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In Material:
Conversations on Qualities of Materiality

Art-Making and Material Transformation

March 4, 2011—April 10, 2011

Jasper Johns once said, "Take something. Do something to it. Do something else to it." It is this act of taking something and doing something to it that is the material of art.

In Material features the work of three artists who each engage with their materials, but in different ways.

Susan Field links disparate textures, such as fabric with fur and beads with stones. Working by hand is an important part of her process, not only for aesthetic reasons, but because its slow labor allows her to reflect on the work over time.

Brooke Holve's work reflects her interest in the changing role of the book as digital delivery systems (Internet, e-books, etc.) become the dominant mode of transmitting knowledge and information. She often combines book remnants with other materials such as organza silk and paper prints as she explores what happens through their interactions.

Elizabeth Sher mixes mediums and processes. Working back and forth between the digital and the hand, she makes her aesthetic decisions which are informed by today's new technological possibilities.

All three, at various times, worked as artists-in-residence at New Pacific Studio in Mt. Bruce, New Zealand. They met only after returning to California – Elizabeth and Brooke through an exhibition at the Berkeley Art Center; Brooke and Susan were introduced through a mutual friend. A similar spirit of synchronicity has informed their relationship in preparation for the exhibit.

"Last summer, we visited Liz's home by the Russian River and spontaneously decided to go down to the water to film," the artists recall. "Ducks were swimming through algae that floated on the surface of the water. We filmed, then culled sheets of it to dry." The algae was subsequently sewn, printed on, and made part of a video installation in the exhibit.

"We liked responding to the moment and trust that In Material reveals how our experience with materials both engages and individualizes us. Conversations between concrete and ethereal, reflection and opacity, soft and hard, all reflect our sense of space, touch, and feeling as artists. We invite viewers to join us in this conversation."


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