Rachel Perry Welty has been creating obsessive, repetitive, and process-based works about aspects of her own life for over a decade. 24/7 is her first large-scale solo museum show and features Welty's major works in drawing, sculpture, collage, installation, video, photography, and social media–some of which has been created especially for this exhibition.
As a conceptual artist, Welty utilizes whatever methods or materials best communicate the concept or idea for the artwork. Her disparate practices are unified by an interest in investigating language and systems as well as a visual aesthetic that combines the spare, precision of Minimalism with the vivid color and irony of Pop Art. Welty's beautifully crafted work addresses a wide variety of issues including consumerism, suburbia, narcissism, information overload, language, the fleeting nature of experience, the passage of time, humor, and ultimately, life and death.
Welty takes daily life as her subject, incorporating the mundane and the extraordinary in equal measure. She appropriates the material that annoyingly, and sometimes mistakenly, inundates our lives as her subject, including spam emails, wrong number voice messages, receipts, twist ties, fruit stickers, Facebook updates, and even Muzak. The disposable minutiae of life is collected, organized, and transformed in poignant and visually surprising ways that uncover the poetic in the everyday. Whether painstakingly coding and copying her son's hospital receipts and records, creating brightly colored wallpaper from fruit stickers, or meticulously reporting her every action on Facebook, Welty's surprising transformations continually comment on and record what Welty calls, "the business of living."
Major funding provided by James and Audrey Foster, The Goldhirsh Foundation, a grant from the Artists' Resource Trust, Katherine Kirk and Malcolm Gefter, Barbara and Jonathan Lee, and an anonymous donor. Additional support provided by AT&T and John and Deborah French.
Watch videos of Rachel Perry Welty in her studio and installing at deCordova.
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Drawing with Code brings together a selection of computer-generated art by the form's earliest and most important practitioners from the 1950s to today. The Providence-based collection of Anne and Michael Spalter is one of the largest and most important of its kind in the U.S. and shines a new light onto a darkened corner of the art historical record.
In our current digital environment when just about everyone holds the processing power of a full computer in their pocket, it is difficult to remember a time when computer technology was not involved in every aspect of our lives. In the arts—visual, cinematic, musical, dance, and theater—the computer has become not only an accepted, but in many cases, an intrinsic tool for artistic expression. The artists featured in Drawing with Code emerged in the early computer-era when the technology was rudimentary by current standards and its capabilities rarely extended beyond the world of computation. Merging their interests in art and coding, these practitioners came to be known as "Algorists," artists who employed original algorithms to create images. In addition to works on paper, Drawing with Code presents the work of two filmmakers, Lillian Schwartz and Stan VanDerBeek, who were brought into Bell Labs Research by Kenneth Knowlton to make some of the first computer art animations. These six animations were collaborations using Knowlton's BEFLIX (Bell Flicks) programming language for bitmap computer-produced movies.
The artists in Drawing with Code represent some of the earliest innovations in computer-generated art from the U.S., Europe, and Asia, pioneering a new form of collaboration between technology and art that pushed the boundaries of both.
Featured artists: Yoshiyuki Abe, Manuel Barbadillo, Jean-Pierre Hébert, Desmond Paul Henry, Sven Höglund / Bror Wikstörm, Sture Johannessen, Hiroshi Kawano, Kenneth Knowlton, Ben F. Laposky, Manfred Mohr, Vera Molnar, Frieder Nake, George Nees, Lillian F. Schwartz, Stan VanDerBeek, Roman Verotsko, Mark Wilson, and Edward Zajec.
This exhibition is organized by guest curator George Fifield, Director, Boston Cyberarts Inc. and is part of the 2011 Boston Cyberarts Festival.
Using a signature blend of sculpture and design, Barbara Gallucci reimagines the Museum's third-floor lobby as an indoor landscape with her "topiary" beanbag chairs and cork-covered terrace. Utopiary Terrace is a fully functional installation that references manicured lawns and the manufactured landscape while reflecting on the artist's long-standing interest in the place of nature in contemporary culture and how Modernist design helped shaped that relationship. Installed in a glass-enclosed area of the Museum, Gallucci's Utopiary Terrace also addresses deCordova's site as an indoor and outdoor venue for contemporary art, following the over-arching theme of the PLATFORM series.
"Topia," according to Gallucci, is a word fragment derived partly from the word utopia, an ideal but unattainable state which fueled much of Modernist ideology of the mid-20th century, and topiary, an artificially sculpted landscape. The sculptures' grass-like chenille covering evokes a mass-manufactured notion of "nature" and a human desire to control our environment. The curved, cork-covered platforms refer to, in equal measure, tiered, sculpted landscapes and Modernist architecture which first used the durable and natural material as floor covering – a prime example of which can be found in the 1938 historic home of Modernist architect and founder of the Bauhaus school, Walter Gropius, which is just down the road from deCordova.
