JAE KO | LINDA FLEMING | DERRICK VELASQUEZ | KATY STONE
LISA STEFANELLI | TED LARSEN | AMY ELLINGSON | ERIN WIERSMA
October 5 – December 30, 2017
Linked to the previous Robischon Gallery exhibition through its presentation of artists and abstraction, “Concatenation” expands upon the dialogue initiated by innovative sculptors Jae Ko (D.C.), Ted Larsen (NM) and Derrick Velasquez (CO) to additionally include three recognized artists of distinction, Linda Fleming (CO/CA), Amy Ellingson (CA), and Katy Stone (WA). The varied practices of the six artists on view, further investigate the territory of Material Abstraction through the visual vernacular of the curvilinear. Each artist’s conceptual and progressive approach toward form, surface and personal sense of color are revealed - whether it be through digital means, employing an Ombre technique or a compelling use of light and reflection. The elaborate six-part presentation of new and recent works features a wide range of scale and media including adding machine paper, automotive metals, vinyl and encaustic.
As a continuation of the “Force of Nature” installation series and as a follow-up to her exhibition at Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Korean-born, Washington, D.C. artist Jae Ko further expands upon on her signature and unconventional use of paper and her multi-layered exploration of the curvilinear. With large spools of commercial adding machine tape which are unfurled and re-rolled into soft, pliant coils to create the large installation work entitled Flow, the artist painstakingly stacks and layers the paper, up walls and over floors within each varied architectural space. Ko’s site-specific installations have previously scaled vast museum walls, rounded corners and descended stairwells in noteworthy art spaces such as the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., Grounds for Sculpture in New Jersey and the aforementioned CAMH. In the all-white gallery, the newly expanded Flow for “Concatenation” takes its shape piece by coiled piece resulting in a silken white-on-white undulating form with moiré effect. Responsive to the malleability of the paper, Ko states, “Sometimes I place a roll on the floor, and give it a tap right in the middle. They just collapse then fold into amazing shapes. I want people to see the work and to think how this ordinary material can be more than what they think because paper transforms into a unifying, potentially infinite continuation, and in process, relates to a kind of poetic space that performs around the human body. My work continues to evolve as a conceptual practice – the transformation of everyday objects into something extraordinary for new visual and sensual experiences.”
An important aspect of Ko’s ongoing investigation is sparked by a sense of place. In the Flow installation, the artist considers the rapidly disappearing snowy and glacial topographies throughout the northwestern US. Ko’s travels to see the American West, including the dramatic landscapes of Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico followed by Newfoundland, Labrador and eastern Canada, inspired her shift into exploring installation as way to allude to the panoramic geographies of diverse landscapes. This same creative curiosity for over two and a half decades, has led Ko to a mastery of her medium as she pushes the material to not only address a kind of cultural history, but with further intent to speak to issues of vanishing tundra environments and ancient landscape formations. With sweeping forms and lavender-tinged color, Flow’s mounds of paper respond to shifting light and shadow while capturing a sense of wonder in alignment with the northern landscape Ko suggests.
In other nature-inspired, parallel series, the compelling curvilinear lines of Ko’s individual twisted, smooth-spun paper, ink and glue sculptures were initially inspired by the forms of wind-whipped, ancient bristlecone pines of California’s White Mountains. Ko’s signature palette of deep red, black, graphite and yellow, now includes a snowy white in its vocabulary and as a reference to nature – in part as a nod to present environmental realities.
A uniquely charged-color exploration comes into play within Ko’s more formal language where pattern and rhythm take a more symbolic role. Dynamic yellow-orange to deep red and the previously shown electric blues push Ko’s forms into a sense of the cross-cultural as a they recall calligraphic Asian characters or other ancient global motifs.
Such potent, individually shaped sculptures of paper, ink and glue by Ko continue to engage with their rich, matte, ink-soaked surfaces. Made with her highly-recognized and ingenious proprietary process, the ongoing essential and far-reaching series continues to intrigue both the artist and viewer. Known mostly for her monochromatic palettes, the velvety-looking surfaces of black Sumi ink and rich red, reaffirms the artist’s ever-evolving pursuit of her vision. Ko’s ongoing achievement in technical and thematic resonance in tandem with her dynamic and unique language, establishes the artist as not only noteworthy, but as having mastered a brilliant relationship between idea and medium. With the addition of her remarkable installation series, Jae Ko continues to distinguish herself as a pioneer of material abstraction and as an artist with an expansive view of the world around.
Born in Korea, and educated in Japan, the Washington, D.C.-based Jae Ko is recipient of a prestigious Pollack-Krasner Foundation grant and a winner of the noteworthy 2012 Anonymous Was a Woman award. The artist studied at Toyo Art School, Tokyo, has a B.F.A. from Wako University, Tokyo, Japan and an M.F.A. from the Maryland Institute College of Art. She has received grants and awards from Maryland State Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts and numerous DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and the Virginia Commission for the Arts. Her work is in the permanent collections of Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C., Corcoran Museum of Art, Washington, D.C., the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., Washington D.C. Convention Center and Grounds for Sculpture, New Jersey and others. Jae Ko has exhibited throughout the US and internationally in Japan, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Canada and her work is currently on view at Paper Biennial, CODA Museum, Netherlands through October 2017.
Noted Colorado/California artist Linda Fleming’s complex curvilinear and geometric forms give equal consideration to the potentialities of both the ephemeral and the fluidly architectonic. Varied in mode and scale, each dynamic wall, floor or large-scale outdoor sculpture, reflects the artist’s thoughtful investigation of the natural world and her distinctive expression of it. In particular, Fleming’s chromed works on view visually amplify as they merge with their environments – reflecting light and shadow along with the color of and movement within their surroundings. In her other series of painted enamel on steel or varying-scale wood sculptures, Fleming additionally offers the unexpected in the form of layered, charged color and surface texture. With the artist’s larger sculptural works, each viewer is invited to physically situate themselves within the artwork’s environment and experience the shifting light and the visually expanding form via an active yet contemplative space. This all-encompassing investigation has evolved for Fleming since the 1970s, as the sculptor challenged herself to work in an impressive array of materials from the traditional to the progressive; to include chromed or powder-coated works – along with rusted steel, wood (in altered or natural forms), as well as wall or floor pieces made of wool and rubber.
Central to Fleming’s practice are the creation of numerous intricate sculptural maquettes and works on paper. This wide-ranging and in-depth series, acknowledged by many museums, further illuminates the artist’s vocabulary and level of inquiry. In her own poetic words, Fleming is compelled to make visible, “the glimpse of the strangeness beyond the world to which we cling, opening a place where thought becomes tangible, history leaves a trace and information exhales form.”
Linda Fleming attended the San Francisco Art Institute and Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. She has received numerous prestigious recognitions including those from the Peter S. Reed, Adolph & Ester Gottlieb and Pollack-Krasner foundations. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Berkeley Art Museum, Laumeier Sculpture Park, Oakland Museum of California, University of Wyoming, Stanford University Museum, and Albuquerque Museum along with additional collections both public and private. Recent noteworthy exhibitions include: Fleming’s “Making Places,” exhibited at the Center for Contemporary Arts, Santa Fe and her touring exhibition showcasing the artist’s extensive and intricate maquette series entitled, “Linda Fleming: Modeling the Universe” originating at the Nevada Art Museum and Drawn To/Drawn From: 1967 to 2012 at Oats Park Art Center, Fallon, Nevada; “Glimmer,” a site-specific sculpture for the Oakland Museum of Art, exhibited in the OMCA’s iconic sculpture gardens; and Robischon Gallery’s 2016 exhibition “DECLARATION,” in which Fleming’s work was exhibited alongside other historically-important and esteemed artists such as: Louise Bourgeois, Helen Frankenthaler, Yayoi Kusama and Joan Mitchell.
Utilizing material commonly associated with marine or domestic upholstery, Colorado artist Derrick Velasquez, experiments with gravity and color by composing multiple-layered stacks of vinyl strips over geometric-based wood armatures for his shaped curvilinear signature wall sculptures. The series – a widely recognized aspect of Velasquez’s work – was first ignited by a visually intriguing discovery, occurring in the artist’s studio while bookbinding. The work was conceptually furthered by Velasquez’s overall investigation of the cultural hierarchies imposed upon both materials and design, while also acknowledging his inspiration of the literary; by positioning the edges of the colored layers as if “pages” from a book. Simultaneously, through intention, Velasquez’s use of vinyl elevates the commonplace material to an artful status. Velasquez’s visual and conceptual pursuits overlap in a myriad of ways – from his explorations of vibratory color relationships, to discovering form via gravity and from his progressive sense of materiality – the artist’s unique methods marry the familiar with the unconventional.
