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2009-2011

JON BOBBY BENJAMIN

JON BOBBY BENJAMIN

the ghosts of an industrial past linger

The ghosts of an industrial past linger in our present, leaving a permanent footprint, an afterimage that can never fully be razed or removed. My recent work focuses on these architectural remnants – defunct houses and barns, weathered structures, and disintegrating object-artifacts. It draws on the urban landscape of Philadelphia and DC, as well as on the scenery of my hometown, a small working-class coastal city in Massachusetts. I present massive, impersonal, decaying structures lifted from these locales as delicate and intimate spaces by recreating them on a minute scale. I also try to make the viewers of my work more aware of, and active participants in, the process of viewing.

I have pushed my newer work into the realm of pastiche, using recognizable imagery drawn from America's visual history as a point of departure. Much of my work builds off of what others have claimed America looks like or should look like. I am interested in creating a visual language of nostalgia and familiarity, and then slightly altering and complicating that language. Houses have become a dominant theme in my imagery, often serving as entry points for the viewer, and creating a sense of scale for the pieces. My interest in architecture (and landscape) comes from its innate ability to bear the markings of the passage of time. Creating desolate, long-abandoned structures allows me to get glimpses of a human-constructed world that may exist in a static, post-human time. My newest work has focused on hypothetical historical amalgamations that I use to create a parallel, contemporary world. I push my work to be multi-faceted, to create content that exists in the overlap and convergence of media (drawings, sculptural objects, photographs), as if I am documenting these alternate worlds or imagined pasts. The work is research-intensive, drawing from colonial American texts, especially early Puritan writings, as well as the notions of Manifest Destiny and American Exceptionalism.

MAGNOLIA LAURIE

MAGNOLIA LAURIE

where do we go from here?

In my paintings vast, often desolate, spaces are depicted. Referencing the arctic or the desert, they are invented environments posing the question: where do we go from here? Structures appear within the landscape, some proposing a possible system of communication, others referring to a vulnerable and perhaps futile attempt to create shelter. The structures and systems created are illogical; they are delicate and makeshift in a way that may not endure their own weight, let alone the impending disruptions. Yet, they are made, and to me they reference the sustained need to try, to build, to create, even in the face of complete futility. My paintings are of invented architecture and imagined ruins, they represent the instinctive, sometimes manic, and desperate act of building and within them I am thinking about the cyclical rise and fall of civilizations.

KATHERINE MANN

KATHERINE MANN

porthole into a landscape

My paintings depict ever-changing fantasy worlds where blood cells, rain forests and coral reefs collide and intertwine. Each piece functions as a man-sized porthole into a landscape alive with minute details, patterns and interlocking systems. This is achieved through the conglomeration of tiny minutia piled and cobbled together to create the larger, overarching relationships that define the whole painting – usually organic forms that grow and breath but also become overwhelmed with their own excess. I work with ambiguous shapes that could function as elements in radically different environments in the real world scabby circular shape could be a marsh object covered with barnacles, a white blood cell, or a cratered moon. Thus the real environments of reefs, rain forests, outer space and microbiology are smashed into one incongruous whole.

The desire to create epic realms begins in childhood, and I explore those early desires and anxieties by creating intricate fields that I find at once suffocating and fabulous. Racially and geographically incongruous myself, I consider the paintings to be utter hybrids, speaking a language of dualisms to create fields punctuated by moments of absurdity, poetry, mutation, growth and decay. They glory in the sensuous and the rambling, but intersperse the chaos with moments of neurotic control. They explore the potentialities of growth, but also of excess and overabundance. Like the fantasies and fears of childhood play, they are epic narratives, entire societies of fleshy worms, ink noodles or patterned blobs. But they are also clotted, epileptic.

JONATHAN MONAGHAN

JONATHAN MONAGHAN

ominous vision of anxiety

I create images of hybrids; entities which are organic and synthetic, animal and architectural, dark and whimsical. These hybrids form around Christian mythology, but are placed into the context of video games and Hollywood CGI through the computer technology which I employ. The basic Christian themes of sacrifice, death, and transcendence of the body remain constant yet are given new relevance by the digital medium. When taken as a whole the work becomes an ominous vision of anxiety, addressing an uneasy relationship between nature and the man-made.

LINA VARGAS DE LA HOZ

LINA VARGAS DE LA HOZ

objects that become spaces

My recent artworks are objects that become spaces. Each of these installations needs the human body as a basic ingredient to be complete. They are based on the idea of the space in constant movement as it mutates and makes connections.

Jackets, umbrellas, sweaters…I use this common personal items as a symbol of a living area. When we wear something, we are placed into a second skin traditionally seeing as an object, and at the same time, we situate ourselves mentally in a certain position.

Motivated by my personal experience as a Colombian migrant first in Austria and now in the USA, the subject of relocation is intrinsic to my recent work. I am conscious of the many negative aspects surrounding integration for the migrants as well as the “host” societies. But I think of the movements of peoples as a historical and global event. Past nomadic human history and the economic globalization of the present shows us that migration is a natural strategy for survival. We go where we think it will be safer, where there is work, where physically and emotionally we feel better. National borders and anti-immigration laws cannot stop the flow of humans in transit.

My work is an experiment of connections between the object and space, the individual and the collective, the static and the transitory, and between private and public space.