June 29th, 2019 (San Francisco, CA) — Eleanor Harwood Gallery is pleased to present the group exhibition: “What Is Left Behind”. The exhibition is curated by Chloe Ghillani.
By investigating the diverse practices of Pegan Brooke, Caroline Charuk, Alika Cooper, Ricki Dwyer, and Margaret Timbrell, “What Is Left Behind” comments on the often overlooked interactions of humans and their modern commodities and privileges with the environment and society.
The modern world is connected by the infinite longing for efficiencies within all aspects of life, such as within products, services, relationships, and labels. The term efficient is meant to describe the ability of society to receive almost anything quickly, easily, painlessly, and cheaply. These desired capabilities can be blinding towards the ways they can affect the environment, the lives of others, and oneself. Often producing contradicting and unexpected outcomes, these interactions between people and the need for those efficiencies are within human nature and cannot be classified as all positive or negative. Operating within this environment can be challenging, thrilling, shocking, and leave one in awe, but observing, commenting, documenting, and creating are ways of navigating through it.
The term summer may be contradictory to some residing in the Bay Area based on the fluctuating and often chilly weather. Warm beach days are hard to come by, but Alika Cooper’s ongoing body of work, Wet Suits, brings the nostalgia of sunny and hot days to the gallery. These bronze suits are created through the process of “lost-wax” casting, but in this case, no mold is created for her suits deeming them one of a kind. The replaced original fabric of the bathing suits, either it be polyester or nylon, is composed of society’s cheap and efficient alternative to natural fibers— human-made plastic fibers. These flexible soft plastic-based fibers will basically last forever in nature, comparable to its bronze replacement. Another contradictory reality; but in this instance, most people tend to not acknowledge it within our consumer and “throw-away culture” society.
Within the gallery, Alika’s bronze Wet Suit X and XI appear to be soaked golden fabric bathing suits tossed on the ground and left to become stiff, perhaps grow mold, and even forgotten. The placement of this installation forces the viewer to walk around the suits invoking the negligence of the person flinging them aside. Ignoring a simple action such as hanging a suit up to dry or discarding trash in the correct bin also highlights the ingenuous and grotesqueness of the action itself. The installation acts as a stage for exposing the vulnerable natural figure stripped of its garments, reducing it to a “shapeless” gender neutral body. More from Alika, “For me, the process of turning fabric into sculpture opened up another possibility through which to explore the absence and representation of the female form in the popular imagination. Whereas the fabric paintings render a delicate, softer touch, the bronze sculptures challenge the use of materials classically associated with a male ego and its monumentalizing.”
Pegan Brooke’s two paintings included in the show are apart of her “Light on Water” series. This series asks viewers to pause and observe their interactions with nature and marvel at its elements to provoke thought. Instead of glaring down at a phone recording the sunset on the water, why not take a moment to enjoy it in real life? The two paintings depict the sublime moment of light reflecting off of water— little specks of light are illuminated, dancing a continuous rhythm, disguised as little insects for fish to jump at, always reoccurring. While viewing her work, one may think of external elements existing in bodies of waters that draw attention or hide in it. Relating to the observation mentioned earlier about Alika’s work, an example may be plastics and micro-plastics. Plastic never will fully biodegrade; their fate is to break down into smaller pieces bit by bit. To top it off, they are constantly being added into the natural environment and the food chain. When viewing her work in person, it is clear that her technique drives her work. It promotes a musing, yet efficient way to view light, perspective, and her form of information: brush strokes. Her marks act as a language hiding tons of information and perspective by viewing one angle of the painting, but instantly a whole new plethora of data is revealed when walking over to the other side of the piece. Pegan’s pieces do not only promote physical movement, but mental stimulation as well.
Caroline Hayes Charuk creates critical and often humorous pieces that discuss her identifying space as a queer woman within her family and society by utilizing and representing materials, such as textiles, embellishments, and consumer-grade craft, often associated with specific genders. Caroline’s and other works in this show have chosen objects that are composed of a material paradoxical to their actual make-up and societal reference. Caroline’s two featured pieces, Brick Sequin String and Brick Sequins 2 “What Is Left Behind”, appear to be a string or slash of large sequins. Brick Sequin String was painted metallic to further mimic a plastic sequin’s appearance. These pieces are composed of fragile terra cotta and paint, which is revealed when the backs of the sequins are shown. In Caroline’s words, “I often joked that my (former) studio was within walking distance to Michael’s and Home Depot, and that really forms the basis of my aesthetics. I’m super interested in how that sort of big box store-driven hand-making and materialism intersects with capitalist consumerism, and feel like one can look at it either cynically or sincerely, or both at once.”
Ricki Dwyer’s featured diptych MP301.GP301 is a combination of mono and ghost prints. These works conceived as snapshots, hold onto the momentary form of drapery. Ricki spoke about their interest in “memorializing” objects and connecting them to the representation of the body. Similar to Alika and Caroline’s work, Ricki’s piece relates to the materiality of fabric, clothing, and the human form. Fabric production, one of the largest cultural commodities around the world, directly relates to the topic of fast-fashion. By framing their pieces with wood that was once from a hand-operated loom, Ricki “memorializes” the human-fueled tool that is now replaced by mechanical looms and other machines involved in the larger corporate cloth, clothing, and textile industry. Fast-fashion may be the most efficient and affordable way of creating and obtaining clothes, but the quality of the stitch and fibers used often regresses. As well as impacts on factory worker’s physical health, well-being, and the environment.
