Insight can be accomplished in a variety of ways, with often the best means of comprehension being found recursively in the activity of the process itself. The four artists selected for this winter's New Artists Feature look toward tools, governmental research and innate physicality to move towards a better understanding. I am honored to present the work of the Culturehall's newest members: Sara Dittrich, Xuan Chen, Ashley Carter and Brooks Dierdorff.
Sara Dittrich works between a wide range of disciplines including sculpture, musical performance and technology to reflect upon the physicality of the body. This notion of the body is inclusive beyond the human form as object — giving equal consideration to how the body is a vessel for movement and communication. Her video Trio For Solo Contrabass revolves around the artist and two musicians working as a team with the instrument to produce a single pitch indefinitely. The act of playing the stand up bass has been altered to an endeavor requiring a division of labor by the use of a two-meter long musical bow created by the artist. Through collaboration the trio produce the minimal one-tone verse.
Layered, prismatic and idiosyncratically referential, Xuan Chen's paintings from her series Screens negotiate the traditional cannon of abstraction while giving technology equal consideration. For each painting Xuan first creates simple forms in 3D software programs that are deconstructed through the manipulation of their base elements. Toying with but moving beyond the traditional concepts of the still life, each oil and acrylic work are in essence an interpreted duplicate of the first work, as the paintings on panel become the physical manifestation of a digital entity. Xuan's original subject matter is constructed but ultimately intangible as it lives only as reference in the realm of the computer display.
The Figurehead series by Ashley Carter presents a collection of sculptures that form a fulcrum between surface and structure. Each form begins life as a digitally printed latex skin that displays a life-size image of an Olympic figure skater from the 1980s. Once prepared, pounds and pounds of plaster are poured into the latex vessels. Recognizable, but now grotesque, each form become distorted through the physical aftermath of process — a geological, lava-esque wrangling of liquids as they transform into solids. The result hugs a border between an act of comedy and malice. Making public the physical presence of the artist as she wrestled the amorphous forms into shape.
In a move beyond his studio practice, Brooks Dierdorff created the Mojave Desert Mule Deer Refuge (MDMDR). Exhibited during High Desert Test Sites 2013, the MDMDR is an extension of Brooks' exploration of the complex relationships that have developed between hunting culture, wildlife conservation and nature. The outdoor project attempts to create an ideal environment for this specific species based on research from the most recent National Park Service study of mule deer habitats in Southern California. Beyond providing food, water and shelter for the local mule deer population, non-local plant species were removed from the half-acre installation site and replaced with bitterbrush, a common, local food source.
David Andrew Frey is a New York-based artist, curator, and technologist. He founded Culturehall in 2008 as a new way for artists to connect with curators, gallerists, collectors, and other artists. David received an MFA in Studio Art from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2000. He has also studied at the Camberwell College of Art in London, the Hochschule der Künste in Berlin, The University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and the Savannah College of Art and Design. He recently curated exhibitions in New York of work by Culturehall artists for Ligne Roset, the Big Screen Plaza, and Cindy Rucker Gallery.