Derrick Velasquez has a B.A. from the University of California, Santa Barbara and an M.F.A. from Ohio State University. He has exhibited in both solo and group museum exhibitions including Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe, NM, and numerous university galleries including the Frame Gallery, Carnegie Mellon University, PA, Hiestand Gallery, Miami University, Myhren Gallery, University of Denver, Curfman Gallery, Colorado State University, Hopkins Hall Gallery, Ohio State University along with Black Cube Nomadic Art Museum. His awards and residencies include: William and Dorothy Yeck Young Sculptors Competition Purchase Award, Black Cube Nomadic Art Museum Artist Fellow, Colorado Creative Industries Career Advancement Award, Vertigo Art Space Artist Residency (as Stapleford Collective), Denver, CO, Redline Artist Residency - Denver, CO 2010-2012 Juror's Pick: Tricia Robson - Icebreaker 2.0, Ice Cube Gallery, Denver, CO 2011, Best In Show - Boxcar Gallery Annual Juried Show and Fergus Family Material Award - The Ohio State University 2008. His work is in select private and corporate collections such as Fidelity Investments, Miami University, Oxford, OH, Dikeou Collection, Denver, CO and the Colorado Convention Center. Velasquez is a founding member of Tank Studios, Tilt West and teaches at Metropolitan State College, Denver. Velasquez’s solo exhibition, “Obstructed View,” MCA Denver and his organization of the museum’s Open Shelf Library: The Stacks space was very well received.
With a distinctive approach, noted in the early 2000s, Seattle, Washington artist Katy Stone’s assembled work blurs the traditional boundaries between sculpture, painting, and drawing. Each of Stone’s individual artworks and large-scale installations are born from a generative process in which every element is thoughtfully conceived and manifested, piece by piece. Using aluminum or archival Duralar plastic sheets as her foundation, Stone paints refined yet gestural, nature-based forms which are furthered by repetition and sensitively cut contours. The rhythm created through the layering of multiple shapes and the use of vibrant color reveal Stone’s innovation toward both material and subject. Light becomes a welcomed factor as the artist allows a mercurial, impermanent interplay of each sculpture’s silhouette, as shadows form near the individual elements. Reflective of the generative manner of her process, each work begins as a considered gesture from one of the artist’s countless stream-of-conscious drawings. A chosen mark becomes a cut piece, mounted layer upon layer, often resulting in a proliferation of kaleidoscopic forms - and an expression of nature’s own expansivity. Reminiscent of a contained organic growth in some works and a sense of lush decay in others, each installation through imagery and process slowly reveals its counterpoint aspects. Ultimately, Stone’s work activates space in ways both intimate and vast in her compelling sculptural installations. The artist’s decidedly contemporary take on nature with its infinite range of line and form allows the artist’s entry into a dynamic and distinctive vocabulary – one that has not only influenced the dialogue, but also continues to elevate the elemental and provide a sense of Nature’s wonder.
Katy Stone received her B.F.A. from Iowa State University and her M.F.A. from the University of Washington. Her work is in the collections of the Boise Art Museum, City of Seattle, McNay Museum, San Antonio, Texas, Missoula Art Museum, with large-scale installations in the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, Ann Arbor, MI, Microsoft, Redmond, WA, King County Correctional Facility, Horizon House and Swedish Medical Center, all in Seattle, WA, a Daniel Libeskind-designed building, The Ascent, in Covington, KY, the Federal Courthouse, Jackson Mississippi and the corporate offices of Conoco Phillips in Houston, TX, among others. She has exhibited nationally and internationally at venues including: Harnett Museum of Art, Richmond, VA, Washington, D.C., Jacksonville Museum of Contemporary Art, FL, Mass Art, Boston and the Chengdu International Biennale, Chengdu, China. Stone’s forthcoming commissions include Sound Transit Light Rail South Bellevue Station, Bellevue, WA, and Seattle City Light Technical Training Facility, Seattle, WA.
Inherent in the work of New Mexico artist Ted Larsen is both the history of his chosen salvaged industrial metals and a questioning of specific movements in art history. Larsen actively engages the eye of the viewer, by revealing aspects of how his sculptures are built – with their exposed plywood support structures, twisted annealed wire, or riveted systems; the artist’s hand is always present in the work. Intellectually, there is full engagement as well, as Larsen questions through form and manner, the accepted tenets of such art movements as Geometric Abstraction, Minimalism, Op Art or Constructivism. While Larsen’s work is located between the abstract and reductive, its expressive wit and use of materials such as scrap metal from junked boats, cars and demolished architectural structures, playfully remove the restrictions of art theory. Simultaneously, the work can also be experienced as reflective of theory, depending on the desired depth of investigation. Larsen’s small and larger scale wall and floor sculptures are thoughtfully and beautifully made, often with equal intent to appear improvisational.
Larsen states: “We live a world of influence, where place matters and where everything is highly programmed. We live in a world where standards are not relevant; where what matters is celebrity status. We live a world where science doesn’t matter. Where science is fiction, fiction is truth and truth exists only as long as it is convenient. We live in a world of questionable relevance where what doesn’t matter does and what does matter doesn’t. Lucky for us, art doesn’t pay attention to these rules or conditions. It operates outside of limits, standards and territories. It doesn’t care about what we care about. It serves, but is only of service when it is convenient for itself. Art does this because it transcends the moment, the people, the culture, the hierarchy. Art is a lens, a condenser, a spreader, a pry bar. It opens. It shines. It illuminates. It doesn’t need us. We need it. And that is the rub. We don’t see the world as it is, we see it as we are. Art shows us who we are.” At once disarming and intelligent, the unexpected visual vocabulary of Ted Larsen’s multi-layered and remarkable work encourages studious contemplation while allowing for joy to unfold.
Ted Larsen graduated magna cum laude from Northern Arizona University. A recipient of the prestigious Pollack-Krasner Foundation Grant Award, the Artist Stipend Award, Wichita Falls Art Council, Texas, Surdna Foundation Education Travel Grant, New York, United States Representative to the Asilah Arts Festival, Morroco Representative and the Edward Albee Foundation Residency Fellowship. His work has been exhibited in solo shows at New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe, NM, Amarillo Museum of Art, TX, along with exhibitions at art centers and gallery venues across the US. Larsen’s work is in the collections of the New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico, the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, The Edward F. Albee Foundation, Proctor & Gamble, Fidelity Investments, National Broadcasting Company, The Bolivian Consulate, Reader’s Digest, PepsiCo, The University of Miami, Krasel Art Center, Dreyfus Funds, JP Morgan Chase, Forbes and Pioneer Hi-Bred, Inc. among many others. Larsen’s work will be in an exhibition at Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art later in 2017.
New York artist Lisa Stefanelli’s sensuous surfaces belie their time spent in an auto-body shop. There her panels are repeatedly sprayed with glossy automotive paint to provide the ground for her meticulously hand-painted, sinuous linear forms that loop, twine and spill toward each panel’s edge. Expansive and luminous as if backlit or glimpsed skyward, Stefanelli’s interconnected markings telegraph the fluid movement of the artist’s gesture; her calligraphic process a collaborative fusion of industrial technology and a precise handling of paint. The artist also pays homage in form to her years as a competitive figure skater; an eloquent visual record of the circuitous mark-making dance left behind in the ice. Yet, Stefanelli states, “The underlying pursuit of my studio practice is the possibility of being simultaneously involved and uninvolved in complexity. Elements of the natural world are primary in informing the paths and trajectories of the paintings’ visual language along with the cultural clutter we live in daily such as signage, sound/music, advertising and popular culture. There is a joy in the confusion we live in and my practice chases that joy. My work is elaborate and complicated while yearning to avoid the very entanglements it embodies.”
Lisa Stefanelli has a B.A. from the Rhode Island School of Design. Her work in the permanent collections of the United States Department of State, Washington DC, The West Collection, Oaks, PA, The Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, MA, The Mondstudio Collection at the Kunstmuseum, Berne, Switzerland, The Albright Knox Gallery, Buffalo, NY and The Wynn Collection, Las Vegas, NV.
With her uniquely considered and abundantly stratified mark-making, highly-regarded California artist Amy Ellingson confronts the experience of the traditional with the progressive. Intently revealing the dichotomy of her process with its initial fast-paced digital renderings followed by the artist’s painstaking method of painting with a time-honored, traditional oil and encaustic painting technique, Ellingson’s work thoroughly captivates the eye. With its sumptuous materiality, use of repetition and charged and muted color in often massive scale, the artist’s inimitable mark is, as New York Times art critic Ken Johnson reviewed, “optically enthralling and sensuously tactile.” Johnson also states, “Ellingson generates complex, layered patterns and converts them into satiny, subtly-coordinated oil-painted fields.” This characteristically and tangibly-thick brushwork, amplified via the use of encaustic, gives body to the artist’s exploration of repetition. Using ephemeral, computer-generated images exclusively as her artist-created source material, the same shapes and blurs are re-composed into her paintings which physically assert themselves through a pure materiality which Ellingson endlessly expands upon in her “Variation” series. As an artful translation from the “virtual” to the “real,” the artist conveys that each painting for her alludes to something paramount: human impulse overtaking the result of keystroke commands so that the material reality of the work then becomes, on balance, very traditional with its wood panels, chalk, gesso and paint made of ground minerals, turpentine, oil, beeswax and resin. Ellingson states, “I love the connection to the past. Artists have been using these materials for hundreds of years and have an intrinsic relationship to them.” With results that are anything but traditional, Ellingson’s singular approach to abstraction is optically compelling as she ponders the larger questions therein: the nature of humanity as it intersects with the rise of digital realities and the cultural complexities both visible and not yet seen.
Amy Ellingson received her B.A. from Scripps College in Claremont, CA and M.F.A. from California Institute of the Arts. Her paintings have been widely exhibited nationally and in Tokyo, Japan. She is the recipient of the Fleishhacker Foundation Eureka Fellowship and the Artadia Grant to Individual Artists and has been awarded fellowships at the MacDowell Colony, the Ucross Foundation, and the Civitella Ranieri Foundation. Her work is included in the permanent collections of The Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, San Francisco, CA, The Paul Allen Collection, Seattle, WA, Bank of America, Charlotte, NC, Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley, CA, City and County of San Francisco, CA, Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, Monterey, CA, The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, HI, Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA, Hewlett-Packard Corporation, Palo Alto, CA, Monterey Museum of Art, Monterey, CA, Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, CA, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA, San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA, Twitter, Inc., San Francisco, CA, United Sates Embassy, Algeria, and United States Embassy, Tunisia. Notable group exhibitions include Bay Area Now 3 at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts; Neo Mod: Recent Northern California Abstraction at the Crocker Art Museum; and Nineteen Going on Twenty: Recent Acquisitions from the Collection at The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu. Ellingson’s recent public commission entitled Untitled (Large Variation), is permanently on view in Terminal 3 at San Francisco International Airport. Concurrently, Ellingson’s work is featured in group exhibitions at Newcomb Art Museum of Tulane University in New Orleans, LA and Bedford Gallery at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek, CA.
Each painting from Kansas artist Erin Wiersma’s “Examen” series is a densely-layered composition of overlapping linear marks of hand-mixed pigments and polymer binders. More than its overt layers of painted or drawn lines of minimal palettes, each stratified painting based on a specific date, began as a daily practice; an act of mindfulness as a meditative ritual bordering on performance. Currently the dates are intended to point to a start time, generally placing the works on a timeline which may accurately correlate to the genesis of that painting or instead include dates of events that are important (in ways either small or significant) from both private or collective moments that are embodied in memory. It is this pursuit of the authentic and conscious mark which the artist feels parallels a kind of universal quest. Wiersma states,” In my drawings, I seek to discover a confluence of the spiritual and material. My works are created through a meditative process of tracing, eliminating, finding and forging drawn lines on the surface of the paper. These accumulated marks become intertwined layers and untraceable histories of past, present and future.” As a temporal consideration, the artist’s single-minded deliberations define time for her as it brings deep space into form through each expressive gesture. At once equally contemplative and dynamic, vibrant translucency and opacity become metaphors for experience; contained, yet expansive within the ongoing continuum of Wiersma’s work.
Erin Wiersma has a B.A. from Messiah Collage, Grantham, PA and an M.F.A. from the University of Connecticut along with additional studies at the Institutio San Lodovica, in Orvieto, Italy. Wiersma has been recognized with several University Small Research Grants from Kansas State University, a Big 12 Faculty Fellowship (President’s Academic Excellence Award) and residencies including Two Coats of Paint, Brooklyn, NY, and Draw international, Caylus, France. Her work has been exhibited at Bottega Chioccia Tsarkova, Orvieto, Italy, Dairy Arts Center, Boulder, CO, Vita Arts Center, Ventura, CA, Governors Island, House B, Governors Island, NY, Marin Museum of Contemporary Art, Springfield Art Museum, Springfield MO, Clara Hatton Gallery, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, The Shore Institute of Contemporary Arts, Long Branch, NJ and numerous university art galleries. Wiersma is an Associate Professor of Art at Kansas State University.