RAINA BELLEAU, SHAMUS CLISSET, MARIA MOLTENI, ANDREA WOLF
JANUARY 23RD - AUGUST 29TH
Woander confronts our heavily mediated relationship with nature. Works by Raina Belleau, Andrea Wolf, Shamus Clisset, and Maria Molteni approach the great outdoors by calling a keen attention to common cliches, taboos, disruptions, past-times, and memories associated with our organic surroundings. By configuring selections of faux materials, documentations, and objects, the artists in Woander have produced works that mirror a traditional view of flora and fauna, while also critiquing our archetypal attitudes encompassing these subjects. House plants, home movies, astroturf, faux furs, recyclables, and digital screens are arranged as a sort of back-handed homage to our domestic actions in relation to our greater surroundings.
Woander is a forced combination of the words Wonder and Wander, spawning from wanderlust as a yearned-for human experience with the universe. We were defining wonder as an opposite to wander, as the latter is a physical action and the former can be understood as procrastination in relation. Neither come to any tangible fruition, but both are integral to our experience and relationship to the outside world.
Using an astute combination of man-made materials and anthropomorphism in her character-driven installations, Raina Belleau is constantly alluding to the human element and its effect on the natural world. Belleau presents simple environmental reminders by orchestrating aesthetically elaborate displays through an exquisite selection of material and composition. Belleau's video installation, Brood, depicts the artist dressed in a camouflage costume complete with whooping crane puppets on both hands. Based on outfits worn by conservationist biologists in an effort to avoid avian/human bonding, the crane puppets pull raspberries from a bowl to feed the disguised mouth of the artist. Her sculptures and installations embody her awkward feeling towards nature; an ache to connect while remaining distanced and separate.
Shamus Clisset's compositions question the impossible by using known imagery and objects in imagined space. Rendered natural materials and textures are frozen uncomfortably at disconcerting angles, defying traditional gravity and adhering instead to Clisset's own set forces. Mr. Realistic (Keeping America Clean) is a life-sized raytraced-image c-print of a homeless Merlin-type meets seaweed cosplay, set in a murder scene of a Law & Order episode. Grizzly Chair focuses on a meticulously rendered, larger than life Bear-Skin chair taken from Seth Kinman's 1865 version. Brute-force hunting tools as well as common items associated with luxury sit on and around the chair in front of whimsically painted floral wallpaper. The piece is a marriage of sought-out enjoyment and revelry of the natural world with the urge for re-organization and control over it. Dizzying and responsive, the individual elements of these compositions come alive and mirror our complex relationships with those elements in our traditional lives.
Andrea Wolf presents two prints of photographs of the moon alongside an intimate projection of found-astronaut-footage from 1963. Her installation evokes a sense of nostalgia while triggering a barrage of memories surrounding the sky, the stars, the heavens, and the moon. The work calls attention to the absence of personal experience and memory of the moon through it's presentation as ephemeral material, while also reminiscent of Mom and Pop's home movies or photo albums. She is considering memory as both a personal and collective experience; wonder that is transferred and exchanged from person to person.
A site-specific installation by Maria Molteni is a projection room slowly pulsing and transitioning through various color filters cued to a soundtrack of droning cicadas. Complimenting the immersive installation, sculptural and found objects catch the reflected light of a tanning bed projection behind a curtain or through a peephole. Molteni views this pulse, this drone, as a reference to environmental and biological cycles; "the electromagnetic (visible) spectrum, sunrise/setting, seasonal recreation, insect mating patterns" to name a few.