Bill Thelen & Jake Ziemann

April 2-24, 2016

Both Thelen and Ziemann engage with ideas of intimacy, body, and language across media. Concurrently somber and humorous, their work speaks to seemingly quotidian moments of connection that are just past our collective comfort zone.  

Bill Thelen’s nobody's home features the found footage of Gregory Askins, a tenant of Thelen’s who passed away in 2003 from complications due to AIDS. Mr. Askins lived in Thelen’s attic apartment with his dog FiFi. During the last year of his life he never left the apartment and received no visitors. He would leave a list of the things he needed by sliding it under Thelen’s door. After Askins died, Thelen found this video along with artwork, a detailed diary and various ephemera while cleaning out his apartment. nobody's home plays with voyeurism and desire, ostensibly through the eyes of a shut-in.

Informed by notions of intimacy, co-dependency, and vulnerability, Jake Ziemann’s work explores personal states of being through bodily shapes that conjoin ceramic sculpture with utilitarian support. Simultaneously melancholic and comedic in their sense of awkwardness, the connection between the ceramic forms and their constructed bases allude to a sense of longing for permanence and structure. Mirroring the subject matter of the pop song lyrics that are referenced in the titles of his pieces, Ziemann’s objects reflect the universality of personal matters that are often too difficult to discuss and share directly.

 

Ben Jurgensen & Jennie Ottinger

February 13-March 3, 2016

While working through different media and subject matter, both Jurgensen and Ottinger employ tactics such as humor and appropriation in their critical engagement with realism and social systems. While seemingly tongue in cheek, both Jurgensen and Ottinger nimbly examine power structures at work in our contemporary world.

Ben Jurgensen’s recent work explores material, form, and labor as they relate to socio-economic disparity, class and the often-contradictory value systems through which visual art is produced, taught and consumed. The work employs conventions, effects, and sites of skilled and unskilled labor, artistic production and leisure to closely examine the position of the artist within the contemporary moment. More meditation than manifesto, the work looks for humor in the inversion of what it means to work and ‘make work’. Just keep saying the joke is funny, you know?

Jennie Ottinger’s paintings use hyperbole to highlight certain truths about group mentality, power dynamics, and societal values. She explores clubs such as sororities, sports teams, scouts, and church parishes: what it means to belong and the accompanying rules, hierarchies, traditions, and rituals. What do we gain from such communities and what do they deprive us of? The status quo can be seductive but also stifling and the impulse to embrace it is often quickly followed by an equally strong impulse to rebel against it.

 

 

Linda Lopez & Alina Tenser

November 14-December 12, 2015

Accretions come to mind when presented with the slow progressive movements found in the works of Linda Lopez and Alina Tenser. Patient build-ups inform narrative while animate and inanimate forms negotiate sources of agency. Lopez and Tenser question the roles and exchanges of haptic experience within physical and virtual environs. Both artists approach craft through a confluence of multiple media. Both are rooted in figural explorations, the results of which yield unpredictable assemblages of parts, actions, and interfaces.

Linda Lopez’s lexicon has evolved from the pathos she finds lingering at the peripheries of our domestic habitudes. She balances a need for haptic connectivity and resolute solitude—some things are handled under the light of a table lamp while others gather in the corner, unencumbered yet forgotten. Her carefully assembled still-life sculptures are imbued with animation through a deft modeling of clay forms. Each object seems to grow forth as if determined by an internal algorithm, each tendril connected through an extensive sequence. Lopez builds taxonomies informed by a close and sensitive look at the everyday.

Alina Tenser’s videos explore the physical and emotional relationship of the body to obscure yet familiar objects. Within the borders of a seemingly flattened space, fragmented body parts interact with objects in an aestheticized and decontextualized environment. A narrative is created, certainly, but remains soft. In the same vein, an intimacy is inferred without a clear source. Gestures—both seen and unseen—suggest the dualities of autonomy and dependence, public and private. Throughout her work, Tenser balances carefully between playfulness and solemnity.