December 15th, 2016 (San Francisco, CA) — Eleanor Harwood Gallery is pleased to present Curiosity, a solo exhibition by Francesca Pastine.
The exhibition consists of watercolor paintings and sculptures. While primarily known for her previous work with Artforum cut-outs, this exhibit is an evolution of her use of materials.
In Curiosity, Pastine strives to evoke the Romantic notion of the artist as explorer, navigating vast realms of possibility. Inspired by NASA’s Mars Rover, Curiosity, and its exploration of uncharted territory on Mars, her work offers a contemporary take on the notion of Sublime, a key theme in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American art. Pastine was drawn to the rover because it is named “Curiosity” and she believes that being curious is an essential element of being an artist. Like the Mars Rover, the artist as explorer seeks to go beyond her limits and to make visible the vast landscape of her imagination.
In a broad sense, Pastine’s exhibit speaks to the quintessential human urge for inquiry and discovery. The concept of “curiosity”, be it scientific, or in any other field, is the driving idea of the works in the show. Curiosity is an ode to great minds that continue to add to the pool of human knowledge. This desire to gain knowledge, in specific Mars, a place so far away, is a metaphor for understanding difference of all kinds. Striving for scientific data, or artistic mastery of materials and ideas, creates compassion and understanding in the world at large. Pastine’s revery in the best of human pursuits is inspiring and intelligent.
In her artworks, Pastine probes the potential of material and its transformation through chance and discovery. The unpredictability of the watercolor medium allows for inspired accidents; her sculpture is informed by unexpected juxtaposition and unique contradictions. The sculptures, as in her most recent work in the past few years, use Artforum magazines (nearly obliterated) plaster, Mylar and wire.
The paintings appear as otherworldly landscapes and employ visual voids and veils to represent sites of artistic ferment, the imagination, and revelation. The sculptures represent vessels and, like the rover, are of a crudeness that belies the sophistication essential for exploration of unmapped terrain.