Duncan Johnson at Marcia Wood Gallery
Duncan Johnson’s compositions conflate the formal elements of abstract painting with a sculptors nod to reverence for materials in his current exhibition at Marcia Wood Gallery [April 18-May 25, 2013]. Johnson gathers his materials from landfills and construction sites in his home state of Vermont and then composes the individual pieces into rectangular planes. The compositions mimic the standardized format of a canvas as opposed to a more sculptural construction. The organization of the wood’s patinas and painted colors into a flat surface makes subtle reference to the symmetry of a Gee’s Bend quilt or the geometric order of a Peter Halley painting. Like other artists using found wood as source material, such as Cordy Ryman or Atlanta-based BORN, the life and history of the materials becomes as interesting as the artists re-contextualization of the wood into a new type of object. The individual components of each composition are both referential and abstracted in a way that begs associations with the viewers own memory bank. Each texture pulls the viewer into the composition. It is the richness of these materials and the care with which Johnson arranges them that prevents the work from becoming decorative and easily overlooked.
BORN at Swan Coach House Gallery
Currently on view at the Swan Coach House Gallery is WABI SABI: New Works by BORN, the current 2012-2013 Emerging Artist Winner from the Forward Arts Foundation [April 18-June 1, 2013]. A former street artist, BORN has certainly arrived—now landing in the Buckhead gallery landscape. Inspired by the Japanese tenant of wabi sabi, BORN’s work certainly nods to beauty through imperfection while also serving as formal, decorative constructions. Taking a ‘street conversation’ into the gallery changes the works’ context dramatically, while simultaneously blurring said monikers. Overall, the exhibition is beautifully installed and executed: Individual works stand independent but also depend on each other for fuller depth. Simple material transformation is perhaps the most powerful element in the works: Found wood and objects such as string, tarnished or rusting metals—unfortunately described on the checklist as “mixed media” (though viewers are able to discern and identify components rather easily)—transcend function into staid monolithic sculptures. The most successful works imply dynamic activity either via compositional gesturing or through use of titles to imply music.
Something in Particular’s ArtShow Exhibition #1, at Telephone Factory Lofts
As the title suggests, hopefully there are more exhibition iterations to follow from this “creatives” collective. Something In Particular is an initiative formed by Cubby West, James Martin and Melonie Tharpe, which began as a Southeastern road trip across 18 cities and 32 days to meet fellow regional creatives and film a documentary about the process and people met along the way. This current exhibition, on view in a generous and open downstairs floor plan of the Telephone Factory Lofts, brings 10 artists from 10 cities together in Atlanta for one month [April 27-May 26, 2013]. The exhibition reads as an ambitious DIY regional art fair: fresh, invigorating, with hit-or-miss work. Standouts include Heather Gordon’s Small Talk series—pen and ink drawings on NY Times newspaper pages; Nancy Cheairs’s large watercolors on paper of altered paper dolls—The Floating World #1 and The Floating World #2, both 2007—feel handled with a similar aesthetic sensability as some shaker spirit drawings; and the installation of Rachel Herrick‘s Museum of Obeast Converservation Studies was exciting to finally see in person. It is a perfect balance of presentation, thorough analytical research, and humorous approach. The exhibition’s closing promises to include an oversized sculpture (that shoots rubber-chickens onto the Beltline) by Sean “Jinx” Pace and a screening of the SIP documentary.
Exhibition hours during its final week: Wednesday through Sunday 1-4pm with a closing party on Sunday May 26th from 4-8pm.
House rules for commenting:
1. Please use a full first name. We do not support hiding behind anonymity.
2. All comments on BURNAWAY are moderated. Please be patient—we’ll do our best to keep up, but sometimes it may take us a bit to get to all of them.
3. BURNAWAY reserves the right to refuse or reject comments.
4. We support critically engaged arguments (both positive and negative), but please don’t be a jerk, ok? Comments should never be personally offensive in nature.