Social Constructions

Group Exhibition

Social Constructions

May 13 – June 18, 2005

Opening Reception: Friday, May 13, 2005, 7:00 – 9:00pm

Curated by Abner Nolan and Scott Snibbe

In the Main Gallery, Southern Exposure presents Social Construction, an exhibition that consists of works in which the finished piece is substantially or entirely created by other organisms, highlighting the interdependence of artist, medium and society. These works show that human creation has its roots in an unconscious connection to our environment that expands beyond the boundaries of our history, our culture, and our senses of originality and self. Curated by Abner Nolan and Scott Snibbe, the exhibition features work by Barbara Bartos, c a l c (tOmi Scheiderbauer, Teresa Alonso Novo, Luks Brunner and Malex Spiegel) in close collaboration with Johannes Gees, John Knuth, Vitaly Komar (former Komar & Melamid Art Studio), Leah Modigliani, Philip Ross, and Lee Walton.

San Francisco-based Barbara Bartos will exhibit Philosopher’s Stone, a sculptural installation dependent upon a community of bees.  The installation consists of two hollow polyurethane forms in the shape of human brains that become the home for two beehives. Bartos draws a comparison between a beehive and the human brain, suggesting that individual bees function relative to the hive as individual cells in a brain.

c a l c (tOmi Scheiderbauer, Teresa Alonso Novo, Luks Brunner and Malex Spiegel) in close collaboration with Johannes Gees present Communimage, a virtual collective artwork that is composed of 24,000 images contributed from approximately 2,000 individuals from 84 countries. The individual images are quilted together to form a visual global “polylogue” that is rooted in the utopian ideals of Internet art.

Los Angeles-based artist John Knuth relies on an army of flies to produce his series of watercolor paintings. Knuth creates built environments for thousands of flies that digest watercolor paint and deposit small spots of color on white canvases. The resulting compositions are strikingly beautiful, and reflect a futile attempt to control a biological entity.

Russian artist Vitaly Komar (former Komar & Melamid Art Studio) presents sculptures and drawings from the Eco-labor-ation project, in which the artist collaborated with beavers and termites. Komar placed 2 x 4 ready-made pieces of wood in natural habitats, allowing them to be transformed into beaver dams and termite towers. Komar intends the resulting works to symbolize the ecological co-existence of different forms of life and creativity.

Leah Modigliani is an Oakland based artist whose project Acquisition explores issues of authorship and the art economy. She has photographed the exterior of Bay Area contemporary art collectors’ homes and then commissioned artists in China to create new paintings based on these photographic images. By outsourcing her labor, Modigliani is able to produce artwork with a greater profit margin. The artist will use the profit generated by this project to secure the down payment for a home in the Bay Area, making herself complicit in the operations of our global economy.

San Francisco-based sculptor Phil Ross presents three artworks that explore the relationship between measuring time and the life of plants. This project is inspired by the practice of studying growth rings on trees as a means of telling time. Ross reconfigures this relationship in his sculpture, Junior Return, a hydroponic plant whose existence is regulated by a clock. Every sixty seconds, a pump injects a pulse of air into the plant’s environment.  Ross creates a scenario in which human time engulfs and replaces a plant’s natural growth processes.

Lee Walton is New York based conceptual artist whose projects and performances involve human interaction, humor, and an intermingling of rules and chance. In his online project, Red Ball: Manhattan, Walton will place a little red ball in successively specific locations in New York City based on the votes of visitors to his website. The work will culminate in the final precise placement of the ball at a location collectively determined by the community. 

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