Friday, May 25, 2007

José Ruiz, Vesna Pavlovic and Lisa Marie Thalhammer

June 2 – July 7 2007
Opening reception, Saturday June 2, 6:30 – 8:30 pm

G Fine Art presents
José Ruiz, Descendents of Ascension, a multi-dimensional, mixed-media installation.
Jose continues to be guided in his interest in maintaining a visual conversation with the social issues that he describes as “out of his control.” Each investigation, materialized through a wide variety of mediums and formal processes, inherently resurfaces his ongoing focus on identity, visibility, authorship, and labor.

The title, Descendents of Ascension, is an allusion to the American Dream: those who make up the US are the product of those who immigrated in hopes for a better future, and the spiritual meaning as it refers to the Mayan, Aztec, and Incan cultures, that many of the new Latino immigrants are descendants of. Many of the objects carry this double meaning, described often with a consistent transformation theme.

Among the many works in the show are a sci-fi video piece, depicting immigrants charging across the border, photos of the artist himself awaiting work with day laborers, and a series of A-frame ladders made out of drywall that reference the residue of labor as metaphorical symbols of ascent and descent in social class, society and spirituality. Also included is a series of emblems, the official Descendents of Ascension flag to represent this specific territory in the public realm and in the gallery and hanging above the installation, decals of a patriotic airbrushed eagle in a “preying” position, partially painted over, resulting in a set of wings ascending rather then descending.

Jose Ruiz is a curator at the Bronx River Art Center in the Bronx, NY. He is the Artist-in-Residence, for the workspace program at the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, Queens, NY and he will be included in the upcoming show, The (S) Files: El Museo del Barrio’s Bienal, El Museo del Barrio, New York, NY. Curator: Elvis Fuentes, July 2007 – January 2008.

Vesna Pavlovic, Display, Desire, a photographic installation.

In this work Pavlovic explores performance, desire, projection and participation. Using display houses as a subject, she presents her exploration of images of display and the display of images. Pavlovic projects black and white slides of these staged homes, through pieces of colored plexi-glass, distorting the images and creating a space for the viewer to experience. She uses the image, its surface and physical properties to create a heightened atmosphere for participation and time to become integral in observing the transformation and destabilization of the image.

Pavlovic uses an extensive array of photographic display materials; also showing five black and white photographs from the Show Homes series and six and mounted digital color photographs from the Six Color Transparencies series. The artist describes her experience of these display homes; “walking through a staged house feels like walking through a catalog. You either desire it or not.”

Pavlovic began her studies in documentary photography and cinematography at The Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade. She has shown in Serbia and in the US. She recently graduated from the MFA program at the Columbia University and has published several books, the most recent Office Taste co-authored with Casey Smith in 2005 and The Book Project in 2004.

Lisa Marie Thalhammer, Welcome to Lizard County, a series of drawings.

In this new series of work, Thalhammer investigates the underbelly of America’s Highways. Inspired by her experiences in the family’s truck stop, she draws the semi-trucks that brave vast expanses of highways connecting goods and consumers. Alone and lonely, full of desire and intent, this macho trucker world both idealizes women and supports abuse of them. Lot Lizards, a trucker term the title is based on, are prostitutes, who wait in truck stop parking lots. Thalhammer collages images of women from men’s interest magazines as hood ornaments onto the drawings, examining the way feminine beauty is both reverenced and objectified. Appropriated gospel illuminations adorn the drawings, referencing the Bible belt, where the family truck stop was located.

Thalhammer was the recipient of the Young Artist Program Grant Award from the DC Commission of the Arts and Humanities in 2007, and in 2006 the Small Project Programs Grant Award from the DC Commission of the Arts and humanities. She lives and works in Washington DC, and participated in the Exercises for Emerging Artists, which culminated in the show E:3 Painters at Transformer Gallery.

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