About the Exhibition
CCBC Essex Gallery
Bohlander - Chipps - Hileman - Hutton - Kyner - Tolbert
This exhibition is an example of something that is important to remember in this strange time period we are living through: connectivity.
A majority of the artists in “Intersections” have worked together/shown together, or have had some prior artistic relationship, whether it was through peer-to-peer critique, or mentor to mentee interaction.
As a faculty member here at CCBC (and having taught at other institutions) Trisha Kyner is the hub of the wheel for “Intersections.” Kyner’s interactions with Skip Chipps, Jani Hileman, Sara Hutton, and Lauren Tolbert provided the framework for the exhibition, which explores the conceptual and technical connections of their work.
A new “intersection” occurred completely by accident (something one of my own mentors would have called a “happy accident”) when the work for “Intersections” began arriving in the gallery. I couldn’t help but notice how the texture and palette of Jeff Bohlander’s work fit so well with the pieces in “Intersections.” Bohlander’s mixed media pieces were waiting to be picked up from an exhibition that had been switched from physical to virtual in the wake of the pandemic.
The meeting of these works- those slated for “Intersections” and Bohlander’s from the now postponed “A Thousand Words, Vol. 3” coming together in such a way… It's the type of kismet that I did not expect to experience at this moment in time.
But it was one that fit the theme of the exhibition perfectly.
- curator Nicole Buckingham Kern
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The goal of my work is to tell a story. It will not be the same story to everyone, as each viewer brings their story. I always considered myself a painter who combines painting, collage and assemblage with contemporary concepts. Though I normally begin a piece with an idea in mind or “end vision”, the process itself is often intuitive, allowing me to be led in unexpected directions. In this sense I feel a kinship with Dada, and Surrealist artists and poets.
Juxtaposing seemingly incongruous images to create new, sometimes odd, relationships. My work is often about memories and evoke a deep love of history and a sense of space and place, family and heritage. It is narrative in nature, but what I want most is that they initiate a dialogue with the viewer. Force the viewer to engage the piece and allow his or her own history to be reflected in it. I have also lately been exploring the realm of abstraction, yet I still attempt to maintain a narrative component through the use of words and bits of imagery.
For most of my life I have chosen to “fit in”, to not stand out or draw attention to myself. I have been the wallflower at the dance, but through art I have learned that I am unique and that is not something to hide in the corner. Individuals have the right to be exactly that: individual. I explore these themes in my work somewhat surprisingly though the multiple. I am inspired by genderbending and non-binary forms and recent work utilizes the dynamics of the simplest of geometries and platonic solids. In several of these works I use eye catching, glittery material because in comparison to other things, it creates spectacle. Glitter demands attention and has long association with queer culture and activism. I have been exploring mold making and making multiples in my work over the past year. I have been using porcelain casting slip to create these works. Using molds is one way of mass producing cast ceramic objects. I am particularly interested in the inherent beauty of porcelain; a clay that is closest to glass, it engages with a unique kind of beauty. I allow the porcelain to remain unglazed and then I polish the surface using diamond sanding wheels to allow the natural beauty to shine. This process also creates a very smooth surface on the porcelain. These surfaces, paired with the glitter surfaces in my works, creates a tension within the pieces exploring the individual versus the collective, the one among the many and the other themes I investigate throughout my art. My current paintings express movement, isolation, moods and beauty in a confined society.
Hileman is an interdisciplinary sculptor whose practice navigates sculpture, installation and performance. Her work is often made with hands-on, material based processes that allow the materials to influence the final aesthetic of each of her projects. Jani draws inspiration from process, materials, landscapes, personal experiences, feminism, environmentalism and politics. Hileman explores the body, craft, gender, the everyday, and the nature of objects through her works.
Hileman is engaged in a three-year project during her residency at Creative Alliance to document and engage with the Baltimore music community by sculpting ceramic portraits of musicians during live performances. The project will conclude with a solo show at Creative Alliance in May 2021. These works are fired at Baltimore Clayworks in the wood kiln. With this project Hileman is bringing her studio out into public spaces, combining sculpture with performance, connecting with the local community and collaborating with hundreds of other artists. She is celebrating and documenting Baltimore music through clay, making a unique document of this city at this time.
Through rich surfaces and intricate details, I strive to draw viewers near to explore. I implement abstracted characteristics of plants, bacteria, and geological systems. I employ forms, textures, and compositions found in nature as design elements in my sculptures. Most of my works are brought to life with an imagined hybrid of micro and macro organisms. The strength and delicate properties of porcelain attract me to the seductive nature of the material. These properties allow me to create soft forms that echo these characteristics.
Pantomime and mimicry are two of my favorite tools. I want my figures to confront the stillness of the statue and the strangeness of human display. Some figures respond to their immobility with stoicism, while others directly confront the viewer with dynamic poses or expressions.
I work primarily in porcelain and red earthenware. These are fine- grained clays, which are supple, gestural. Wet, these clays move like flesh. When fired, they are hard and unwieldy. My materials reinforce my interest in movement vs. capture, agency vs. control. My work is influenced by feminist theory, art history and dance, but led by touch, sight, and gesture.
For this exhibition, I present the last (and largest) head in a body of work entitled The Slander Series. This piece combines (in one stilled visage) a series of facial movements made while uttering a very common phrase of dismay and defense. Can you guess what she is saying? All the heads in this series differ in scale or proportion from standard portrait heads. They are cut at the neck, and their expressive hair challenges balance and stability. I wanted them to be a bit dangerous and unsettling, to contain a sense of violence done to the figure, as well as the figure’s retort.
Ceramics is a therapeutic outlet for my calm, chaotic, crazy life. The work that is created depends on the calm or the chaos surrounding me. My work fluctuates between fun sculptural forms to functional vessels. A calm, creative, fun mood will produce work that uses a combination of animal or human anatomy and phytomorphology to create fantastical hybrids. If the mood is good, then that world should reflect the whimsy I see and feel. Whereas, a chaotic, angry, destructive mood will lead toward the functional in hopes to bring order back to my world and back within my control. In the process, once control is achieved, the anger is released with the destruction of the form and added texture.