“I’m going out for a cup of air,” Brooklyn artist Karen Gibbons’s mother would say to her five children as she stepped outside for a reprieve from the stresses of parenting. The free-standing sculpture and sculptural wall pieces in this exhibit, A Cup of Air, express that whimsical metaphor. They are playful, curious and evocative. This new body of work draws inspiration from three sources: the pastoral landscape, the Gowanus Canal neighborhood of Brooklyn, and the artist’s recently rediscovered family photo archives. Gibbons ingeniously integrates photographs and found objects with an eclectic approach that combines sculpture, painting, drawing and photography in surprising ways. Delightful, unexpected contradictions arise out of the mixture of these elements. The pieces have an air of both reminiscence and anticipation, they combine the ephemeral with the enduring, and they mingle the cherished and the forbidden.
A Cup of Air opens at the 440 Gallery, located at 440 Sixth Avenue in Brooklyn, on Thursday, February 23, and will run through Sunday, April 8, 2012. There will be a reception for the artist from 6:00-9:00 PM, Thursday, February 23. The 440 Gallery is in the Park Slope neighborhood, convenient to the F, M, and R subways. The gallery is open Thursday and Friday, 4:00 – 7:00 PM, Saturday and Sunday, 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM, or by appointment. Check the gallery’s website, www.440gallery.com, for more information.
This is Gibbons’s third solo show at the 440 Gallery. Over the past several years Gibbons has been developing a unique approach of combining different artistic processes. This method unites her formal training as a painter, her years of practice as a sculptor, and a more recent foray into photography. Gibbons’s penchant for incorporating found elements into her work continues in this show, with found objects now taking center stage. The notion of “found” applies to photographic images, which are layered onto “found” objects. In each piece, shape, form and color are distilled until a singular image emerges from the tension between the found and the deliberate. Gibbons consolidates layers of color and texture in each piece until its shape becomes iconic, nearly symbolic. Its disparities take on a new life, and its ambiguities allow associations and references to surface for each viewer.
Karen Gibbons has been living and working in Brooklyn for more than 30 years. She holds a BFA from Pratt Institute, an MFA from Hunter College, and has shown her work regularly throughout New York City. Her related professional experience includes murals, bookmaking, teaching and curatorial work. Karen’s creative inspiration is informed by her other work as art therapist, certified yoga instructor, and a mother of three.