Out of this World: Transcending the terrestrial in contemporary art

Out of This World
Transcending the Terrestrial in Contemporary Art
June 26 – November 29, 2009

Betsy Brandt
Susie Brandt
Ginger Ertz
Chris Harvey
Jennifer Maestre
David Miller
Devorah Sperber

Within this world and all around us march the familiar products of manufacture, interceded by the tenacious sprouting of life in all its variability. By entangling the stuff of industry with elements in nature, artists are often able to describe territories that are unearthly. The seven artists featured in this exhibition tap the reservoirs of our known world to create forms that we feel both acquainted with and transported by.

The fundamental usefulness of plastic dishware, pipe cleaners, pom-poms, fake flowers, spools of thread, pencils and cut cloth is playfully and beautifully subverted as these everyday items undergo a transformation. Through the artists’ alchemical manipulations, we find ourselves inhabiting a world populated by shiny, prickly, furry figures to which we can feel only remotely akin.

Through the paintings in this exhibition, we are shown domains thick with nebulous matter through which vessels move and hover. Forms both geometric and organic congregate in clusters, their linear bodies occupying some curious ecosystem.

In other works, the mundane spaces and fragments of our daily life – tree stumps, sewer grates, a staircase – are recast as wondrous blasts of color, soft and yielding in contrast to the original wood and steel. And the iconic pop culture figures of the Starship Enterprise, who truly occupy both this world and so many others, are depicted in all of their masculine importance by the meticulous placement of both chenille stems and spools of thread.

Humans have long aspired to transcend their terrestrial plane; to imagine or experience other corners of the cosmos. It is often through the humorous, reverent, quirky visions of artists that we come to travel outside the boundaries of our known world.

Photos by Arthur Evans