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ADRIFT BY CHRIS WILLCOX

ADRIFT

November 1 – December 14, 2018 – Gage Family Art Gallery

Reception: Thursday November 1, 6-8 p.m.


Artist Statement

The artwork that comprises the series Adrift (2017-2018) deals with human migration and, in particular, the global refugee and migrant crisis.  More than 65 million people around the world are now officially displaced from their homes by conflict, violence and persecution – the highest figure recorded by the United Nations since the Second World War.

I felt morally obligated to make work that might add to the compassionate and sympathetic viewpoint supporting refugees seeking asylum and safety.   Media sources have provided a steady stream of now-familiar imagery showing groups of people kept behind chain link fencing, incarcerated children in detention centers, or figures in life jackets crowded into flimsy, inflatable rafts crossing the Mediterranean Sea.  As Susan Sontag points out, “the western memory museum is now mostly a visual one,” and the volume of images depicting far flung, upsetting stories has reached a fever pitch. The paintings in Adrift  present a cobbled-together synthesis of familiar media images representing this humanitarian crisis.

As reference, I have either used media photographs as inspiration or repurposed them by fixing them directly to the panel or canvas. This practice allows me to work within the conversation that already exists. The “seams” between the borrowed photographs and the painted surfaces are meant to be evident. Using photographs as an element in the work allows me to honor their existence, power, and gravity. The painted surfaces re-orient the original photos towards a more dream-like space where a reset or pause button can be hit that allows for reflection where shock and horror once reigned.

The large paintings of the sea are meant to disrupt the picturesque ideal of ocean panoramas. I want to place the viewer in the water as if swimming (or drowning).  News photos of ocean crossings often place viewers at a safe distance (such as on the shore), where we are allowed to witness migrants’ passages at a safe remove. The paintings are meant to be somber reminders of real-life struggles and individual human lives. The water is depicted as black, tumultuous, or in extreme close-up as if to engulf and surround the viewer. My intention is to put the viewer in the same position that refugees and migrants are forced into. The works in Adrift represent a loose and unspecified narrative that the viewer can piece together. The images are taken from media sources of the last few years, but they are also meant to represent the long and grim history of perilous ocean crossings, slavery, and human suffering.

 

Bio

Canadian painter Chris Willcox was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. She earned degrees from the Ontario College of Art and Design and the University of Guelph. She earned her MFA from Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University, in New Jersey. She moved to the Twin Cities in 2000 to accept a position at Macalester College in St. Paul, where she is a tenured professor in the Art and Art History department. Her work has been shown at galleries in the U.S. and Canada, with her most recent being at the MAEP galleries at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Phipps Center for the Arts. She is the recipient of numerous grants, including Canada Council and Ontario Arts Council Grants, and most recently in 2013-14, a George and Eliza Gardner Howard Foundation Fellowship in Painting and a Minnesota State Arts Board Grant.

 

MARGERY AMDUR

UNDER COVER by Margery Amdur

September 6 – October 17, 2018

Christensen Center & Gage Family Art Gallery


Artist Talk: Wednesday, October 17, 12:30 p.m.

Adeline Johnson Conference Center

 

Creative Process Panel Discussion:

Wednesday, October 17, 6:30 p.m. Auditorium 150, MCAD


Artist Statement

As an artist, I traverse multiple disciplines and my art does not fit easily into categories.  I have worked for much of my career with landscape and personal typographies as metaphors for cultivating visual tensions where issues of abstraction and representation intersect. If one of the jobs of representation is to show how the world looks, abstraction is free to reflect our sense of what matters in the world.

 

I was trained as an abstract painter; but my work rarely resides within a two-dimensional picture plane.  I use unorthodox materials to build form and mass in ways that include extravagant and ornate surfaces. Additionally, I utilize the installation format as a way to navigate what once existed as a large divide between Painting and Sculpture.  Within this context many of the handcrafted elements can be manipulated to permit recycling and revitalization of older ideas, and can also be tailored to more than one location. I believe that when an artist chooses the installation format as their primary form of expression the relationship between the artist and the viewer/audience, becomes more actively engaged and a richer dialogue inevitably ensues.

 

In the past two years I have produced work that continues to reveal the importance of my hand as a primary tool, and has primarily been oriented for gallery and museum settings. Cosmetic sponges have become my building blocks. By manipulating commercially produced “make-up” sponges I have created formations inspired by natural and architectural geometry.  Luscious and voluptuous constructions have been inspired by “living walls,” basalt formations, and aerial views of sprawling urban metropolises. I build  “poetic moments” that become densely layered and eventually monumental. At the core, my constructions probe an array of paradoxes— organic and inorganic matter, machine manufacturing and handcrafting, permanence and impermanence, beauty and deterioration.

 

Bio

Originally from Pittsburgh, Margery Amdur received her B.F.A. from Carnegie-Mellon University and her M.F.A. from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Margery has had over 60 solo and two-person exhibitions. Her international exhibitions include Turkey, Hungary, Poland, England, Iceland, Latvia, and Suriname.

She has been reviewed in national and international publications including Sculpture MagazineNew American PaintingsFiber ArtsNew Art Examinerand Art Papers. In 2014, her work was on the cover of ArtVoices, and will soon be in a third edition of the Manifest International Publications.


For over twenty years, Margery has been actively creating site-specific, indoor and outdoor temporary and permanent art installations. In 2012, she completed Walking on Sunshine, a permanent public art project, in the Spring Garden underground-subway station, Philadelphia, PA. In the fall of 2015, as part of the Art in Airport Program, Margery created My Nature, a mixed-media, and site-specific installation in Terminal B, at the Philadelphia International Airport. As part of her six-week residency at Central European University, Budapest, Hungary, she and a group of students created Inside/Out, an installation in the interior of one of elevators on CEU campus. In 2016 and 2017 the US Embassy selected Amass #16 to be installed in the US Ambassador’s Residence, in Riga, Latvia. Amass #17 was permanently installed in the newly completed US Embassy Headquarters in Paramaribo, Suriname.

Spring 2018 should prove to be a dynamic and productive period. Margery will be exhibiting her work in Material Slip, an international exhibition at the University of Hawaii. In April, she returns to Riga, Latvia as artist in residence at the University of Art and Design. In addition, she currently has an installation in Riga’s Sixth International Textile Fiber Triennial at the Museum of Applied Arts and Exhibition Hall Arsenals. As the recipient of the Jerry Shore Fellowship Margery will spent the month of May at the Vermont Studio Center. Fall of 2018, She will be exhibiting a new installation, in the Gage ad Christensen Center Gallery at Augsburg University, Minneapolis MN.

 

margeryamdur.com