SCAD’s deFINE ART Festival Begins February 17

Xu Bing's Tobacco Project uses tobacco—as a material and a subject—to explore a wide range of issues, from global trade and exploitation to the ironies of advertising a harmful substance.
Xu Bing’s Tobacco Project uses tobacco—as a material and a subject—to explore a wide range of issues, from global trade and exploitation to the advertising of a harmful substance.

The Savannah College of Art and Design’s annual contemporary art showcase, deFINE ART Festival, which brings major art figures to the Peach State, will kick off its sixth year this Tuesday, February 17, and will feature a number of lectures, exhibitions, and performances in both Savannah and Atlanta.

The festival’s keynote speaker is Chinese artist Xu Bing, who will give a talk on February 17 in Savannah and on February 19 in Atlanta. His exhibition at the SCAD Museum of Art, “Things Are Not What They First Appear,” will feature work from his Tobacco Project and Background Stories series.

Nari Ward's <i>Mango Tourists</i>, 2011; foam, battery canisters, Sprague Electric Company resistors and capacitors, mango pits.
Nari Ward, Mango Tourists, 2011; foam, battery canisters, Sprague Electric Company resistors and capacitors, mango pits.

At the SCAD Museum, a show by New York-based Nari Ward, curated by Laurie Ann Farrell, will feature evocative sculptures and installations that address social, economic, political and racial issues using repurposed materials, like shoelaces and a used piano fitted with metal keys, as well as a newly commissioned film installation, “Spellbound.”

Japanese artist Ryoji Ikeda, known for his immersive installations, sculptures, and performances using small bits of digital data will show two works, and Atlanta artist Caomin Xie will present new paintings based on images of Mars, lunar surfaces and geological formations. Also on view at the museum is an interactive sculptural installation by Serge Alain Nitegeka, and a hand-painted room installation by Michael Lin, as well as an exhibition of garments by late iconic designer Oscar de la Renta, curated by SCAD trustee and Vogue contributing editor André Leon Talley.

On view at SCAD’s offsite Gutstein Gallery through April 3, the show “Linear Abstraction,” co-curated by Alexander Sachs and Aaron Levi Garvey, features the work of Walead Beshty, Marco Breuer, Michelle Grabner, Terry Haggerty, and others, who, despite their stylistic diversity, share a common approach to their work through the use of linear and geometric forms. At the Pinnacle Gallery, SCAD alumnus Scott Carter has transformed the space into an immersive sculptural installation by carving into the gallery walls.

SCAD’s Atlanta campus will present dystopian exhibitions by New York-based Matthew Day Jackson and Danish artist Jesper Just, in addition to a show, “Imprint,” by alumna Naimar Ramírez that conveys the artist’s interest in cultural anthropology and communication in works fashioned from handmade paper that she molded to surfaces in her immediate surroundings.

Scott Carter's "The Shape of Things" installed at Beers Contemporary in London in 2014.
Scott Carter’s “The Shape of Things” installed at Beers Contemporary in London in 2014.

Just’s film Llano, filmed in the desert outside Los Angeles, is based on the early 20th-century utopian community, Llano Del Dio, which failed due to lack of water. Jackson’s show “There Will Come Soft Rains,” which takes its name from the 1920 poem by Sara Teasdale that imagines a destroyed world reclaimed by nature, addresses the loss of the American dream through prints the artist made from unrealized Audubon plates and images from his personal history.

Visit the deFINE ART website for more information.

Jesper Just, stills from Llano, 2012; single channel Blu-ray video.
Jesper Just, stills from Llano, 2012; single channel Blu-ray video.
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