SANTA FE, NM.- SITE Santa Fe
presents three solo exhibitions by the artists Ruth Claxton, Amy Cutler, and Runa Islam from February 5 - May 15, 2011.
Each of these artists, Ruth Claxton, Amy Cutler, and Runa Islam, creates precisely rendered, yet enigmatic compositions that exhibit a self-conscious awareness of the formal structures of their respective mediums of sculpture, painting and film. Although the exhibitions were developed to be distinct, the juxtaposition of these artists works reveals a strong visual resonance. Their shared interest in form, color, line, phenomenological engagement, and, in some cases, the employment of similar motifs, creates a suggestive visual conversation.
Ruth Claxton creates dynamic sculptural environments that employ a diverse range of tactics to question perception. Claxton assembles large, elaborate, multi-dimensional structures from metal hoops, circular mirrors, and colored glass disks. These structures are site-responsive and simultaneously serve to construct the viewers interaction with the exhibition space and provide an environment for the figurines nestled within them. The multiple reflective surfaces engender an instability that belies the sturdy metal structures that support them.
Claxton seeks out collectible porcelain figurines that are common in many English homes. These tiny sculptures depict a variety of leisure related subjects from birds to ballerinas; some appear to have stepped out of 18th century paintings of fêtes galantes. Through the application of beads, buttons, sequins, ribbons, blown glass, and other materials, Claxton eradicates the figures sight. The choice of materials makes this blinding playful rather than sinister, and Claxton purports that the figures portrayed are enraptured, not traumatized by their interrupted vision. This sense of disorientation is increased when the figurines are placed within Claxtons maze-like structures.
Claxton created a new room-sized installation in one of SITEs 4,000 square foot galleries for this exhibition, the artists first solo show in the United States. This work, Synthetic Worlds, represents an expansion of the artists current experiments with larger scale. This installation cascades from the ceiling, activating the entire gallery space.
Claxton has had solo shows at Spike Island (Bristol, UK) and Ikon Gallery (Birmingham, UK) and work included in Undone, Henry Moore Institute (Leeds, UK), Rework-remodel, National Glass Centre (Sunderland, UK) and Known Unknowns, Gallery Loop (Seoul, Korea). She recently completed a major public commission in Weston Supermare, UK. She is one of the founding directors of Eastside Projects and lives and works in Birmingham (UK).
Amy Cutlers meticulously rendered paintings on paper conjure unusual worlds predominantly inhabited by women. The women who populate Cutlers paintings are often similarly dressed and engaged in enigmatic activities such as mending tigers or awkwardly carrying mysterious loads through semi-bucolic landscapes. Though they seem to invoke fantasy worlds, Cutlers compositions are grounded in the exploration of interior states and are inspired by the complex web of emotions generated by real-life situations.
Cutlers compositions are often concentrated against a stark white background, which imbues them with a sense of timelessness and indeterminacy of place. This ambiguity is heightened by Cutlers embrace of a variety of visual references including Indian miniature paintings, US Army manuals, and the costumes and textiles of diverse cultures and time periods, which she depicts with great detail and specificity. For Cutler, the non-communicative expressions worn by her characters are indicative of their inward looking nature. Her women are engaged in self-examination and self reflection of which the entire composition becomes a metaphor.
SITEs exhibition brings together an exemplary selection of over twenty works created during the last decade by the artist, many lent by private collections around the country.
Cutler participated in the 2004 Whitney Biennial and has had solo exhibitions at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid and the Indianapolis Museum of Art, among others. Her works are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Whitney Museum of American Art and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
For more than a decade, Runa Islam has created 16mm and 35mm films and film-based installations that are generated from an interest in avant-garde film history, theories, and structures of filmmaking. Islam constructs poetic compositions that exhibit a precise attention to formal details and an open narrative structure. Her works are presented in carefully crafted installations and configurations that foreground an interest in the apparatus of film-viewing experience. More often than not, Islam presents her works on film, rather than as digital transfers, highlighting the importance of the medium for her practice.
For her exhibition at SITE, Islam presents three works created within the last ten years: How Far to Fårö (2004-2005), What is a Thought Experiment, Anyhow? (2007), and The Restless Subject (2008). This selection includes single, two and three-channel projections and points to Islams dialogue with the history of moving image devices and work of avant garde film directors. These works engage in a cohesive visual dialogue while showcasing the variety of Islams practice.
Runa Islams work was included in the 2005 Venice Biennial and the 2003 Istanbul Biennial, and she has had solo exhibitions at UCLAs Hammer Museum, the Serpentine Gallery, London, the Musée DArt Contemporain de Montréal, and Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney among others. Islam lives and works in London.
These exhibitions were organized by Laura Steward, former Phillips Director and Janet Dees, Assistant Curator.