In Utopiary Terrace we find nature "behaving" for culture; existing for our pleasure, functioning to bring comfort. One might say these sculptures are "in nature's image," but without the muss and fuss of real life or lawn.
The 2010-11 PLATFORM series is funded by James and Audrey Foster.
Bartow + Metzgar's collaborative art practice is an experimental engagement with the environment. The artists research specific sites as a way to understand the complex relationships among cultural, historical, geological, and scientific information that cumulatively define our experiences of a particular place. They utilize radical geography, interventionist strategies, and information systems in a collective practice that includes the two artists and a host of researchers, mycologists, artists, and even museum visitors. In doing so, they propose an equally radical new way to produce, and perhaps, understand information as art.
Over the past year, artists Paul Bartow and Richard Metzgar have built and manned a two-person structure in the Sculpture Park, the Morphology Field Station for Sensing Place, as a hub for their ongoing research into deCordova's site. Now, in the Museum's Dewey Family Gallery, they unveil their findings in a large-scale installation that is at once a living archive and reinterpretation of the Museum's physical, historical, geological, and conceptual landscape. Architecture, drawings, photographs, videos, and found objects all taken or derived from the physical properties of the Sculpture Park are elaborately arranged in the gallery that has been transformed into a three-dimensional rendering of the property. The artists used a series of visually-derived systems pulled from the site itself (from the drawings and maps of the park) to dictate their findings. In doing so, they have removed themselves from the process, allowing for surprising relationships to emerge and opening up the possibilities for a different experience between ourselves and the outdoors.
Alongside the natural sample specimens, Bartow + Metzgar have included works of art from the Museum's Permanent Collection as an expression of the inter-connected relationship among land, time, and culture inherent in our site as art museum and park. The installation is titled Stratimentation: Investigations of a Metamorphic Landscape, a fabricated, composite term that hints at the layered and changing notions of time that can co-exist in a single place: historical, geological, and biological time are all compressed and stratified in a given site in the simplest forms of people, rocks and plants. In Bartow + Metzgar's hands, these layers unfold in virtual and physical space.
The 2009-2010 PLATFORM series is funded in part by James and Audrey Foster.
You can follow Bartow + Metzgar's year-long research on their blog at: http://stratimentation.wordpress.com.
Existed is a mid-career survey of the New York based artist, Leonardo Drew. This exhibition highlights Drew's career-long interest in the cyclical nature of creation, decay, and regeneration through a selection of large-scale sculptures, installations, and works on paper. Built from rows of stacked cotton and wooden boxes, stuffed with rags, covered with scavenged objects, and caked with rust to suggest degeneration, Drew's sculptural work is made to resemble the detritus of everyday life. The artist often ages his found and fabricated materials, employing a process that is physically and conceptually steeped in memory, history, and the passage of time. These disparate materials are often composed within a grid that organizes the chaos into an ordered structure. Deeply informed by the theory and practice of mid-twentieth-century abstraction, post-minimal and process art, Drew's emotionally-charged abstract compositions are evocative and carry both a metaphorical and historical weight. To encourage personal interpretation, Drew titles his works sequentially and explains that "the works in themselves should act as mirrors."
Spanning twenty years, Existed displays Drew's seminal piece, Number 8 assembled in 1988, through the monumental Number 123, that has been re-fashioned by the artist specifically for deCordova in the Grand Stairwell. While the show's title, Existed, refers to the past, its emphasis on a life lived invokes the present. It speaks of the profound human urge to leave a trace, to be remembered, to state "I was here." As such, it is an appeal against forgetting and for remembering, an attempt to write oneself into history. Existed considers Drew's interest in the cycles of life–birth, death, rebirth–that allows the past to be continually revealed through the present.
This exhibition has been organized by the Blaffer Gallery, The Art Museum of the University of Houston. Major funding has been provided in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional support from the Eleanor and Frank Freed Foundation, the Harpo Foundation, the Linda Pace Foundation, The Fifth Floor Foundation, and Sikkema Jenkins & Co. Opening Reception sponsored by Welch & Forbes LLC.
In her sculptures Brooklyn-based artist Martha Friedman depicts tricks and balancing acts, while arguing for the possible sexual connotation in everything. Referencing the history of art, from high modernist abstraction to minimalism to the Duchampian ready-made, Friedman is interested in locating the point at which common objects slip into abstraction and, even more so, eroticism. As a result, food, which is so deeply connected to the body, emerges as one of her subjects, as do quotidian objects like rubber bands and eggs in conglomerations that are beautiful, witty, and often set up visual and verbal double-entendres.
For her first solo museum exhibition in the Northeast, Friedman presents RUBBERS, a collection of cast rubber sculptures that explore the nature of sculptural and bodily materiality through food items and rubber's most ubiquitous form: the rubber band. Implicating the human body through substance, subject matter, and scale, Friedman's work presents the material of sculpture through the material condition of the body. In doing so, she exposes the underlying connection between objects, bodies, and their histories.
Watch Martha Friedman at work in her studio while she discusses her artistic process.