Curator: B.j. Vogt
Artists: Angela Malchionno, Katie Ford, Florence Gidez, Travis Russell, Gina Alvarez, Jessica Baran, Amy Thompson
The exhibition Within an Evolving Horizon: The 2012 Creative Stimulus Award Exhibition at the Regional Arts Commission (RAC) is curated by B.j. Vogt and presented by Critical Mass for the Visual Arts. Every year Critical Mass awards three artists a stipend of $1,500 each to assist them in creating work and expanding their horizons.
“The idea of place is a theme I always return to,” says Florence Gidez, a printmaker in this exhibition. Gidez speaks not only of her own interests but also to the show’s themes of the urban environment and concepts of place, themes important to all the artists. Amy Thompson, Gina Alvarez, and Jessica Baran, a group collaboration.
Gidez and Katie Ford are participants in the Proper Residency program, located in an urban farmhouse arrangement in Dutchtown. “Residents engage and explore the unique urban environment of St. Louis,” explains founder Angela Malchionno. “Our main goal is to provide a live/work space to facilitate artistic practice and foster regional connections.”
Malchionno received one of the three 2012 Critical Mass Creative Stimulus Awards for her proposal of the Proper Residency program and she raised more money through Kickstarter. She exhibits a Kickstarter book which outlines her work on the program.
Though Gidez comes from Vermont, she sees similarities between that state and St. Louis. “The sense of loss in Vermont’s dilapidated barns, houses, and vehicles is also present in many urban environments such as St. Louis,” she says.
Gidez’s fellow resident, Katie Ford, works with textiles. She knitted pairs of sweaters, connected each pair with a large section of decorative textile, and photographed the sweaters on models as they wound around buildings, interacting with architecture. In this exhibition, Ford displays the sweaters and photos of these interactions. “My work comes out of the desire to dig into these relationships that we build around our physical and mental habitats,” she explains.
Physical and mental spaces in St. Louis play a large role in the work of Travis Russell, an individual artist and recipient of an Award. “This dynamic urban center is dense and visually diverse, littered with ruins of decaying buildings that exist in limbo with the collapse of past civilizations,” he says. Influenced by graphic arts, movies, and graphic novels, he creates assemblages and works on paper that comment on the complexities of contemporary life.
The third Award recipient is a group collaborative comprised of Gina Alvarez, Jessica Baran, and Amy Thompson who move away from the space of contemporary urban life to focus on a more meditative subject: nature. They present 366 Skies, a yearlong project which includes wall-mounted photos of the sky, as well as identical prints bound in a book. Each print is paired with a poem for each day of the year. Alvarez’s artistic interests lie in exaggeration and a sense of wonderment; Baran writes an ongoing arts column for the Riverfront Times; and Thompson’s science background, plus her training as a printmaker and book artist, contribute to the experimental and exact execution of her work.
Within an Evolving Horizon opens at RAC on Friday, August 9 from 5:30 – 7:30pm and is free and open to the public. The curator and artists will give a gallery talk on Thursday, August 22 from 5:30 – 7:00pm. The exhibition continues through September 28.