ARCHIPELAGO | Works by LMCC’s Swing Space Artists in Residence, NY
Ranging from two-dimensional media and sculptural installations to video and animation, the works of Archipelago represent a vibrant cross-section of new art. Many of the works on view respond to the particular historical and environmental cues of Governors Island, which served various functions as a military base for almost two hundred years and is now being transformed by the City of New York into a large-scale public park.
Works by 17 artists of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Artists-in-Residence, Governor’s Island 2012
January 17 – 27, 2013
Curated by Kaegan Sparks
PR info: Ranging from two-dimensional media and sculptural installations to video and animation, the works of Archipelago represent a vibrant cross-section of new art by Ruta Butkute, Jessica Cannon, Maya Ciarrocchi, Elizabeth Duffy, Laurie Frick, Marina Gutierrez, Sarah Kabot, Jenn Kahn, Patte Loper, Sarada Rauch, Jaye Rhee, Alan Ruiz, Diana Shpungin, Abraham Storer, Kyoco Taniyama, Jeanne Verdoux, and Jenifer Wightman.
Many of the works on view respond to the particular historical and environmental cues of Governors Island, which served various functions as a military base for almost two hundred years and is now being transformed by the City of New York into a large-scale public park. An inherently ambiguous and interstitial space, the isolated landmark stands at a point of anachronistic and atmospheric remove from the imposing skyline of Manhattan’s financial district just across the water. Strewn with long-abandoned forts and residential buildings, much of the island seems an eerie shell of an antiquated coastal defense system, while its harbor vistas and proximity to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island evoke the legendary immigrant influx seminal to so much of New York’s cultural identity. All the more topically in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the multifarious works of Archipelago reflect both the vitality and vulnerability of these sites in relation to one another, as a congregation of islands.
Paintings and video works by Jessica Cannon, Abraham Storer, Ruta Butkute and Sarada Rauch respond to aspects of liminality and tension in the island’s architectural and natural landscapes through perspectival shifts and distortions. Sarah Kabot’s paper sculptures and Elizabeth Duffy’s multimedia installations derive from artifacts found at specific historical locations on the island, including St. Cornelius Chapel, the Coast Guard library, the Admiral’s House, and Pershing Hall. Patte Loper’s paintings and Jeanne Verdoux’s photographs feature tableaux of improvisational sculptures made from materials salvaged on the island, while Marina Gutierrez and Diana Shpungin draw on water’s cultural, symbolic, and biographical valences through an interactive community project and hand-drawn animations. Kyoco Taniyama and Laurie Frick each rely on empirical data from their interaction with the island to create installations around site-specific coordinates and self-tracked commutes, and Alan Ruiz reconfigures the temporary partitions of his Building 110 studio into a sculptural object, as well as diagraming discontinuities and variances between Westbeth and its neighbor Superior Ink, designed by Robert A.M. Stern.
Several artists will present newly developed work that extends beyond the context of the island. In ecologically concerned projects, Maya Ciarrocchi exposes the land and communities affected by mountaintop removal mining in West Virginia through a image-saturated documentary, and Jenifer Wightman cultivates terrarium ‘landscape paintings’ of dynamic bacteria-produced pigments sourced from polluted waterways around New York City. Probing different facets of the commodified precious, Jenn Kahn’s subtly threatening phalanx of porcelain wolves conjures a monument from kitschy, mass-produced miniatures, while Jaye Rhee’s videos incorporate naive and artificial imagery into scenes inspired by European fairy tales adapted to a South Korean cultural context.
Kaegan Sparks writes, edits, researches, and curates in New York City. Her exhibition Prolonged Exposure was presented by Recession Art in November 2012. Previously she directed KWH Art, a gallery at the University of Pennsylvania, and worked in various capacities for the Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative, ICA Philadelphia, Dia:Beacon, The Kitchen, and Parkett. She is currently Special Events and Programming Associate at The Drawing Center, where she will produce the program series Drafts in 2013.
The Westbeth Gallery is a nonprofit gallery operating on the first floor of Westbeth Artists Housing in the West Village of New York City. It exhibits the work of resident artists and independently curated exhibitions.