Work in Progress brings together work that takes as it’s subject both the wondrousness and dilemma that comes with living the life of an artist. The exhibition provides an opportunity to glance inside the process of both art making and artist’s block, moments of acclaim and those of isolation. Here the artists have held up a mirror to themselves and generated work that reflects on their own lives.
Byron Kim is in the routine of making a painting each week that he calls Sunday Paintings. He begins the painting by capturing the sky outside his window-
a sample that captures not only the color, but also, often, the mood of the day. Written in pencil across each panel are musings on his weekend-the weather, a friend’s first dinner party, his daughter’s black eye, and just as often, doubts about his painting practice. Tom Burckhardt’s video FULL STOP was filmed inside a life-like environment made completely of corrugated cardboard and black paint. The setting is a painter’s studio complete with brushes tubes of paint and spirits, bookshelves, a record player, a potbellied stove, and at the center of the room, a blank canvas. The video leaves the impression that an artists studiocan be at once a place of inspiration and productivity, but also isolation and creative block. Martin Bromirski made art out of the letters of rejection he has received from galleries, Museums, and residency programs. Bromirski is a painter who has had recent solo exhibitions at Fulton Street Gallery in Troy, New York and the Philadelphia Art Alliance but for this exhibition he will show Packet of Rejection (2003), which consists of over one hundred letters addressed to him. The edition shown in this exhibition was addressed to organizing curator, Jessica Hough after she declined to exhibit Bromirski’s work in 2003. Chrissy Conant is primarily a sculptor but like many artists she makes sketches and intuitive works on paper that capture her raw ideas and thoughts. Over time, Conant has compiled a series of drawings that record the emotional and trying side of both her professional and private life. With phrases such as “Don’t forget to have a baby” and “Focusing on the pain is one choice”, Conant boldly lets the viewer inside her conflicted and sometimes painful pursuit. Douglas Paulson and Ward Shelley have collaborated on an installation titled Archive. The work consists of a warren of cardboard boxes carefully labeled showing their contents. The contents purport to be everything from “Things Found Floating” to “Subtle Changes of Color, RED”. It is as if we are looking at the contents of the artists’ minds- things that make little or no sense to us but that might be the seed of a work of art. We might wonder if these are ideas for works of art waiting to be realized, or nonsense organized as an intellectual exercise whereby new ideas might enter their minds. João Onofre’s Vulture in the Studio is a startling and mysterious video during which an actual vulture is filmed moving inside the artist’s Lisbon studio. The enormous bird looks completely out of place in the small, domestic space as it grabs at papers pinned to a corkboard, and tries clumsily to find a place to perch. The bird takes on a mythological quality-is it an omen? If so, is it a bad or good one? Or is the bird an unacknowledged idea that takes a physical form to match its intensity.
Artists: Martin Bromirski, Tom Burckhardt, Chrissy Conant, Byron Kim, João Onofre, Douglas Paulson, and Ward Shelley
Curator: Jessica Hough, Curatorial Director, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum