The French Connection III
April — August, 2012
The French Connection III, 1708 Gallery's latest satellite exhibition at Richmond's historic Linden Row Inn, features artists from across the globe that have exhibited and worked extensively in Paris at the Cite Internationale des Arts.
The French Connection consists of a group of artists from the United States and abroad who've established studio practice for an extended period of time at the Cite Internationale des Arts in Paris, France. These extraordinary residencies function as a cultural and creative bridge between the known and the unknown in a place, which transcends politics, where the most common language is art. Artists interact on a global stage in Paris where the history is tangible. It is a physical time portal: a grand promenade of the past, present and future for anyone with the curiosity and incentive to look in all directions. The work created by each artist in this exhibition filled their atelier in Paris like a dreamlike vacuum. This exhibition, like a portal, transports us from the Seine, which runs along the Cite Internationale des Artes, from the distant past to our present.
Participating artists include Irene Barberis (Australia), Hafis Bertschinger (Switzerland), Ruth Bolduan (Virginia), Lia Cook (California), Dean Dass (Virginia), Marinda du Toit (South Africa), Elisabeth Flynn-Chapman (Virginia), JC Gilmore-Bryan (Virginia), Sandra Gil (Portugal), Brian Kreydatus (Virginia), Norie Neumark and Maria Miranda (Australia), Amie Oliver (Virginia), Niloofar Rahnama (Iran), Sally Rees (Tasmania), Chuck Scalin (Virginia), Diana Seeholzer (Switzerland), Lisa Tubach (Virginia), Lester Van Winkle (Virginia) and Yvette Watt (Tasmania).
For more information about The French Connection, please visit www.thefrenchconnection2012.blogspot.com.
Irene Barberis, Australia
Irene Barberis has extensively explored images and texts of the Apocalypse over the past three decades. Rather than the typical imagery associated with the Apocalypse, Barberis has been tracing the etymological meaning of "Apocalypse" as "an unveiling and revealing" of Jesus Christ. Her many visits to France and time at La Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris have afforded her firsthand experience of the various historical depictions of the Apocalypse, with French medieval representations and imagery especially influential to her work.
Hafis Bertschinger, Switzerland
While staying at La Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, Hafis Bertschinger became aware of the nightmare of modern traffic, as the nearby, noisy highway chronically interrupted his rest. Bertschinger took traffic noise, essentially a nightmarish lamentation of movements, accidents and explosions, as his theme. Painting and sketching on a scroll, similar to writing a diary, Bertschinger documented his experience of traffic in Paris and repeatedly used the same elements on new scrolls after he returned to Switzerland.
Ruth Bolduan, Virginia, USA
Ruth Bolduan's paintings made during a six-month residency at La Cité des Arts in 2002 were inspired by the reawakening of her love of Boucher and18th century French culture. Although initially at odds with her work for the months following 9/11, her stay in Paris brought her back to painting. The discoveries Bolduan made during her residency are still deeply present in her current work, based on Orientalist painting and investigating contemporary cross-cultural intersections of people, places, and history.
Lia Cook, California, USA
Lia Cook works across media and disciplines in her practice, currently working in collaboration with neuroscientists to investigate emotional responses in the brain created when viewing faces Cook weaves. This particular investigation belies a practice of exploring the sensuality of the woven image and the emotional connections to memories of touch and cloth. Although it has been a number of years since Cook was a resident at La Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, out of her time there grew many series of works examining cloth touching bodies and sensuality of the woven image in historical paintings.
Dean Dass, Virginia, USA
Dean Dass has been greatly inspired by drawings from Picasso's Rose Period and paintings of Lucas Cranach the Elder, which he had seen during the two months he spent at La Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris in 2007. As a place steeped in historical legacy, France greatly influenced Dass' perspective on innovation and tradition, along with his perspectives concerning printmaking as either "the democratic multiple" or "the commodity fetish." These cloud drawings also concern dual tropes, of clouds as Nature's reproach to mankind and as soaring protection. Dass has been featured in 10 solo exhibitions since his stay in Paris.
Miranda du Toit, South Africa
View Agenda, on YouTube at: http://tinyurl.com/agenda-dutoit
View Little Bang, on YouTube at: http://tinyurl.com/littlebang
Marinda Du Toit's recent residencies in Paris and Belgium resulted in a sequential visual journal of her time away from her native South Africa. Her work is a collage of her experiences as an artist and educator of music and language at the University of Pretoria in Gauteng, South Africa and as a teacher at private schools and universities. Her professional practice includes performance and art productions at festivals, group and solo exhibitions and two award-winning animated films of her sculpture, as well as for the score of the film's soundtrack. Her films were named Best Children's Film in the Ukraine and Best Short Film in South Africa.
Elisabeth Flynn-Chapman, Virginia, USA
Elisabeth Flynn-Chapman's stay at La Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris gave her the freedom to think and compose. Flynn-Chapman took the atmosphere of Paris in winter and channeled it into photographic compositions that are both specific and abstract. The inspiration Flynn-Chapman gained to look at old and familiar places with a new vision is an axis of her work that has followed her outside of Paris to Moscow, London, Nimes and Berlin.
Sandra Gil, Portugal
Drawing and spatial gesture are the principal points in Sandra Gil's artwork. It is an attitude of balance. Gil works between two- and three-dimensions, lines within space, where she researches rhythm and pattern and exploits their primordial possibilities. She was awarded a fellowship via the Institut Français to continue research at La Cité Internationale des Arts in January of 2011.
