Exhibition Dates: February 5-28, 2018
Opening Reception: Friday, February 8, 6-9pm
featuring Halcyon Arts Lab Cohort 1 Fellows Kristin Adair, Chloe Bensahel, Antonius Bui, Hoesy Corona, Stephen Hayes, Estefaní Mercedes, Georgia Saxelby, and Sheldon Scott
The concept of the studio, and with it the artist’s role, is ever-evolving. What once was a “stationary place where portable objects are produced” in Daniel Buren’s original 1971 essay “The Function of the Studio,” is now a sanctuary of creation, a hub for dialogue, and a center of community engagement.
The artists featured in Exchanges seek to challenge the traditional notion of art and commerce by amplifying and illustrating the complex interplay between artist and community. As part of a studio program which emphasizes the power of art and social change, the eight Halcyon Arts Lab Fellows create works of art which facilitate dialogue and inspire action around contemporary issues of social justice. These close connections with community – both within the studio and throughout local, international and virtual centers – allow for a reciprocal exchange of their art practice, creating synchronicity which then, and only then, can manifest as a material work of art. As the Halcyon artists navigate their nine-month residency, they simultaneously evolve their individual practices while engaging with one another’s experiences and challenges. These intimate, studio-based exchanges become increasingly important as they collectively face the question: what is the social role of the artist today?
Halcyon Arts Lab is a residency fellowship program in Washington, DC which supports artists whose work deals with issues of social justice and change. “Exchanges” marks the halfway point of the Halcyon fellowship and offers a tangible glimpse into the multi-layered and socially-focused practices of these eight artists.
Mary Murphy’s work marries traditional illusionistic painting space with the latent psychological aspects of digital manipulation to explore the sexual unconscious. She thinks of her work in terms of Surrealism’s imaginative reworking of reality, using the familiar to create the jarringly unexpected. Distortion serves as a metaphor in her work for physical and psychological transformation. The seamless spatial and scale disjunctions of digital language evoke the illogical juxtapositions of dreams. The mutation of teeth and eyes into abstract forms suggesting sexual orifices and protrusions creates ‘disembodied’ figures that are uncanny and absurd. Unlike conventional figures, they resemble cross-sections of the interior body: the translation of facial topography into sexual anatomy mirrors the movement from exterior to interior, from object to subject.
Murphy’s work is not conventional realism, although she does use a recognizable source. These images all arise from the face of a sibling taken from the last photograph of her intact family. Through digital manipulation, color and scale, Murphy elaborates on the dynamic emotional content of her relationship with this sibling, teasing out the struggle for individual identity within familial roles and the sometimes traumatic psychological consequences–disintegration, fragmentation–of this struggle, as well as the formation of a unique, whole, and integrated self forged from these experiences.
Murphy calls these works Hybrids firstly, because they combine the external representation of a sibling with her emotional perspective and her experience of her own body, so she considers them composite portraits. Secondly, they combine disparate modus operandi, such as interior and exterior spaces, abstract and representational imagery, illusionistic and digital languages. Lastly, hybridity expresses Murphy’s fundamental belief that nothing is pure or without aspects of other realities.
In these works, Murphy provides a psychological, visual, and material context for a moment of transition, of something becoming–a new entity, a merged whole–through the integration of color, surface, and light.
Selections from the Hechinger Collection
Creative Labor: Selections from The Hechinger Collection brings together a cross-section of diverse works by fifteen visionary artists from The Hechinger Collection, which was gifted to International Arts & Artists by John and June Hechinger in 2003. The collection’s contemporary prints, drawings, paintings, and sculptures represent a variety of 20th-century art which uses tools as art, exploring the line between utility and artistry.
This special exhibition features work by: Berenice Abbott, Yuri Avvakumov, Tom Christopher, Jim Dine, Henryk Fantazos, Ke Francis, Werner Hoeflich, Jacob Lawrence, Harlan Mathieu, Mineo Mizuno, Claes Oldenburg, Jeff Spaulding, William T. Wiley, and Bill Wilson