On view: September 8, 2020
BOUNDLESS is an exhibition of artists who defy traditional constraints of materials while addressing issues of memory, place, language, and hope.
"We are living in a time when most of our society has acknowledged we can do better than this. We are questioning collective memories and histories, and toppling monuments that reflect stories we no longer want to honor. We are re-examining previous notions of gender and discovering multiple universes occurring simultaneously. We are all urged to imagine a different (perfect?) world. The artists in Boundless share their visions of possibilities by looking at the past with a new perspective, repurposing ordinary materials to create magic, or moving beyond prescribed arbitrary borders. These artists examine preconceived notions of memory, place, and language, and provide a sense of hope. Our current circumstances demand that we rethink every aspect of how we exist. When we cannot continue to move forward as usual, we must call into question every aspect of how we live. We are living in a time that is Boundless." - Beth Sale, Curator
Don Chambers’ investigations of memory and decay take a multitude of forms. Verses is a series of black-out poetry explorations in which Chambers uses white paint to eliminate all but a few words from the pages of a large old manuscript: the Bible. Many Southerners can relate to the desire to re-examine this text, and to the search for new meaning, lightness, and joy within its pages. With the title of another of his series Cryptomnesia, the artist refers to a condition in which someone forgets they have previously seen or heard something and thinks erroneously that they have invented the idea. For these artworks, he collects vintage photographs, cuts them into strips, and collages them into weavings exposing the handwritten notation on the backsides. In this way, he honors memory and calls on nostalgia while freeing the viewer from the particulars. Metal is often used to build futuristic objects like skyscrapers and cars. Chambers utilizes found metal pieces in an entirely different way. Encouraging the rusting process over paper, Chambers incorporates the rust into his paintings and drawings in his Lowerings series. Once again, Chambers is taking a strong valuable material linked with permanence and an immovable presence and repurposing it, essentially erasing its past and denying the most likely future in favor of boundless possibilities. The titles for paintings are from Verses poems.
In his series “Where” Derek Faust utilizes found road debris such as broken glass and displaced car parts to create assemblages fraught with anxiety. Faust draws on the viewer’s own memories and desires as unseen essential components of these artworks. Beach scenes are incorporated in various ways (a discarded license plate is stacked on a shelf and a lost sun shield hangs on the wall) combining the allure of freedom and relaxation experienced on a vacation with the danger of a car crash on the voyage, intertwining fear and longing all found on the road. The many underlying metaphors in Derek’s “Where” series include the unknown potential the mystery, of leaving where you are to get where you want to be.
Alex McClay utilizes a variety of unusual materials, such as emergency blankets, surveyor’s tape, boundary marking flags, and hot pink mason line, to explore various aspects of communication. With a history of bookmaking, McClay regularly inserts text into her work, such as the kimono fashioned from the shiny silver of an emergency blanket with the words “IF ONLY” repeated as a pattern. (On first view, the glimmering garment seems glamorous, almost frivolous, until the recognition of the material used transforms the object into a contemplation on trauma. In her artist statement, McClay refers to this material as “a tool in a survivor’s kit.”) In her most recent work, McClay cuts text into boundary-marking flags, to highlight the way we use language to establish boundaries. McClay writes in her artist statement that these boundaries “simultaneously constrain us and set us free.” McClay’s most recent works are baskets woven with hot pink mason line, which is typically used by masons to mark boundaries of their stonework. McClay draws on this typical use to highlight the boundaries of inner body and external world.
Katherine McCullough creates abstract images with a skilled hand and a designer’s eye for color, evoking a sense of open space. She often blocks out or paints over large areas of an artwork, giving the viewer the freeing feeling of a freshly de-cluttered closet, keeping only what is absolutely loved, cherished, and necessary. The work she shares in BOUNDLESS moves beyond the confines of a rectangular support. Swaths of color, drawn lines and blocked forms, along with subtle gestures, such as a bundle of painted wood, defy expectations and assert themselves off the canvas and onto the wall. McCullough is invested in her process, as is evident in the hand-painted ribbon of braided wire used in Roomy. The fragility of these components is meaningful. She writes in her artist statement “This work focuses on the part we humans cobble together seeking hope – those rare, fragile certainties. Each collection of material is evidence of making, perhaps reflecting the way we carry our beliefs around with us, solid yet shimmering around the edges, a confident pebble in the pocket of uncertainty.”
