in 2007, Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York in 2007 and 2010, and Michael Benevento Gallery, Los Angeles in 2010.