NURTUREart presented WHITE MATTER(S), September 10th – October 10
Opening Reception was held Friday September 10th, 2004 from 6 – 9 p.m. at the former NURTUREart Gallery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY
New York, August 12th, 2004 – NURTUREart Non-Profit, Inc. was pleased to present WHITE MATTER(S), a group exhibition curated by Rose Merola. In conjunction with WHITE MATTER(S), NURTUREart presented a talk with the artists on Sunday, Oct. 3rd at 3 p.m.
The exhibition White Matter(s) explored multiple interpretations of the concept of white by a diverse group of artists in a myriad of art forms, including sculpture, painting, photography, and video to open up the term for investigation. The title refers to white material, such as plaster and Tyvek, as well the numerous associations that white engenders. While one might sometimes wish the world was black and white for the sake of simplicity, existence is a complicated affair. The color white, which typically conjures up positive connotations, has associations with mourning in some Asian cultures; however, the significance of white is not limited to this dichotomy.
Herman Melville’ s contribution in Moby Dick was to problematize the color, embodied in the albino whale, as a metaphor for many ideas, amongst them, evil, the Sublime, truth and the inscrutable. Despite its virtuous claims and the appearance of uniformity, white is unstable and impure. A blank piece of white paper is a metaphor for potentiality, and is a fitting analogy to the creativity of the artists in White Matter(s).
Exhibiting artists are: Grimanesa Amoros, Jay Boucher, Bradley Campbell, Diane Carr, Oliver Diaz, Ula Einstein, Kristin Brenneman Eno, Hillary Harvey, Owen Harvey, Deidre Hoguet, Bum-Joo Jeon, Elizabeth Knowles, Heidi Neilson, and Alexandra Newmark.
Alexandra Newmark’s off-white alien mohair sculpture entitled Propagator tackles the ambivalence in the relationship between parent and offspring. White flesh is suggested by Bum-Joo Jeon’s bleeding Coca-Cola can, which questions the role of Americanization and capitalism. Reminiscent of white paper dolls and doilies, which convey childhood feelings of hope and love, Elizabeth Knowles’ white tablecloth, Love’s Fortune, has a delicate and lacy appearance; it also refers to love’s caprices and heartbreaks. Confounding white as a symbol of purity, Jay Boucher photographs white vans, and his Untitled (Van #2) focuses on the marred surface that bears the marks of repeated attempts at repair, which serve as a memento mori. Kristin Brenneman Eno directs our attention to white as a signifier of light and energy, which she equates with the activity of the brain. Brain Popping embodies both organic growth as a physical manifestation as well as the mind’s capacity to abound with ideas. Similarly, Diane Carr makes manifest the immense possibilities in Figure 8, in which the number inscribed on the surface of a snowy landscape also functions as an infinity sign. Ula Einstein plays with the tension between destruction and creation in her incised images on Tyvek . Light participates in Throughway and Beyond , her window-like diptych. Inverting the function of maps to delineate borders, Deidre Hoguet’s white-on-white map Constellation #3 indicates the locations of her friends on the East Coast. Like the stars, the members of her constellation serve as guides and sources of energy. White’s dual roles of concealing and revealing are captured in the encaustic work of Snow and Grass by Grimanesa Amoros. She registers her first ever glimpse of melting snow, nature’s protective winter coat, which signals the change of seasons and the cycle of life. The white blades in Oliver Diaz’s computer-generated vector drawing Unmarked spring forth from an unmarked grave, testifying to the life buried below. In 10:52 pm, from The Stalker Pictures series, a harsh white light exposes the figure of the artist, Hillary Harvey. Her film-noirish black and white photographs refer to the camera as a voyeur. White’s heavenly associations are cited in Owen Harvey’s Tragedy. Apollo, god of the intellect, the Arts and the sun, is invoked through the ideal geometrical forms of the white squares and yellow rectangles. While Bradley Campbell shares Owen Harvey’s metaphysical aspirations, he offers us instead a peaceful unified space constructed of white plaster. The spareness of Untitled invites us in, to contemplate its subtlety, which can only be appreciated in relation to light and shadow. Lastly, white’s historic links to the quest for perfection are made manifest in Heidi Neilson’s Untitled (Punctuation: Looking Backward); the collage of the end punctuation is excerpted from the nineteenth century utopian novel Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy, which is set in the year 2000. It refers to the persistent yet elusive human endeavor of envisioning an ideal society.
Rose Merola, WHITE MATTER(S) curator, is an Independent Curator, who is currently employed at Hirschl & Adler Galleries and working towards a Ph.D. in Art History at The Graduate Center of CUNY.