JC Gilmore-Bryan, Virinia, USA
JC Gilmore-Bryan's residency at La Cité Internationale des Arts generated works that showcase and simplify the linear harmonies she saw and felt while studying the Winged Victory at the Louvre. Gilmore-Bryan currently holds teaching positions at Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia State University, and the Visual Arts Center of Richmond. Her honors include residencies at the Cite International des Arts in Paris, a Center for the International Exchange of Scholars teaching residency in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, and a Fulbright Award for teaching and research at the National Academy of Art in Sofia, Bulgaria. She is a member of ONE/OFF Professional Printmakers, and she has had numerous solo and group exhibitions in the United States and beyond.
Brian Kreydatus, Virginia, USA
Brian Kreydatus has had residencies at La Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris in both 2008 and 2011. Paris' museum and curatorial holdings functioned as a valuable resource of inspiration and information, especially the French and Dutch collections at the Louvre and the Courbet retrospective at the Grand Palais. Kreydatus found Courbet particularly inspirational for being able to paint both the specific and universal without losing the power of either expression. The uninterrupted stay at La Cité also allowed Kreydatus the ability to experiment with and add acrylic paint to his studio practice.
Norie Neumark & Maria Miranda, Australia
View Searching for rue Simon-Crubellier, online at: www.thefrenchconnection2012.blogspot.com/search/label/Norie%20Neumark
Norie Neumark and Maria Miranda started their collaborative video and sound installation Searching for rue Simon-Crubellier in 2004 while residing at La Cité Internationale des Arts. In the course of their residency, Neumark and Miranda searched for rue Simon-Crubellier, a fictional street featured in George Perec's novel Life: A User's Manual. Their work is a challenge to discover the possibility of bringing something that does not exist into existence by searching for it.
Amie Oliver, Virginia, USA
Amie Oliver catalogs the passing of time and experience in her work, which possesses an inherent motion. The materials of paper and ink are both timeless for her: paper in its honest portability and ink in its permanence. The Heaven, Earth and Sea series began during 2009 in Tibet, which attempts to bridge the great divides between east and west, north and south, light and dark.
Niloofar Rahnama, Iran
Niloofar Rahnama was first introduced to art through her parents, as an indispensable window out of the closed world of post-revolutionary Iran where she grew up. Painting became the only lever for Rahnama to dominate her surrounding world, as well as an excuse by which she could wipe the dust of loneliness from the face of time. Rahnama attempts to create form without representing color, with music greatly influencing her paintings.
Sally Rees, Tasmania
Listen to A Pack of Lies, online at: www.lies.podomatic.com
Sally Rees' four month residency at La Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris was crucial for her to continue creating work that investigates identity and the self, through the deconstruction and reconstruction of her self-perception and through collaborations with both old and new peers. For one month of her stay, Rees met with filmmaker Toni-Lynn Frederick to create a hand-processed black and white reversal super-8 film of their trip to Lourdes called The Pilgrims. A Pack of Lies is Rees' appropriation of other biographies to create alternate versions of her own, to expose her inner liar.
Chuck Scalin, Virginia, USA
As a photographer, Chuck Scalin's focus is on documenting the visual landscape of urban environments. While in Paris, Scalin was inspired by the surface textures and colors, which ultimately provided the creative impetus for a new series of images. Scalin took photographs of otherwise unnoticed details in Paris and enlarged them, dramatically transforming the images into abstract compositions that transcend their ordinary origins.
Diana Seeholzer, Switzerland
Diana Seeholzer was a resident at La Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris for six months via a scholarship from VISARTE Central Switzerland. Seeholzer researched Paris via its museums, galleries, and tourist traps, and via an old bicycle she bought while in the city. The India ink paintings she produced echoed the energy of her trips outside of the studio.
Lisa Tubach, Virginia, USA
Lisa Tubach investigates the precarious balance between the beauty of our natural world and hidden threats to our existence. Tubach's recent work is about the health of self, as well as the health of the greater ecology—an undeniable, yet often under-recognized, symbiosis. This group of works on paper, created in Paris at La Cité Internationale des Arts as a result of being violently mugged, became a very poignant example of this symbiosis and allowed a therapeutic parallel between the scarring of the Earth and the healing of Tubach's own wounds.
Lester Van Winkle, Virginia, USA
The content of Lester Van Winkle's work is often directly influenced by his preoccupations, recently including things conical, walking sticks, angels, accordions, tattoos, cups half full, cups half empty, bourgeois man being composed of his possessions, the tangos of Astor Pianzollia, the decannonization of St. Christopher, the importance of manners, texting, our need to animate the inanimate, political chest beating, the violence and brutality of fashion, the expansion of self, and sex drive, reverse, neutral and park. The figurative and still life sculptures have long been characterized by their poly-chromed surfaces and gentle humor.
Yvette Watt, Tasmania
Yvette Watt created the Alternative Points of View series after viewing a series of comparative physiognomic studies between human and animal faces by 17th century French painter, Charles Le Brun at the Louvre, while residing at La Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. In these self-portraits where Watt either replaces her own eyes with "farm" animal eyes or her mouth with animal mouths, Watt attempts to subvert the idea of animal as passive receiver of human actions. Instead, Watt aims to counteract the idea of animal as other by literally conflating the images of human and animal.