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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Group show at U-turn, June 5-June 26, 2010

Palling Around with Socialists: a group exhibition

June 5th – 26th, 2010
Opening reception: Saturday, June 5th, 7:00 – 10:00 pm

Cincinnati, OH—Since its inception, U·turn Art Space has sought to facilitate discourse towards imagining questions about the methods and practices of a functional society. In Palling Around with Socialists, a number of artists and the gallery collective have come together to curate an exhibition that questions the nature of an individual as an autonomous being or as a component to an equitable community. Our nation presently finds itself in a culture war, where language is traversing outside the bounds of denoted definitions: words like socialist, fascism, tsar and terror are volleyed around public debates. While different parties and groups fear a loss of personal freedoms, we may be at greater risk of misarticulating the perceived conflicts with which we are faced. Concerns about the nature of private property, authorship and current intersections between economics, ethics and philosophy will be raised through the work of Shinsuke Aso, Gabriel Boyce and Preston Link, Alton Falcone, David Horvitz, Justin Kemp, Steve Kemple, Julia Schwadron and Steve Lambert. The presented works continue to exercise aesthetic sensitivity, demonstrating a belief in form contributing to the advancement of concepts. Critically playful and directly engaging our community with optimistic, activist strategies, U·turn and these artists seek to contribute to a larger dialogue with art that presents unexpected viewpoints and makes note of abstractions that may expand upon or resituate current discussions about social responsibility, power and control.

“The question of social change and art becomes then a problem of discovering the manner in which a new content modifies the conventional manner of expression: the manner in which purely aesthetic changes, occasioned by social changes, modify content to accord with newer forms. But insofar as the formal change may be socially conditioned, we must distinguish between those social changes that operate on the artist directly and those that operate indirectly.” –Meyer Schapiro in his essay “Art and Social Change”

Artist Bios

Shinsuke Aso was born in Gunma, Japan in 1979. After graduating from Kitakanto School of Fine Arts in Gunma, Japan, he moved to New York and received a BFA from the School of Visual Arts in 2004. He has exhibited nationally and internationally in venues including P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Tobey Fine Arts, Minus Space, The Center for Book Arts in New York, Maebashi Cultural Institute in Gunma, Japan, Markus Winter Gallery in Berlin, Germany and Pera Museum in Istanbul, Turkey. His works have been collected by The Center for Book Arts. Aso lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

From Aso’s artist statement: I am interested in creating artwork that converts or flips over concepts, stereotypes and prejudices and at the same time suggests to the audience several different points of view toward things and phenomena around them. The series of collages and assemblages are created using many different types of found materials including paper, fabric, plastic, tape, thread and hair embellished with doodle-like touches of pencil, pen and paint marks. I cut-up the materials and compose them as shapes and colors that rhythmically resonate with each other. At the same time, I switch meanings of the elements with merging them into a different context.

SAPC is a postcard company that I run as a long-term performance. I make postcards with found papers such as cardboard and packages and sell them for 25 cents each, along with advertising and organizing campaigns. This project derives from the idea of the global market system in which anything can be a source of business, and small economies that depend on trust and honesty among people. The postcard can be simultaneously an artwork and communication device depending on how the audience recognizes it. 

Gabriel Boyce and Preston Link each keep individual practices as artists, but over the past year have been working collaboratively to create a body of work entitled Breaking News that distills and translates global news into a series of sculptural assemblages and socially-charged artifacts. In 2009, they presented this body of work in a large exhibition at Philadelphia’s Little Berlin space. Boyce holds a BFA from Louisiana State University and an MFA from Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, PA. He has had a number of solo exhibitions with the Philadelphia space Vox Populi, and been included in group exhibitions throughout the surrounding region as well as in Chicago, IL; Cincinnati, OH (at the now defunct Publico gallery); Washington, D.C.; and Mobile, Alabama. Link is originally from Virginia and holds a BFA in Painting from Pennsylvania State University.

Alton Falcone is a sculptor, concentrating on recovered wood, the rusticity of the material reflecting his ten-year sojourn in Italy. He returned to the United States in 2003 to pursue advanced degrees. While in graduate school he continued to perfect his sculptural mediums, developing a unique and personable vocabulary. In 2007, he was awarded the prestigious Best of SUNY Student Art. His numerous collaborations with artists in other fields include Echoes=Sculptor x Poet2 (2000-2003) Musik Im Bausch, 2006, Turner Dance of Long Island (Latent Image) and the Happy Prince project, 2006.

Within this exhibition, Falcone’s practice resists artist-as-consumerist in its use of salvaged and recycled materials. Through worn materials and compositions that suggest sites for a spiritual life, Falcone’s pieces possess the tenor of a monk who has taken a vow of poverty. Ascetic yet elegant, the solutions he sets upon make use of fragments and remainders to cobble together new structures, new visions for art and the society in which it exists.

