September 20 – October 31, 2000
Beaver College Art Gallery
Guest Curator: Alex Baker
Susan Arthur, Aaron Igler, Nancy Lewis, and Matthew Wine
Beaver College Art Gallery is pleased to present “A Closer Look: 4,” the fourth in a biennial series of exhibitions that presents in greater depth works by area artists previously included in the gallery’s juried “Works on Paper” exhibitions. Curated by Alex Baker, former associate curator of the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, the exhibition features recent projects by Susan Arthur, Aaron Igler, Nancy Lewis, and Matthew Wine. On view from September 20 through October 31, 2000, the show opens with a public conversation between Baker and the participating artists in Stiteler Auditorium at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 20th, followed immediately by the opening reception in the art gallery. All of the artists selected for “A Closer Look: 4” share an affinity for both oblique narrative and a deceptively capricious formalism. Whether personal, fictional, whimsical, or disturbing – the storytelling employed is frequently deferred and indirect. Lightness in attitude, composition, and even subject matter provide points of entry into often more complicated ways of representing the world and the self.
Susan Arthur’s recent color photographs depict marshmallow “peeps” (candy chicks, ghosts, jack-o-lanterns, and snowmen that she places in natural, outdoor settings to create fanciful, diorama-like compositions that are also reminiscent of still-lifes. Although “peeps” may be perceived as cute, harmless, inanimate confections, a poignant anthropomorphism and loneliness haunts these vibrant pictures. Arthur received her M.A. in art history from the University of Texas, Austin before becoming director of the Houk Friedman and Edwynn Houk Galleries in New York. “A Closer Look: 4” is her first major exhibition since she returned to Philadelphia last year when her work was included in “Works on Paper” (1999), selected by James Elaine, then curator of The Drawing Center, New York.
Nancy Lewis’s paintings, drawings, and prints employ a vocabulary that includes fireworks, flames, diamonds and other archetypal symbols that she revisits to convey her emotional state at the time each work was created. For “A Closer Look: 4,” she will present her first site-specific work, a 16-ft. image of a roller coaster. Rendered in pencil on the gallery wall, Lewis uses this undulating motif both as an emotional trope and as a reflexive exercise to explore the process of drawing itself. She will also be represented by a selection of computer prints and a large-scale canvas depicting a vast sea of fire. Lewis received her B.A. from San Francisco State University and her M.F.A. from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and is currently a member of Vox Populi. She was selected for “Works on Paper” (1996) by Bill Arning–then director of White Columns, New York.
Matthew Wine will present a series of new works made from foam carpet-backing, a speckled, multicolored material that he manipulates into a surprising variety of eccentric, three-dimensional volumes. Resembling otherworldly creatures familiar from science fiction narratives, these biomorphic abstractions also reference the sick or expelling body. Wine cites Eva Hesse and Lynda Benglis – and their attention to the materiality of form – as influences on this work. A recipient of a B.F.A. from Virginia Commonwealth University, Wine graduated with an M.F.A. from Tyler School of Art last spring. He was included in the “Works on Paper” (1999) juried by James Elaine.
Aaron Igler is a photographer, video artist, and musician who is interested in the chance intersection of images and sounds. For his video projection, Models for the Floatable Delay of Light (2000), a pair of video loops depicting light reflected from rotating, prism-like surfaces joins a third image of an illuminated object darting across a South Philadelphia sky. The three loops are accompanied by a dense audio-track of synthesized sound accessed via headphones plugged into a custom seating unit. The repetition of visual and aural stimuli creates a hypnotic environment that offers viewers the opportunity to create an individualized interior space while constructing their own associative narratives. Igler attended Munson Williams Proctor Institute (Utica, New York) before receiving his B.F.A. in photography from the University of the Arts, Philadelphia. He was included in “Works on Paper” (1996), selected by Bill Arning. Until June of this year, guest curator Alex Baker was associate curator of the ICA, Philadelphia, a position he’d held since 1996. During his tenure there he developed numerous exhibitions featuring the work of international as well as area artists – including “Biographies: Philadelphia Narratives,” which he co-curated with Judith Tannenbaum. Baker also conceived and organized the wildly popular “Sticker Shock” (1998) and this spring’s “Indelible Market” (part of the exhibition “Wall Power”). Now an independent curator, Baker is currently completing his doctorate in Cultural Anthropology at Temple University. He will return to the ICA in May, 2000, as a guest curator of “East Meets West: ‘Folk’ and Fantasy from the Coasts,” an exhibition featuring three Philadelphia artists and three San Franciscans.
“A Closer Look” was initiated in 1995 as a biennial series to present more comprehensively the work of artists who have been included in the gallery’s juried “Works on Paper” shows. The series provides an opportunity to consider an expanding roster of Philadelphia-based artists in the context of small group shows underscoring relationships among the exhibited works. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and weekends Noon to 4pm Funded by a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the Friends and Advisory Board of the Beaver College Art Gallery.