January 6-29, 2017
Opening Reception: Friday, January 6, 6-9pm
Closing Reception + Artist Talk with Steven Dolbin: Sunday, January 29, 1-3pm (artist talk at 1:30pm)
In her artwork, Heather Clark builds systems that critique our current world predicament. Her work plays on what she calls cultural neurosis: the human tendency to over-consume, over-build, over-groom, etc. in lieu of direct physical exertion to ensure survival. She views this as a misdirected attempt to satisfy basic primal urges for shelter, food, and clothing in a society where actions are grossly amplified because one gallon of gasoline equals five hundred hours of human work output.
Heather’s work and perspective have evolved from her background in green building and ecology, and most recently from her life in exurbia, where she has lived and worked for the past six years. She is embedded in a landscape that feeds on cultural neurosis. Meadows, forests, and farms transitioning to tract homes and cul de sacs have become her muse. As an inhabitant of exurbia, Heather is both complicit and trapped in the consumption economy and its byproducts – climate change, inequality, unhealthiness, boredom.
Here, the uncanny valley, which is usually discussed in relation to artificial intelligence, appears to Heather in the industrially designed and generated vernacular; she works with her hands in defiance. She dissects infrastructure, places, and the meaning of the built environment and its relation to nature.
Heather holds a Master of Science in Real Estate Development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Architecture and Planning, and a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University, summa cum laude, in Environmental Science and Community Planning, a self-designed major. Heather is the 2016 recipient of the Virginia Commission for the Arts Sculpture Fellowship Award.
As founder of Biome Studio, art is Heather’s tool to shift the paradigm of everyday life. Attempting to lead the path toward zero-energy buildings and neighborhoods, Heather has also overseen the largest deep energy retrofit in the U.S., converted historic mills into green affordable housing, and installed over one megawatt of solar pv on 2,300 low-income apartments. Heather is the 2016 recipient of the Virginia Commission for the Arts Sculpture Fellowship Award. Heather holds a Master of Science in Real Estate Development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Architecture and Planning, and a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University, summa cum laude, in Environmental Science and Community Planning, a self-designed major.
Recent Work by Steven Dolbin
In the making of my work I seek to understand my life experience and creative compulsion. I have found much insight from my exploration of humanities bond with the land. The breadth of my work deals with the spiritual dialogue humans once had with the physical landscape and the more economic/ resource oriented relationship that has come to dominate the present. Through my work of the past two decades, I have tried to reveal some of the more enigmatic properties that exist in our kinship with our environment. I strive to connect my viewers with universal and intuitive feelings that are often dismissed. I try to accomplish this with works that recall ancient monuments and relics, yet are directly tied to the technology that has changed our planet’s surface and helped to form our present culture. Material gleaned from our present day surroundings has played an important role in my work. The incorporation of mortal, synthetic, and natural materials into my work has proven essential to my expression. For me these elements not only reflect our intrusion into geologic time but also hearken to our present urban existence.
Steve Dolbin received a MFA with honors from Pratt Institute, a recognized sculptor, performance artist and published art educator he has exhibited his work throughout the United States and Britain. Dolbin is the recipient of numerous awards such as the prestigious Pollock-Krasner Grant. His work is included in numerous private and public collections and is featured in the seminal textbook on Sculpture and three-dimensional design “Shaping Space by Zelanski and Fisher. Articles concerning his work have appeared in The New York Times, Sculpture Magazine and others. Although American, Steve was elected to the Royal Society of British Sculptors in 2016. Professor Dolbin has taught at institutions such as The University of Connecticut, The University of Massachusetts, Pratt Institute and Amherst College. Steve is currently a full-time professor of sculpture and the former Chairperson of the Department of Art at Shippensburg University.
This body of paintings explores spiritual seeking through our relationships with the digital. The title of the show, mirror/screen/portal, is a reference to both painting and digital devices. Both objects act as mirrors: the painting reflects the trace of the artist’s hand while the digital device acts as a literal mirrored surface. Both objects serve as screens, depicting imagery on a 2-dimensional plane. Additionally, both paintings and digital devices serve as portals into a perceived other, cerebral world. These bridges between the physical and the virtual persistently move us throughout history and allude to the possibility of an alternate, spiritual realm.
Recent paintings within this series feature abstract glyph-like forms that give way to a volumetric Renaissance space. These markings are inspired by finger swipes on touchpads and mobile device, our grease-stained traces of interaction with the screen a merging of tactile and virtual fields. The searching intimacy of the hand in relation to its digital device echoes the relationship we once held with illuminated manuscripts, intended to simultaneously mesmerize in their divine depictions and provide an accessibility to the sacred. My paintings reference Early Renaissance paintings, familiar Photoshop tropes, computer games, hand-manipulated digital scans and stock computer wallpaper of holographic water. Through pairing sacred narratives of the Renaissance with digital symbols, the work suggests the spiritual undercurrents within digital technology in its potential for enlightenment, transcendence, and evoking a sense of the infinite.
Sarah West is a painter whose work examines the ever-changing digital landscape and the spiritual narratives inherent in Early Renaissance work, fusing disparate imagery and color palettes to convey conceptual overlap.
West has exhibited her work nationally in many group shows and in recent solo shows in Washington,DC and Winston-Salem, NC. This past year West was featured in the South 2016 edition of New American Paintings. West received a Bachelor’s degree in Studio Art from Wake Forest University. She subsequently received a Post Baccalaureate certificate in Visual Art from Virginia Commonwealth University and was then awarded an Enrichment Scholarship by School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she studied painting for one year. West earned her MFA at Clemson University in 2012 and has taught painting and drawing courses at Clemson University and Columbus State University. West maintains a regular studio practice at DC Arts Studios in Washington, DC.