Falcone’s artist statement: Certain traditional materials such as wood reveal (and preserve) the slow destruction wrought by time upon them, such as adverse weather conditions and human mistreatment. By transforming a ruined object (such as recovered wood) into a harmonious composition, the new artifact (artwork) becomes a symbol of a positive view of time: this is a history on which we reflect, learn and grow. The melancholic feelings associated with the ephemeral nature of artifice become elevated in such artworks as symbols of wisdom.

David Horvitz is an artist whose work adopts a nomadic personality, shifting seamlessly between the Internet and the printed page, the West Coast, East Coast, and beyond, avoiding any particular definition or medium. Born in Los Angeles and currently based in New York—although his location may change at any given moment—Horvitz frequently encourages participation from both his friends and a web-based audience for his projects, channeling the spirit of conceptual artists who reach out to a community greater than their immediate surroundings. He infuses his practice with generosity and free distribution.

Justin Kemp was born in Wisconsin and lives and works in Northampton, Massachusetts. He holds a B.S. from the University of Wisconsin- La Crosse, and completed his MFA from University of Massachusetts-Amherst in 2009. His work was recently seen in Cincinnati as part of the group exhibition Short Straw, a thematic exhibition at the Clifton Cultural Arts Center that looked at the economic hardships of being an artist in a time of recession and financial uncertainty. Kemp has exhibited extensively in and around the Boston area, but has also participated in exhibitions in San Francisco, CA; Orono, Maine; Brooklyn, NY; and Provo, UT. Kemp’s recent work can be considered part of a burgeoning New Media movement called “internet aware art.” Equipped with a smart wit and a conception of the Internet as a complex, collaborative social space, Kemp’s projects that appear initially playful can be seen as commentary on the socio-political bleed between real-time societal regulation and the meta-space that the Internet affords individuals from all (or most) walks of life.

Steve Kemple graduated with a BFA in 2007 from the Art Academy of Cincinnati. His creative practice is highly conceptual and manifests in text documents, musical performances, essays, drawings and the facilitation of social interactions. Since earning his degree in 2007, Kemple studied philosophy at the University of Cincinnati, which has informed his artmaking in the meantime. In 2009, Kemple joined up with the cooperative that maintains the Over-the-Rhine arts venue CS13. Kemple has exhibited throughout the region in spaces such as semantics gallery, CS13, Artworks Gallery, Leapin Lizard, Cincinnati’s Visual Fringe Festival and the now defunct Focus Gallery. His contributions to Palling Around with Socialists coincides with the presentation of new conceptual artworks in SOS Art 2010 at the Art Academy of Cincinnati, curated by Saad Ghosn, and preparations for two large solo exhibitions in fall 2010 and spring 2011. Many of Kemple’s most recent works are text-based, and in lieu of an attached image of his work, a recent text work is presented below. More information about Kemple’s current work is available at www.stevekemple.com.

4 Text Works : 

Steve Lambert studied sociology and film before receiving a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2000 and a MFA at UC Davis in 2006. He dropped out of high school in 1993. His father, a former Franciscan monk, and mother, an ex-Dominican nun, imbued the values of dedication, study, poverty, and service to others – qualities which prepared him for life as an artist. Lambert made international news just after the 2008 US election with the The New York Times “Special Edition,” a replica of the grey lady announcing the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and other good news. He is the founder of the Anti-Advertising Agency, lead developer of Add-Art (a Firefox add-on that replaces online advertising with art) and has collaborated with numerous artists including the Graffiti Research Lab, and the Yes Men. His work has been shown at various galleries, art spaces, and museums both nationally and internationally, and was recently collected by the Library of Congress. He is a Senior Fellow at the Eyebeam Center for Art and Technology in New York, developed and leads workshops for Creative Capital, and teaches at Parsons/The New School and Hunter College. 

Lambert says: For me, art is a bridge that connects uncommon, idealistic, or even radical ideas with everyday life. I carefully craft various conditions where I can discuss these ideas with people and have a mutually meaningful exchange. Often this means working collaboratively with the audience, bringing them into the process or even having them physically complete the work. I want my art to be relevant to those outside the gallery – say, at the nearest bus stop – to reach them in ways that are engaging and fun. I intend what I do to be funny, but at the core of each piece there is also a solemn critique. It’s important to be able to laugh while actively questioning the various power structures at work in our daily lives. I have the unabashedly optimistic belief that art changes the way people look at the world. That belief fuels a pragmatic approach to bring about those changes. Along with presenting several posters designed by Lambert, U.turn will feature a collaborative project with artist Julia Schwadron.

Julia Schwadron has studied in a number of programs, ranging from Illustration to Critical Theory. She holds a BA in Studio Art from the University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, CA, and an MFA from Tyler School of Art in Elkins Park, PA. Since 2006, Lambert and Schwadron have been working collaboratively on an ongoing “sign project”, making signs for public locations around NYC.  They spend time making simple paper drawings and then put them out into the world. The statements on the signs tend to be those that artists might say to themselves, most times to reassure against their own doubts.  They post signs where people will see them, and where they can make an impact. Together, Lambert and Schwadron have developed a signage project with the U.turn collective that will be presented around Cincinnati, with artifacts from the project on view within the gallery space.