Paula Reynaldi creates organic shapes from masking tape. Both the forms, which often resemble honeycombs, and the material are familiar. However, the scale and the presentation are novel, innovative, and startling. By transforming common masking tape into organic forms, Reynaldi’s work subtly suggests alternate realities, parallel universes perhaps. She provides viewers with glimpses of possibilities hidden in plain sight. Her latest work includes the use of theatrical lighting, evoking otherworldly locations. Reynaldi often expands her art practice beyond the studio and gallery setting. Several of her projects have taken place outdoors, in the relatively wild settings of the Birchmore Trail at Memorial Park and Lake Herrick. Nestling her creations in these natural environments, Reynaldi is simultaneously highlighting the former single-use aspect of the material and offering a new life, allowing masking tape to serve an atypical role as art material and a beloved ephemeral object, rather than a tool or device implemented to adhere an asset to another surface. Reynaldi writes in her artist statement “beauty and a pattern of creation reside in all materials.”
BOUNDLESS will be on view in the Upper Atrium and South Gallery.
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Pictured: Top: Derek Faust, Lower, Alex McClay
BOUNDLESS artist bios
Don Chambers, a long-time Athens resident, is well-known as a musician, both as a solo-performing artist and for his former band GOAT. He studied art at UGA, earning an MFA. Chambers teaches at the University of Georgia, Athens Technical College, and Common Good Atlanta.
Derek Faust is a visual artist living and working in Athens, Georgia. He received his MFA from Georgia State University and BFA from the Oregon College of Art and Craft. Faust’s work has been exhibited nationally at institutions including the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, ATHICA, MINT, Solcumb Gallery (TN), and the Herberger Institute for Design and Arts (AZ).
Faust’s studio practice ranges widely and is often inspired from places and objects found through his travels and daily life. The versatile use of materials and processes in his work allows him to create ever changing situations and assemblages. Faust is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of Doppler Projects, an experimental curatorial collective that responds to spaces, art and concepts with uniquely curated exhibitions.
Alex McClay is a third year MFA candidate in Studio Art in the School of Art at the University of Georgia. She received her BFA in Studio Art with an emphasis in photography and sculpture from the University of Cincinnati in Ohio in 2014. She was a Core Fellow at Penland School of Craft in North Carolina from 2016-2018, where she studied printmaking, book arts and papermaking. McClay’s work takes many forms; including fine press limited edition books, art publications, textiles, videos, and installations. Through narrative, text, material, and the body, McClay’s work questions the power dynamics present in our most intimate and vulnerable spaces.
Katherine McCullough received her MFA in Visual Art from Washington University in St. Louis in 2011 and her BFA from the University of Georgia in Painting in 2009. She has exhibited in both solo and group shows at various venues in St. Louis. Since returning to Athens in 2014, she has exhibited locally at Trio Contemporary, KA Artist Shop and Gallery, and was selected to show in the Lyndon House Juried Shows in 2016 (recipient of Merit Award) and 2017. McCullough participated in a residency at The Luminary (St. Louis) in 2011 and later co-founded and operated Enamel, an experimental artist-run space and gallery in St. Louis from 2012 to 2013.
Paula Reynaldi was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she studied music. She is a sculptor, installation artist and art educator based in Athens, Georgia. She has exhibited her work in galleries in Athens, Atlanta, Ohio and Buenos Aires, and has done installations on trails in the woods and other public spaces. She was awarded a juror-selected winner prize in the 2019 Gathered biennial exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia and selected for its Georgia Artists of Hispanic/Latinx Origin in 2020.