Our first Kingston Gallery event, Where The Heart Lives, on June 2, the last day of Ilona Anderson’s exhibit, What One Is, drew a great crowd, despite the heat, and sparked a terrific discussion. The conversation focused on the theme of visual artists who are not working in their country of origin, and whether that fact influences the life and work of the artist. We invited Ambreen Butt (Pakistan), Natasha Bregel (Russia/Israel), Karen Meninno (India/UK), Gupi Ranganathan (India), and Ahmed Abdalla (Egypt) to join Ilona Anderson to explore the topic, which is an especially pertinent issue in light of the recent events and national debate around immigration.
The artists took the opportunity to speak more from the ‘heart’ than they would otherwise do in a public forum. We plan to have more such events as it allowed artists to engage on a more personal level and to hear from them how their lives are reflected in their work:
“Though I have always resisted categorizing myself as a “multicultural” artist, my two immigrations (as a child from Russia to Israel, and as a teenager from Israel to the United States) have shaped my experience, and probably world view, and do affect my work. I do see how much I rely on a sense of dislocation to engage with my work, often choosing to depict the places with which I now have an outsider’s connection. In this discussion some of the other immigrant artists also talked about looking from the outside in, but others seemed to see themselves as “citizens of the world”. And there was so much more to discuss than time and the consideration of an audience could allow!”
“It was a pleasure to be with other artists who have similar, and dissimilar, experiences with coming from other places. The most interesting thing for me is investigate how much that life experience does permeate the art that we make.”
We thank our speakers and audience for helping make this first event a success, and look forward to planning many more!
Yesterday I had the opportunity to see again the current exhibit, Ilona Anderson’s What One Is, which along with Karen Meninno’s exhibit, Sculpture Remix II in the Member’s Gallery, will be up through June 2 at the Kingston Gallery.
I was drawn again to the many small moments and the repertoire of characters, which inhabit the walls of the installation. As I walked through the literal and figurative space, I was under the spell of the theatricality of the work, and the connection of all the figures to each other. They exist within a frame that is simultaneously interior and exterior, implying both architectural and natural spaces. Who are they? What story do they tell? Whose story is it? What are their secrets? I look forward to the artist revealing the relationship of these players to each other, to her South African roots, and perhaps how they are a way of visually integrating both the past and her homeland to the present. She will have the opportunity to do so in the upcoming panel discussion: Where The Heart Lives on the last day of the exhibit. Please see below for a description of the event. We look forward to a terrific discussion!
Panel discussion: Where The Heart Lives
Closing event for the exhibit – Ilona Anderson: What One Is
Sunday June 2, 4:00-5:00 pm
Reception to follow
Kingston Gallery is hosting Where the Heart Lives – a special event focused on the theme of visual artists who, like Ilona Anderson, are not working in their country of origin, and how that fact pervades the life and work of the artist. To quote Anderson: “Although I have lived in America for many years now, South Africa permeates my experience. Between these two poles my work dangles.” This will be a fascinating topic in light of the recent events and national debate around immigration.
This is the last weekend for the current exhibits at the Kingston Gallery.
Karen Meninno’s Sculpture Remix, Robert Maloney’s Points of Intersection and Susan Scott’s show RighteousOrdinary are up through April 30.
I was struck on this visit by the desire of all three artists to “push” the materials, stretching expectations of what those materials do and what they signify. The artists seek to expand and challenge the limitations of their chosen forms. Collectively these artists push the boundaries of sculpture, painting, and photography. The hybridization of disciplines and materials changes our understanding of what has long separated the forms. Constructed paintings, sculptures transformed by photography, collages that become sculptures – by pushing the expectations the artists also expose the process of making.
They (and the work) seem to say: What if I did this? What if I added that? What would I see? What would the viewer see?
A few doors down, the current exhibit Shifiting Horizon, recent work by Lisa Sigal in the neighboring Samson Projects gallery also resonates with this discussion and, like the exhibits at the Kingston Gallery, is not be missed.
On a recent rainy Friday, I had the pleasure of visiting and considering again the current exhibits – Karen Meninno in the Main Gallery and Robert Maloney in the Center Gallery. These exhibits and Susan Scott’s show Righteous Ordinary are up through April 30 at the Kingston Gallery.
Inspired by architecture and a recent trip to Rome, Karen Meninno’s work, which gestated as small sculptural elements, has evolved to digital wall coverings, displayed as scrolls of almost hallucinatory endless patterns. At first you don’t know what you are looking at – highly decorative, jewel-like images that reflect and mirror themselves. Totems of repetition, shape and colors evocative of another culture, they become both a hybrid and a translation, from sculptural objects to repeated patterns of pure delight. Her work resonates with a strong trend in Europe and here in the States of artists working in a variety of mediums who are creating wallpaper as part of their practice. She is aware of and inspired by many of them, like Kiki Smith, who work with Studio Printworks in New York. The artist seems poised to take orders!
Robert Maloney is also interested in the city, and takes us on a wonderful ride in a postindustrial world. His pieces straddle the line between structures being torn down and those being erected, as well as the elements of modern life that go unnoticed. A recent article in the New York Times, The Poetry in the Ruins of New York speaks to Maloney’s eye and his interest in this subject, and also alerts us to what is unseen. His wall of prints of repeated images push the medium, and explore a place, which becomes, through the treatment of the materials themselves, something new and knowable. A highlight of the exhibit is one of the small evocative sculptures, situated in a high corner, attached to the ceiling, which further explores the edges and disregarded parts of our urban environment. These seem to be an especially strong new direction for the artist, and one that this viewer hopes he continues to follow, bringing his viewers with him.
Meredith Cutler interviews Karen Meninno on the development of the work for her exhibition “Sculpture Remix” (at Kingston through April 28), the relationship between her two- and three-dimensional work, and her thoughts on cities real and imagined as someone born in New Delhi, raised in London and now living outside of Boston.