January 24 - March 26, 2006
University Galleries is pleased to announce an exhibition of work by Michelle Grabner—an artist, professor, art critic, and curator, who appropriates visual information from her environment and applies it to her personal and professional spheres.
Throughout the 1990s, Grabner's subtle and sensuous paintings re-articulated the initial intrinsic beauty of patterns found in household items such as blankets, placemats, weavings, grapefruit bags, and colanders. Domesticity was brought literally to the surface in these paintings: Grabner spray-painted through porous or perforated materials directly onto canvas, then systematically filled in each faint “stencil” mark by hand with enamel or flocking. To most eyes, the paintings were abstract, yet, paradoxically, their surfaces were realistic evidence of the household objects from which they were generated. Suffusing the practical with the formal, the playful with the useful, these paintings extended the Modernist trope of the pure grid into the realm of everyday life.
Over the years Grabner's work has evolved from the tangible to the philosophical, finding inspiration in concepts of “goodness” from Plato, Wittgenstein, and Dewey. The artist's Goodness Paintings (2001-2004) engage the immaterial world of rainbows, visible light, and thought. Radiating from each painting's center, a succession of undulating bands of pastel color relate to Dewey's concept of reflective thought as a “con-sequence of consecutive ordering in which each determines the next as its proper outcome, while each, in turn, leans back on its predecessors.”
In a similar vein, the ethereal rainbows in Grabner's wall “drawings” transform public art spaces by simulating an outdoor phenomenon strongly associated with optimism, fortune, and good luck. Consisting of colored flock spray-pumped onto a wall coated with spray adhesive, these textured works change over time as soft air currents from visitors cause bits of the flocking to drift to the floor. At University Galleries, Grabner will further extend the inherent time element by periodically installing, vacuuming off, and reinstalling flocked drawings on a single 20-foot wall in the gallery. The artist has also installed wall drawings in Los Angeles, London, Milwaukee, Chicago, and New York.
A second process-oriented installation will consist of interchangeable arrangements of Grabner's paper weavings—comprising Color-aid strips woven through a backing sheet of paper—on a large area of the gallery's floor.
In addition, a third installation—the most collaborative and complex in the exhibition—will be constructed and will change over time. In the center of University Galleries, a show within a show will be installed: a simulated, life-sized replica of The Suburban, an eight-by-eight-foot artist project space Grabner has maintained since 1998 in a former auto body shop a few steps from her house in Oak Park, Illinois. University Galleries' recontextualized version of The Suburban will accommodate a compressed exhibition schedule of bi-weekly one-person shows.
Additional bodies of work include: (1) the Black-Ground paintings: hypnotic spirals on black paper composed of tiny hand-painted dots in various shades of grey. (2) two series of photographs, the Garden Rainbows and the black-and-white Spiderwebs , which blend Grabner's ongoing interests in process, light, and the historical relationship between photography and drawing, (3) a selection of video collaborations with David Robbins and Brad Killam, including One Mother's Love (2003), a faux-instructional “say know to drugs” piece, and Holiday Lights (2002), a survey of suburban homeowners' aesthetics as seen in their installation of Christmas lights.
Although Grabner has had several one-person exhibitions in London, Melbourne, Los Angeles, New York, Boston and Chicago, her show at University Galleries will represent her first large-scale solo museum survey. There will be an artist's reception on Tuesday, January 24, 2006, from 5:00 to 7:00 pm. Grabner will be giving an artist talk on Wednesday, January 25, 2006, at noon. Admission to the reception, artist talk, and exhibition are all free.
Tuesday January 24, 2006
5 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Wednesday January 25, 2006
Illinois State University
January 24 - March 26, 2006
Wriston Art Center
January 19 - March 11, 2007
Ulrich Museum of Art
Wichita State University
January 26 - April 13, 2008