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Handshakes: Elaine Stocki, Whitney Claflin and Ian Campbell

Thomas Erben Gallery
526 West 26th Street, 4th Floor, 212-645-8701
September 9 - October 9, 2010
Reception: Thursday, September 9, 6 - 8:30 PM
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Opening Reception: Thursday, September 9, 6-8:30 pm; with performance and music cassette release by Behavior

Thomas Erben is pleased to present an exhibition of works by three emerging New York-based artists who are tied by bonds of age, friendship, alma mater, attitude towards art making and artistic sensibility. From a position of proficiency, they cross-fertilize, mix and stretch media ranging from painting, photography, film, performance to music, plays and poetry. This press release – written at the end of July – witnesses the artists in a state of fertile production and thus, rather than describing the objects which will be encountered at the gallery in September, comments on their current explorations and methodologies.

Elaine Stocki (b. 1979, Winnipeg, MB) has an interest in what one could term the happening of content; or, as she states: “The ideas I get most excited about are always really intuitive and entirely unacademic, because they have the potential to explode into something much more complex in the visual.” Whether in photography, sculpture or painting, Stocki chooses to manipulate her media, be it – in the case of photography – by using the qualities of film (such as grain and color saturation) and traditional darkroom or alternative processes to drive the discussion of content. Her search for genuine expression through formal experimentation creates works that engage the viewer on not only a visual or emotional but also a highly critical level.

Stocki’s work was included in Freeway Balconies (curated by Collier Schorr) at the Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin, 2008. She was awarded the Tierney Fellowship in 2009, and in the fall of 2010, Stocki will present her first solo exhibition in Calgary. In 2011, her images will be published in the TBW Subscription Series #3 and will be exhibited at La Maison Rouge Paris. Her work is represented in numerous private collections as well as the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Stocki received a Yale MFA in 2009 and currently lives and works in New York.

Whitney Claflin (b. 1983, Providence, RI), like Stocki, engages in a dialectical discussion between medium and content. In her displays, she intersperses small-scale abstract paintings with digitally printed posters. While the paintings have a physically collaged surface, the posters are composed of layered photographs of abstractions Claflin finds in the world around her. Rather than being interested in historical vocabularies of abstraction and their generative content, Claflin instead looks to their devolved states as styles that permeate popular culture and design today. Her work takes on a semiotic approach to these shells within the context of fine art, thus giving them the possibility of a new resonance.

Claflin received her BFA from RISD 2005, and her MFA from Yale in 2009; most recently, she had a solo exhibition with Real Fine Arts Brooklyn, 2010, and participated in The Open, a survey of emerging art, Deitch Projects Long Island City, as well as Space Is A Place Portland Institute for Contemporary Art. She lives and works in Brooklyn.

Ian Campbell (b. 1982, Long Island, NY) is working on a series of vintage, found Polaroids – mounted onto salvaged book covers – on which he uses pastels to erase all figures, a viewer’s immediate point of identification. Similarly, in his music (which he performs with the band Behavior), his monochrome paintings, poetry or plays, Campbell is interested in existent, widely available material or modes of production. His evenhanded treatment of these through acts of removal, forced deterioration or arrangement invites a more contemplative engagement which allows for the complexity of the original objects to emerge.

Campbell received his BFA from Hunter College and his MFA from Yale, 2009. He has shown in a number of group exhibitions, including at Passerby, Jack Tilton and Robert Goff, all in New York. He lives and works in New York.

In the project space, Shanna Waddell (b. 1981, Long Beach, CA) will present to us a recent canvas, whose deft and fluent paint handling and light-filled colors belie a rather dramatic autobiographical event, which paralleled the events surrounding the Heaven’s Gate Cult in California.

Waddell received her BFA from California State University Long Beach, 2006, and her MFA in painting from Tyler School of Art, 2010. She has participated in several exhibitions: F and N Gallery Fishtown, PA, 2009; IdyllwildARTS Idyllwild, CA, and Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, both 2008; as well as LA Art Space Culver City, 2006. She lives and works in Philadelphia.
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