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Michelle Grabner, Never Quite Happy Home

60 North 6th Street, 718-599-4884
September 14 - October 28, 2007
Reception: Friday, September 14, 6 - 8 PM
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Southfirst gallery is very proud to present MICHELLE GRABNER’S NEVER QUITE HAPPY HOME, an installation of new paintings by MICHELLE GRABNER. The exhibition also features a full-scale reproduction of The Suburban, Grabner’s Oak Park, Illinois-based artist-run gallery. Showing work in The Suburban replica through Grabner’s invitation are GAYLEN GERBER, JESSICA HUTCHINS, and AUTUMN RAMSEY.

Grabner’s gesso and Flashe on canvas tondo paintings address repetition in their internal structure (optical and dot-based) and sheer profusion (there are over fifty). They are circular, from eight to eighty inches in diameter, and hung around the gallery like so much punctuation without a text. Are they aphasic? Her work evokes the history of abstraction as well as the feminine-gendered domestic patterning of washcloths, crocheted blankets and patterned paper towels. Perhaps they are about learning language, our first haphazard and repeated phonemes. Grabner invokes Gertrude Stein’s work on composition for this installation; of its arbitrariness she writes “I am not opposed to [the tondo paintings] even being illustrations of Stein’s periods.”

The only thing that is different from one time to another is what is seen and what is seen depends upon how everybody is doing everything. This makes the thing we are looking at very different and this makes what those who describe it make of it, it makes a composition, it confuses, it shows, it is, it looks, it likes it as it is, and this makes what is seen as it is seen. Nothing changes from generation to generation except the thing seen and that makes a composition.

Except from Gertrude Stein, Composition as Explanation>

Grabner has invited artist Gaylen Gerber to show in the 9×9 foot replica of The Suburban constructed inside SOUTHFIRST gallery for this show. Gerber’s “Discrete Backdrop” will show between September 14 – 23. Gerber has invited Jessica Hutchins and Autumn Ramsey to exhibit in collaboration with him. Hutchins’ work in collaboration with Gerber will be on view from September 28-October 7 and will feature ceramic and collage; Ramsey’s work in collaboration with Gerber, an oil painting, will be on view from October 12 through the close of the show. Gerber and Ramsey are Chicago-based artists; Hutchins is based in Portland, Oregon.

Michelle Grabnerhas exhibited widely, most recently in Rocket Gallery, London and at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2006). Her work has been featured in Artforum, Art in America, and Freize. She is faculty of painting and drawing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She lives and works in Oak Park, Illinois, where since 1999 she has run the independent, artist-space project The Suburban.
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