Saturday, May 26, 2012

Friends of the Orphan Signs exhibition at 516 Arts

May 26 - Aug 11, 2012 

Time Pieces: Friend of the Orphan Signs

Opening Reception: Saturday, May 26, 6-8pm
Members-Only Preview & Talk, 4-5:30pm

Featuring music by Dan Lambert & JD Davis
Friends of the Orphan Signs, an exhibition in the upstairs gallery organized by artist/curator Ellen Babcock, showcases historic Albuquerque road signs alongside artwork created in response to them, focusing on a dialogue between historic content and contemporary art practices. Friends of the Orphan Signs is a collaborative, public art initiative directed by Babcock, which utilizes abandoned road signs as sites for community generated public art. Once glowing with the neon life-blood of the Mother Road, road signs along Central Avenue have become skeletal remnants of their former selves. In a series of interventions both actual and proposed, Friends of the Orphan Signs, in collaboration with the city of Albuquerque Public Art Program, infuses these sites with the creative voices of our community. Featured projects in the exhibition present histories of signage in Albuquerque as a context to imagine the future of light, color, image and text along Central Avenue. Artists and contributing curators include Pete Yahnke Railand, Lindsey Fromm, Jessamyn Lovell, Aline Hunziker and Bethany Delahunt.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Installing at 516 Arts

Pete and Lindsey painting in the back gallery

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

FOS exhibition reviewed in Local IQ

Clock work: Time Pieces at 516 Arts
By Chloƫ Winegar-Garrett

With so many issues stirred up by current events in today’s world it seems impossible to narrow in on one subject, especially in art. Yet 516 ARTS is hosting a show featuring three vastly different art projects with various notions of time and place that come together seamlessly. Time Pieces is a collection of artist collaborations spanning such diverse elements as animals,landscapes and time.

“Wendover Landing,” a collection of ceramic messenger pigeons with specific messages, was organized by poet Miriam Sagan and utilizes the talent of textile artist Alisa Dworskyand sculptor Christy Hengst. Sagan described the process toLocal iQ: “I’ve been writing about beauty, and then destruction. I’m working with two sculptors, though it doesn’t necessarily start with words or images.”
The unique way of combining words and objects is hauntingly beautiful. Sagan’s previous experiences led her to this project.  “I had this experience of being in a very remote, solitary, scary setting on the edge of a bombing range,” she explained. “It’s a pretty masculine landscape. It was very lonely.”
Sagan said she wanted to work with the experience in her art, and what happened with the project as it evolved and she attempted to digest it was that “it became feminine, inviting. The words on the birds ... are an attempt to create a remoteness in a very different way.”
Image“Common Language” and “Punctuating the Landscape” bySuzi Davidoffand Rachelle Thiewes,respectively, look at the similarities and differences in places across the world through installations within landscapes and the photographic and video documentation of the results. Davidoff told Local iQ: “Using the funding from an artist grant, we got to Finland with purposefully no idea of what we wanted to do and just wanted to work in the landscape and let our surroundings dictate the project. We came back to the Chihuahua desert and continued the work in a vehicle.”
Beginning with digital cameras, their process of developing photographs is popular in Europe and Asia, but is rarely used in the United States. The high-process printing on aluminum gives a sheen and texture that is different than other prints, dually focusing on the aesthetics as well as the content of two diverse places.

“I think both of our works focuses on the idea of taking a closer look at the landscape around you and seeing the connections both historical and present-day,” Davidoff said.

“Friends of the Orphan Signs” was arranged by Ellen Babcock as a way of creating beauty from abandoned signs. “After traveling, I came back to New Mexico for a position at the university. I realized I didn’t have much familiarity with the city, and the graduate students I was with didn’t have much either,” Babcock explained to Local iQ. “One of the students took us on a walking tour of Central, and I was struck by the lack of interior to the sign shapes. When I looked at them later that night, I realized they could be a great spot for public art.”

Babcock described some challenges of working with signs: “They were mostly weather-related, but also dealing with incentive for property owners, and the kinds of negotiations we had to go through were complicated,” she said. And now she finds herself advocating for keeping the signs as they are.

“I would like to see the renovation, reuse of signs and for the ordinances to allow them to become permanent pieces for the city rather than them being torn down,” Babcock said. “But we want to cultivate a sense of mystery, humor, surprise and an aesthetic of beauty. We want variety and a non-standardized approach to the signs.”

Needless to say, this will be a unique exhibit highlighting creative collaboration. While there may be noticeable differences in media and content, these projects all come together in a stunning whole in Time Pieces.
Time Pieces
6p, Sat., May 26
516 ARTS  |  516 Central SW, 505.242.1445