Margaret Timbrell’s creative practice highlights the peculiar moments of language and social constructs geared towards herself as a woman, mother, and artist through the traditional process of needlework. One of Margaret’s pieces included within the show, Ode to On Kawara, powerfully states, “I AM STILL ALIVE”, in all caps stitched in the color red on a hot pink background. The statement speaks to On Kawara’s series, “Today”, where the artist painted the date every day from 1996 until he passed away in 2014. Margaret followed him on Twitter and noticed that the account tweeted “I AM STILL ALIVE” every day. Not knowing that he has passed, she strongly sympathized with the statement and related it to her own tragic experience of cheating death during a major life-altering accident. After learning of his death, she was astonished that an algorithm was placed on the account to continue his work indefinitely. This statement is extremely relatable to all the works and concepts within the show; either applied to wide-spread views about the environment, society, or capitalistic consumer culture, the statement empowers the impacted.
About the Artists in the Exhibit:
Pegan Brooke makes paintings inspired by her studio environs in Bolinas and San Francisco, California and maintains a parallel practice of creating video/poems shot by the Aven River in Pont-Aven, France. Light falling on water as a visual metaphor for the fleeting quality of experience is a central theme of the work. Brooke has exhibited extensively, and her work is owned by the Guggenheim Museum, New York; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Des Moines Art Museum; the Swig Collection, San Francisco; and the Anderson Collection, Menlo Park, California. Her work has been widely reviewed, including in Art in America, The New York Times, and Artweek.
Caroline Hayes Charuk lives and works in Philadelphia, PA, after an eight-year stint in Oakland, CA. She holds a BFA from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, and an MFA from California College of the Arts. Caroline spent two years as an organizing member of CTRL+SHFT Collective, a studio and exhibition space for women, non-binary, and trans-spectrum artists in the Bay Area. Her work has been exhibited at Berkeley Art Museum, the Craft and Folk Art Museum, Interface Gallery, Alter Space Gallery, and with artist-run projects Outback Art House, The Bedfellows Project, and The White Page.
Alika Cooper was born in Guam in 1979. Cooper received both her MFA and BFA from California College of the Arts, San Francisco, CA. Solo and two-person exhibitions include Wabi Sabi Lobby, Redling Fine Art, Los Angeles; Madeline Cake SITUATIONS, New York; Buoy, Odd Ark LA, Los Angeles, Wet Suits Good Weather Gallery, Little Rock; Have A Sex Fort Gondo, Saint Louis; The Disguised Edge MULHERIN, Toronto; UPBRAID Night Gallery, Los Angeles; and GLASS Eleanor Harwood Gallery, San Francisco. Cooper was the recipient of the Rema Hort Mann Foundation grant, the MagicTrillium Press Yesland Prize, and the Jack and Gertrude Murphy Fellowship. She has participated in The Viewing Program at The Drawing Center, New York; MOTION PICTURE at The Saint Louis Art Museum. Alica Cooper was Artist in Residence at Galleria Studio Legale in Marzano Appio, Italy and at Marble House Project, Dorset, Vermont.
Ricki Dwyer is a visual artist and educator born in Los Angeles in 1990. They received
their BFA in Fibers at the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2011 and MFA from
UC Berkeley in 2019. They have had solo exhibitions at The White Page Gallery,
Minneapolis; the Textile Arts Center, Brooklyn; Nook Gallery, Oakland; and Oros Gallery,
San Francisco. They have been included in many group shows, including at Hume
Gallery, Chicago; Spaceworks, Brooklyn; CTRL+SHIFT Collective, Oakland. They have
attended residencies at Jupiter Woods Gallery, London and Andrea Zittel’s AZ West,
California among many others. They have received the Murphy & Cadogan
Contemporary Art Award and the Emerging Scholar Award from the Queer Cultural
Center in San Francisco. They have taught at UC Berkeley; the Black Mountain School;
and the Textile Arts Center. Ricki lives and works in San Francisco.
Margaret Timbrell is a conceptual needlework artist with a multi-disciplinary degree from NYU. Her work is inspired by various influences (such as technology, parenthood, perseverance and failure) that alter language and engagement. Timbrell has exhibited at the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles, Root Division, SoEx, Marin Museum of Contemporary Art and other galleries. She was featured in the SF Examiner, LA Times, Bust Magazine. In 2012 she was selected as a Heart Artist for SF General’s annual fundraiser. From 2015 to 2017 Timbrell participated in the StARTup Fair. She participated in Lenka Clayton’s Artist Residency in Motherhood and, in 2018, Timbrell was the Artist in Residence at the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles. Currently Timbrell is an Alumni Studio Artist in Residence and a board member at Root Division and a Facility Artist at 1240 Minnesota Street Project. In Fall of 2019 she will have a solo show, Running Stitches, at the San Francisco School of Needlework and Design.
About Eleanor Harwood Gallery
Eleanor Harwood Gallery opened September 2006. The programming of the gallery focuses on emerging to mid-career artists exhibiting nationally and internationally. The roster includes artists that are represented in major American and European collections. The gallery actively promotes and encourages career growth for represented artists.
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