Review in Frieze!

http://www.frieze.com/issue/review/the-nothing-that-is-a-drawing-show-in-five-parts/

 

I'm very excited to share the review of The Nothing That Is in the latest issue of Frieze Magazine. It was a generous review.

 

 

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Wilder

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Camping has been a recent pursuit in our household. Since moving to NC we have gone up to the mountains almost monthly. For us it's an opportunity to be quiet and together-- to minimalize. Compared to a zoo or theme park vacation it's about reduction. What is left when removing amenities such as plumbing, permanent shelter, electricity, and cell phone service? Carrying only the basic needs in our pack, we push through the landscape. Materialism becomes quantifiable when you carry each item on your back. Ounces can feel like pounds. 

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In constructed spaces like Disney World, amenities or goods are added. Stimulations are stacked on the visitors through theme music, fried food and structure. The weight of ones own materialism appears very light I contrast of such over saturated environments. 

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So maybe one instance feels like addition and the other subtraction.  However, both the Appalachian Trail are altered and marketed environments. One a bit more obvious than the other. 

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Out with the old in with the new.

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This summer I had the opportunity to show a kinetic piece, Swept, from May to September. A key component to the work was sod grass that starts out alive and would die over a two-week period. Negotiating the length of the show while keeping the work active provided some good problems to solve. 

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With the help of the institution I replaced the grass every few weeks. Interns graciously watered the grass. In tandem with a mission of the show visitors would see the work different each time they came.

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An unexpected outcome of the show was the heaviness of the sod, the difficulty in transportation and yet there is an abundant amount of it. It got me to thinking about the energy and resources involved in planting a field, yard or even a golf coarse. All of that money, time and resources spent on replacing grass with "prettier" grass.  Not to mention that new grass requires more maintanence. It's a sick cycle. 

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Even though my process contributes to the consumption of sod. Sometimes you have to do the wrong thing to teach others how to do the right.  

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South of the Border

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I got to make a pit-stop at this gem of a good place on my way to Atlanta. South of the Border is a mostly vacant, minimally functioning rest stop. It feels more like an archeological site with beyond kitsch fossils dispersed throughout. While kitsch representations and the environment of theme parks are usually rich material for my work; this strange place is too easy to make fun of. 

I expected to walk away with some ideas for work. I only walked away with a Y2K mug.

BURNAWAY Session 4

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This weekend I got to work with Amanda Hunt from the Studio Museum in Harlem. We had great discussions on nuance and  sensitivity. She is an incredible generous human and I am so glad to have met her. 

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Write up in the Indy on The Nothing That Is:http://m.indyweek.com/indyweek/lump-director-bill-thelen-makes-his-mark-at-cam-raleigh-with-a-high-concept-drawing-show/Content?oid=4592971

 

 

Thursday Thoughts: Andreas Gursky

Der Rhine, II    1999   C print on paper    156 x 308 cm    

Der Rhine, II  

1999

C print on paper

156 x 308 cm

 

    Rimini   2003  C-print mounted on Plexiglas   298 x 207 cm

 

Rimini

2003

C-print mounted on Plexiglas

298 x 207 cm

    Greeley   2002  C-print mounted on Plexiglas   210 x 263 cm

 

Greeley

2002

C-print mounted on Plexiglas 

210 x 263 cm

It's hard not to be taken in by Andreas Gursky's panoramc large scale prints. The use of sublime is his conceptual vehicle that turns to industry as it's subject.  William Turner used the indomitable nature,

Barnett Newman used abstraction

and Gursky uses industrial landscape. One could draw an historical sequence through these artist's interpretation man's hold on nature. What Gursky accomplishes is a subtly guided observation of globalization. These images are believable. They are named after specific places, but the familiar imagery could be in several places. The believability of these photographs is what sticks in my head, the vast and destructive human footprint on our environment should not be so easy to accept.

Swept Install

I can't express how excited and honored I am to be included in  The Nothing That Is at CAM Raleigh curated by Bill Thelen. 

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Camraleigh.org/2015/06/summer-of-drawing/  

Billthelen.com