San Antonio, TX - Artpace San Antonio is pleased to announce the unveiling of its 11.3 International Artist-in-Residence projects, opening on November 17, 2011. Guest curator Rusell Ferguson, Chair of the Department of Art at UCLA, will present new works by Frank Benson (New York, New York), Graham Fagen (Glasgow, Scotland), and Jeff Williams (Austin, Texas), which will be on display to the public through January 8, 2012.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Frank Benson’s Extrusions is an installation of six sculptures and four photographs. Each pair of richly colored images includes a portrait of a seated figure and a detail of an architectural façade. The human form has been a prominent subject of his past work, such as Human Statue (Jessie) (2011), a life-sized sculpture of a woman in marble and bronze. His Figure Study (Amy) and Figure Study (Chad), classically posed but inescapably contemporary given their clothing and hairstyles, suggest studies for forthcoming work. On the other hand, the two photos of dramatic, vibrant architecture-San Antonio Central Library (West wall) and San Antonio Central Library (East wall)-resemble abstract paintings in which the complex geometry of three-dimensional structures is reduced into flattened planes of color and shading. Next to the captivatingly vibrant large-scale chromogenic images, undulating sculptural objects atop six light brown plinths are elegant and quiet. Made of brown and black clay, the sculptures hug the generous berth of their wide pedestals, looking like land masses emerging suddenly from the flat, hard earth of a miniature desert.
Born in Virginia, Benson lives and works in New York, New York. He received his MFA in 2003 from the University of California, Los Angeles, and his BFA in 1998 from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. His most recent solo exhibitions include Human Statue (Jessie) at Taxter and Spengemann, New York, and Overduin and Kite, Los Angeles (2011); and Frank Benson at Sadie Coles HQ in London, England (2008 and 2009). Recent group exhibitions include In the Name of the Artists-American Contemporary Art from the Astrup Fearnley Collection, Bienal Pavilion, São Paulo, Brazil (2011); Frank Benson, Matt Johnson, Mark Grotjahn, Hydra’s Workshop, Greece (2011); and Permanent Mimesis: An Exhibition on Realism and Simulation, Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Turin, Italy (2010). Benson will be an artist-in-residence at The Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas, in 2012.
Graham Fagen’s exhibition, Under Heavy Manners, builds on two decades of work dedicated to examining the ways in which culture is produced and negotiated by people and objects. At Artpace, he has focused his attention on human teeth as a symbolic means to understand complex physical and emotional relationships. In the drawings, video, and sculpture that comprise his installation, he explores teeth simultaneously as objects of intense scrutiny and mediators of human interaction, both intimate and aggressive. He likens them to architecture, suggesting that these prominent and expressive facial structures operate like the façade of a building, demarcating the line between the public realm outside the body and the private realm inside the mind. Straddling the boundary between the self and the other, teeth stand as both a part of and apart from the body.
Fagen’s recent solo exhibitions include Somebody Else, the Changing Room, Stirling, England (2009); Downpresser, Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow, Scotland (2007); and Killing Time with Graham Eatough, Dundee Contemporary Arts, Scotland (2006). He represented Scotland in the Zenomap exhibition at the 2003 Venice Biennale and has shown work in numerous other group exhibitions, including Breakthrough, Imperial War Museum, London, England (2008); the Art & Industry Biennale, Christchurch, New Zealand (2004); the Busan Biennial, South Korea (2004); and the British Art Show 5 (2000). Fagen received his Interdisciplinary Masters in Art & Architecture at the Kent Institute of Art & Design, Canterbury, England. He lives and works in Glasgow.
Jeff Williams’s There is Not Anything Which Returns to Nothing presents several proposals for a new kind of architecture. These plans, composed of a video, three photographs, and two sculptures, break down the formal complexities of built structures into their simplest arrangements and most basic materials. His experimental juxtapositions of form and matter rearrange these elements to test their structural and aesthetic limits. Tension and Compression (Evans Rd. Quarry/Alamo Cement Co.) is a massive, unstable structure in the center of the gallery. Four pairs of threaded steel rods plunge through the floor and anchor the support structure suspending a stack of four concrete slabs. As an architectural model, the sculpture is deeply and obviously flawed. Over the course of the exhibition, the concrete will crack and crumble under its own weight, although steel reinforcements inside the slabs will prevent its total collapse.
Williams was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1976. He received his MFA from Syracuse University in New York in 2002, and his BFA from Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio in 1998. He was a Visual Arts Fellow at the American Academy in Rome from 2008 to 2009, and an artist-in-residence in the Core Program at the Glassell School of Art of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston from 2006 to 2008. Recent solo exhibitions include Worn Thin at Recess Activities Inc., New York, New York (2011); There is Not Anything That Returns To Nothing at Grizzly Grizzly, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (2011); Underlying Structures, Galeria Perdida, Chilchota, Michoacan, Mexico (2010); Dust Storm, Silicon Labs Inc., Cook and Ruud, Austin, Texas (2010); Sunlight/Substratum, American Academy in Rome (2009); Row House, Round 28, Project Row Houses, Houston (2008); and Thickly Settled, Okay Mountain, Austin (2007). His most recent group exhibitions throughout 2011 include Heat Island, Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, New York; Festival of Ideas for a New City, New York; Black Sunday, Saint Cecilia’s Convent, Brooklyn; and Synthetic Supports: Plastic Is the New Paper, Museum of Fine Arts Houston.
ABOUT THE CURATOR
Russell Ferguson assumed his current position as Chair of the Department of Art at UCLA in 2007. Prior to this appointment, Ferguson held the positions of Director of Exhibitions and Programs and Chief Curator at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, and he continues to serve as adjunct curator at the Hammer Museum. Between 1991 and 2001, Ferguson was the Editor then Associate Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. He has curated numerous exhibitions including The Undiscovered Country (2004), and solo exhibitions by Larry Johnson (2009), Francis Alÿs (2007), Wolfgang Tillmans (2006), Patty Chang (2005), and Christian Marclay (2003). At the Museum of Contemporary Art, he curated In Memory of My Feelings: Frank O’Hara and American Art (1999), as well as survey exhibitions of the work of Liz Larner and Douglas Gordon (both 2001). With Kerry Brougher, he organized Open City: Street Photographs Since 1950 (2001) for The Museum of Modern Art, Oxford. Additionally, Ferguson is the editor of Discourses: Conversations in Postmodern Art and Culture, and Out There: Marginalization and Contemporary Cultures, both published by the MIT Press.
ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
The 11.3 International Artist-in-Residence program is made possible by the Linda Pace Foundation, the City of San Antonio's Office of Cultural Affairs, National Endowment for the Arts, and Nimoy Foundation. Special thanks to James Lifshutz. Additional support provided by Real Ale Brewery.
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