Commissions

MARY ANN PETERS
impossible monument (telltale)
Jacob Lawrence Gallery
July 7 – August 18, 2017

Mary Ann Peters, impossible monument (telltale), 2017.
Watercolor, survival blanket, aluminum, sailcloth.
Dimensions variable. Image credit: Ripple Fang

For Untold Passage Mary Ann Peters created a new piece in her impossible monuments series that commemorate the histories that go unmemorialized, events “that deserve reverence but by virtue of its incidental nature would never be elevated to the status of a monument.” In impossible monument (telltale) Peters looks at the experiences of immigrants and refugees, using a sail as a canvas to point to the experiences of individuals forced to flee their homes.  

Mary Ann Peters is an artist whose combined studio work, installations, public art projects and arts activism have made noted contributions to the Northwest and nationally for over 30 years. Most recently her work has focused on the overlap of contemporary events with splintered histories in the Middle East.  Her awards include the 2015 Stranger Genius Award in Visual Art, a 2013 Art Matters Foundation research grant, the MacDowell Colony Pollock Krasner Fellowship (2011), the Civita Institute Fellowship (2004) and the Behnke Foundation Neddy Award in Painting (2000). She is a founder of COCA (Center on Contemporary Art), a recipient of the Artist Trust Leadership and Arts Award, and former board member and board president of NCFE (National Campaign for Freedom of Expression), the seminal group who defended artist rights and the First Amendment during the Helms era. She lives and works in Seattle, Washington.

KELLER EASTERLING
Gift City
Henry Art Gallery
January 23, 2016 – July 17, 2016

Keller Easterling, Gift City (2016). Image credit: Hami Bahadori

In Gift City, Keller Easterling advocated for the rights of cities in their complex relationships with large corporate tenants such as Amazon. Easterling visualized the many benefits that cities offer to the companies that chose to inhabit them – including built-in security and transportation networks – to argue for a greater appreciation for what cities bring to the table. The exhibition was accompanied by a set of programs that examined Seattle’s changing urban fabric, including City Wealth: Hot Money and Seattle in the 21st Century with Cary Moon and Charles Mudede, A Space of One’s Own: A Conversation about Affordable Housing and Workspaces for Artists, a talk by artist Buster Simpson, A City’s Disposition, Surface City: A participatory workshop with Tivon Rice, and a seminar, Re-Imagining Urban Scholarship: Differencing the Data.

From the exhibition text: 
The office park or campus is a global phenomenon. Currently, the most gigantic and contagious versions are free zone enclaves offering glittering skylines and generous legal exemptions to attract investors. But labor usually ends up on the losing end of these deals, and investing in existing cities rather than newly minted enclaves would return more benefits to the economies of host countries. 

When cities like Las Vegas, Detroit, and Seattle do build downtown campuses rather than exurban enclaves, what sort of precedent do they set in the global urban network? Often the investors in these downtown scenarios are regarded as saviors that come bearing cash, jobs, revenues, and other progressive gifts to a grateful city.

In Gift City, architect and theorist, Keller Easterling assembles a heaping pile of gifts to make visible the flood of assets and advantages that cities, like the ones mentioned above, already bring to the table for their investors and citizens. While econometrics rule the world, the project attempts to demonstrate the value of a spatial portfolio of urban arrangements and relationships. With portfolios like these, cities around the world might reappraise their worth and make a better bargain for their future. 

Keller Easterling, Gift City (2016). Image credit: Hami Bahadori

ANTHONY MARCELLINI
Obsolescere: The Thing is Falling
The Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center 
Saturday, October 4, 2014

Anthony Marcellini, Obsolescere: The Thing is Falling (2014).

Obsolescere: The Thing is Falling was a performance that captured objects at the moment their usefulness becomes uncertain. Drawn from the Latin obsolescere—“falling into disuse,” the idea that an object falls out of use over the course of time reveals that obsolescence is not a fixed point, but an active and fluctuating state. 

Over the course of 25 minutes, a house cat, a Ford Taurus, seven fluorescent light bulbs, a goldfish, several cornstalks, the Encyclopedia Britannica, and a rusted portrait bust spoke about their conditions, narrating perspectives on utility, breakdown, and contradiction. This series of conversations addressed the condition of all objects, humans included, when they outlive their usefulness. 

