The World As They Know It
Inova show offers seven very different views of where we are now.
The current Inova show offers seven very different views of where we are now.
David Bowie posed the question “where are we now” on his first studio album in ten years, released last spring. That same query seems to have been on the minds of the seven artists featured in the 2012 Nohl Fellowship exhibition at Inova, which runs through this Sunday, December 15.
Demo Derby has been a series of small-scale smash-em-up events where participating teams use remote control cars powered by sustainable solar energy to celebrate community and revel in playful destruction. Faythe Levine’s photographs survey intentional living communities in Alabama, Tennessee, and North Carolina, where people have banded together to find ways of living that focus on shared experiences and creativity. Communal Kitchen, North Carolina documents a cooking space loosely separated from the green, leafy, outdoors, packed with staple foodstuffs like rice, peanut butter, and heirloom tomatoes. Levine’s images are ostensibly documentary, but she has an extraordinary eye for rich color and still lifes naturally born from the gestures of everyday living.
Tyanna Buie‘s work fixates on familial ties with nostalgia and innocence. A series of monumental prints picture a smiling father and a small, happily contented daughter on his lap. Buie’s sense of texture and composition is poetic, with her printed and drawn figures awash in earthy tones highlighted by rosy pink. Faint blue televisions and ice cream cones float in the background like ciphers of childhood pleasure. As lovely as the surfaces are, there is something remote as the intangible quality of memory is evoked.
Lois Bielefeld‘s photographs are featured in two distinctly different series. Weeknight Dinners picture meals in which sustenance is provided and togetherness with family members is suggested, though no one looks particularly happy about it. Conceal Carry is a deeply intriguing series as the intervention of the photographer adds a curiously symbolic layer. The gun owners in the photographs are show with their weapon of choice and have selected the place in their home where they are photographed. However, a translucent scrim separates them from their surroundings, though details of ordinary living rooms and domestic spaces can be seen. Things such as an American flag, religious statues, and a lampshade decorated with deer are faintly visible in the background. One of the most curious prints shows a couple identified as Lisa and Pat, who hold their Smith and Wessons pointed in each other’s general direction while their arms are wrapped around each other’s waist, a conflation of love and violence.
The insertion of art into unexpected places informs a number of other Fellowship artists. Brad Fiore‘s installation details The Karabekian Center, which is a mobile file cabinet holding a variety of small-scale paintings modeled on noted contemporary works, plus didactic documents on art theory and commentary. This cabinet apparently weighs “as much as two adult gazelles,” and has been lugged around Milwaukee neighborhoods as a means of starting random dialogue on questions such as “what is good art,” or even to begin with, “what is art?”
The direct injection of art into community life is central to Paul Kjelland, who produces posters and graphic media to confront issues of social justice. His work has been used for protests against the Palermo’s Pizza company as well as for efforts to shelter the homeless in Toronto. His work does not shy away from a critique of the establishment when it comes to environmental preservation, and the treatment of citizens as in the controversial death of Derek Williams in a Milwaukee police car after his arrest in July, 2011.
Flimmaker Danielle Beverly addresses community issues with great poignancy in the excerpt from her film Old South, which is about the building of a Kappa Alpha fraternity in a predominantly African American community in a Georgia town. The architecture of the frat house draws heavily on the style of antebellum plantation houses, and the fraternity is known for the flying of a Confederate flag outside their residence. As with the other artists in the exhibition, Beverly asks the underlying question of where are we now, and what are we going to do about it?
The 2012 Greater Milwaukee Foundation Mary L. Nohl Fellowships Exhibition closes this Sunday, December 15. The exhibition is on view at Inova, 2155 North Prospect Avenue.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13
Chicago-Milwaukee Photo Social: Current Tendencies III Artist Talk Meet & Greet
530 N. 13th Street
3-4pm Artist talk by Jon Horvath
4:30-7pm Event continues with Photo Social at the Milwaukee Ale House
The Current Tendencies III exhibition is a broad survey of artists working in the Milwaukee area. This event highlights the work of Jon Horvath, and will expand into a social event featuring photographers from the Milwaukee and Chicago areas.
731 E. Center Street
Continue (or finally begin) your holiday shopping with a visit to this studio featuring work by Della Wells, Evelyn Patricia Terry, Sonji Hunt, Kari Garon, Vedales Art Studio, Sherman Pitts, Christopher McIntyre Percpetions, and others.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 15
801 E. Clarke Street
Admission $3, includes 3 raffle tickets. Kids under 12 admitted free.
Take your holiday treasure hunt to this event featuring a wide variety of art, handmade crafts, clothing and accessories, organic foods, body care products, and more.