A leisurely walk around downtown New Haven will reveal a multitude of projects around Yale, including renovations and restorations of Ezra Stiles College, the Payne-Whitney Gym, Battell Chapel, the Yale Bookstore, and the Yale University Art Gallery. This construction fever has spread across the Green to Artspace as well. Now through September 10th, come see Construction Sights, our new show drawn from the Flat File, a collection of works on paper by over 100 artists. Construction Sights, curated by Lindsay Miller, Ilana Harris-Babou, and Nadia Westenburg, emphasizes the ability of an artist’s work to become a location for construction and deconstruction. Throughout the exhibition, artists use paper as not only a structural foundation, but as a primary building material as well. At the same time, the negative space of unfilled paper is interpreted as both a platform for creation and a creation on its own.
The theme of construction is approached from a multitude of viewpoints throughout this one-room show. Sun K. Kwak approaches paper through collage, choosing to assemble various ink and watercolor-strewn papers into a freeform shape, creating a form that not only moves within itself, but one that also seems to expand over the space around. Titled Enclosed Park, this collage creates a bold presence of fluid forms and stark, sinuous lines.
Zachary Keeting chooses an opposite direction in using paper as a foundation for construction instead of as the construction material. December (1) is a beautifully abstract construction of wide swaths of color that intersect and flow around the composition, each a bolder and richer hue than the next. The piece truly defines the theme of construction, the overlapping forms alluding to multiple layers of paint built one on top of the other.
Across the room from December (1) hangs From Candidates Triptych, a triptych of inkjet prints that uses photography to allude to the same kind of constructed paper collage found in Enclosed Park. Keith Johnson lays out three grids, each containing multiple views of peeling campaign posters belonging to three different political candidates. In each section, the posters have weathered to frayed and wrinkled sheets of paper, partially obscuring the candidates’ faces and political motives. The photographer has chosen to show the natural deconstruction of paper that has in turn created a work much more intriguing than untouched, perfect posters.
Though paper constitutes the majority of the body of works in Construction Sights, Kristen Rea Simonsen takes a departure from the group by using thinly cut sheets of wood as a base for reserved, almost sedate illustrations in her works Semi-Detached II &III. In turn, Simonsen addresses the theme of construction from the view of its end result, two cookie-cutter houses, set apart in a presumably recently constructed suburban neighborhood. Meanwhile, her use of a traditional building material such as wood connects the work to the theme of construction on a literal level.
Located in Gallery 5, Construction Sights contains work by Ilona Anderson, Christopher Beauchamp, Marion Belanger, John Bent, Robert DiMatteo, Stephen Grossman, Keith Johnson, Zachary Keeting, Sun K. Kwak, Billie Mandle, Tim Nikiforuk, Gabriela Salazar, and Kristen Rea Simonsen.
Jeremy Wolin is a High School sophomore who attends the Educational Center for the Arts when he is not an intern at Artspace