Anthony Marcellini is an artist and writer whose practice examines the social relationships of seemingly disparate objects, artworks, individuals, historical events, and natural phenomena. He is particularly interested in the moment of collapse or breakdown, specifically how our understanding of objects or events changes when they crash or lose their intended purpose. His work has been exhibited internationally at museums, galleries, and art institutions, including Galerie Michael Janssen, Singapore (2014); Witte De With, Rotterdam (2013, 2014); Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco (2013); The Gothenburg Konsthall (2013); and Wilkinson Gallery, London (2012-13), among others. 

MELVIN MOTI
The Vision Machine
December 4–6, 2014 
The Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center

Melvin Moti, The Vision Machine (2014).

The Vision Machine was a kinetic light sculpture that produced a 20-minute film based on the behavior of light in prisms. Drawing on optics and material science, this optical box harnessed the same physical principles that give rise to everyday atmospheric effects such as rainbows and sundogs by shining light through a series of rotating prisms and focusing it back onto a wall with a lens. The Vision Machine is conceptually based on Riccardo Manzotti’s idea of the “Spread Mind,” which proposes that consciousness is spread between physical phenomena and the individual. The viewer doesn’t see the world; he is part of a world process. In the installation, diffracted light serves as a metaphor for our consciousness as an interrelated process of worldly phenomena, partly external and partly internal, but never static. Melvin Moti worked collaboratively with a team of Rensselaer undergraduate physics and engineering students to create The Vision Machine

Melvin Moti lives and works in Rotterdam, Netherlands. He examines neurological, scientific, and historic processes in relation to visual culture. Over the last several years he has produced films, artist books, objects, and drawings. He has had solo exhibitions at Mudam (Luxembourg), Wiels (Brussels), Kunstverein Harburger Bahnhof (Hamburg), Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), and MMK (Frankfurt). His two most recent films, Eigengrau (2011) and Eigenlicht (2012), were included in The Encyclopedic Palace at the 55th International Art Exhibition, Venice, Italy.

Related programming: 
Talk by Riccardo Manzotti “The Spread Mind: How to Locate Consciousness in the Physical World” on Thursday, December 4, 2014.

BOMB Magazine Interview: 
Melvin Moti by Emily Zimmerman 

GORDON HALL
Read me that part a-gain, where I disin-herit everybody”
The Experimental Media and Performing Art Center 
April 1, 2014 

Titled after a line from composer John Cage’s remarkable 1959 Lecture on Nothing, Gordon Hall’s lecture-performance Read me that part a-gain, where I disin-herit everybody offered a history of lecture-performances using sculptural objects, sound, and projected images. Hall is the founder and director of the Center for Experimental Lectures, a roving series of curated lecture-performances that embraces the lecture format itself as a creative medium. The Center for Experimental Lectures emerged from Hall’s studio practice, where sculptures and performances pose questions about the possibilities created and foreclosed by different kinds of platforms, from furniture to politics. 

Gordon Hall is an artist based in New York. Hall’s sculptures and performances have been exhibited at SculptureCenter, The Renaissance Society, Brooklyn Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Whitney Museum of American Art, Movement Research, Art in General, Temple Contemporary, Foxy Production, Hessel Museum at Bard College, White Columns, Wysing Arts Centre, Abrons Arts Center, Socrates Sculpture Park, The Drawing Center, and Chapter NY, among others. Gordon Hall has organized lecture and performance programs at MoMA PS1, Recess, Interstate Projects, The Shandaken Project at Storm King Art Center, and at the Whitney Museum of American Art, producing a series of lectures and seminars in conjunction with the 2014 Whitney Biennial. Hall’s writings and interviews have been featured in a variety of publications including Artforum, Art in America, V Magazine, Randy, Title Magazine, and Theorizing Visual Studies (Routledge, 2012). 

BOMB Magazine Interview:
Gordon Hall by Emily Zimmerman

RYAN AND TREVOR OAKES 
The Periphery of Perception
The Experimental Media and Performing Art Center
February 21 – June 31, 2012 

Identical twins Ryan and Trevor Oakes engage in probing studies of visual perception and light through material investigations, discovering methods that constitute key advancements in the representation of visual reality. Dirung the winter of 2012 the twins were in residence in EMPAC’s Concert Hall, creating a commissioned drawing. This drawing marked the first time the Oakes brothers drawings trace the perimeter of binocular vision. This new work will be shown as part of The Periphery of Perception — an exhibition looking at the development of the Oakes’ work over the past 10 years. 

Related programming: 
A panel discussion on optics, the nature of light, and the rendering of visual reality with writer Damien James, photographer Michael Benson, and artists Ryan and Trevor Oakes on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 6 pm.