Art

Karyl Sisson

Current Exhibition

Summer 2017

With ingenuity and commitment to process, Sisson manipulates the most
mundane and overlooked of domestic paraphernalia to create mystifying two and
three-dimensional works of abstract beauty, wit, and sophistication.

Sisson has been making art since 1969. Early on, she was influenced by Pop Art
and the work of Claes Oldenburg whose sculptures focused on the
transformation of ordinary objects of daily use. His usage of unlikely materials
and techniques suited and reinforced her own approach to art. The woman’s
movement of the early seventies supplied Sisson with role models: “It provided a
context in which to do my work, enabling me to explore images and ideas outside
the confines of a male-dominated culture and art history…”

Sisson is attracted to small-scale stock accoutrements, all “relating to domesticity
and the feminine persona,” that add clutter to a woman’s cabinets and bureau
drawers: drinking straws, hairpins, clothespins, sewing notions, curlers, and so
on. For decades, she has been collecting these dusty overlooked odds and ends
phased out by new fashion demands and lifestyle innovations. This surplus of
forgotten items is her medium.

Always interested in patterns, as a young artist and graphic designer, Sisson
created two-dimensional abstract works with repetitive motifs, often composed of
materials like scraps of fabric, rick-rack, beads, and images from books…
Observing the patterns found in the plants of her garden, the mathematical
complexities of nature captured her imagination. Her studies and innate affinities
led her to concoct highly ordered systems by twisting, weaving, and stitching
her accumulated classes of stuff into art that resembles blow-ups of organisms
under high magnification. With skill and commitment to perfection, old
clothespins and zippers are brilliantly configured into sculptures that imitate the
fractal geometry of living forms.

Sisson chooses the constituent mass-produced ingredients that resonate
emotionally for her. In the viewer, deciphering them triggers surprise and delight,
perhaps even memories or nostalgia. The magic resides in Sisson’s process that
elevates these highly unlikely materials into fine art.

Ann Thornycroft

Past Exhibition: Euphoria

Summer 2017

The smaller works here take pleasure in the craft of painting. Some explore soft brush marks in seemingly simple colour swatches while the hard edged variety play games with our ways of seeing as they move this way and that between balance and imbalance, harmony and discord. Although some are called studies, they are not exercises. Each one is an autonomous exploration into colour and form – a theme that is integral to all Ann Thornycroft’s work, small and large.

At one level the large abstracts are influenced by American art of the 60’s and 70’s but in another sense they are rooted in a much older tradition of landscape painting. The flower forms might stem from direct observation in a garden or less tangibly from wind in the trees, a flowing river or bright light at midday. At a deeper, more personal level Thornycroft’s paintings are expressions of feeling. They are a visual equivalent to poetry – perhaps, a little like Mary Oliver’s hymns to the natural world – they invite us into a rich world of growth and fecundity.

Joan Wulf

Past Exhibition: Elemental

November 9 – January 5, 2017

Patterned and ephemeral—Wulf’s work embodies her intense connection with the natural world, in particular its scientific, elemental components: water, wood, fire, earth, and metal. Once points of departure for her paintings, the elements have transformed into “collaborators” in Wulf’s studio practice. She has variously burned, torched, sprayed, oxidized, ripped, glued, and bent materials in her quest to distill nature to its most basic state. The formal, gridded format often used in her work allows Wulf to structure systems, echoing the building blocks represented by the elements and highlighting humanity’s underlying desire to apply order to situations it finds elusive. By summoning an awareness of the direct interaction with the moment, she connects herself and the viewer to the natural world. For Wulf, “it’s about temporality and transformation—an examination of process, cause and effect, chaos and control.”

Dinah Diwan

Past Exhibition: OVERwriting in underDRIVE

Los Angeles: March 12 – May 12, 2016

Born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon, Dinah Diwan left for Italy in 1975 when the civil war broke out, then joined her family, who was living between Montreal and Paris. Trained as an architect, she graduated cum laude from ENS-Paris La Villette. She created her own studio in Paris where, for 20 years, her practice as an architect has included residential and commercial projects in France and Tunisia. Alongside her professional commissions, Diwan has been an innovative painter and ceramicist. Her art deploys overt references to architectural elements, such as city grids, gardens and maps. Diwan’s work has been previously exhibited at the Galerie Esther Woerdehoff in Paris.

Starting in 2008, Diwan began to overwrite on old pages from turn of the last century French publishing house Éditions Paul Geuthner. These hundreds of small books became the invisible foundation for her paintings. Before Diwan incorporates them into her work, she reads the pages herself, aware that she will be the out-of-print book’s final reader. The pages are then separated and overwritten by Diwan’s illegible writing.

Now working in Los Angeles, Diwan over-paints collaged selections of these vintage French pages, and then begins to conceptualize LA by folding the canvases into page-sized grids where the geography of the city is reinvented. “After I have overwritten the pages, I glue, fold, and wash. Then I leave the canvas exposed to the elements – the sun, the rain, the wind, the moon – before the image of an imaginary map of Los Angeles emerges.”

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