Free For All
GALLERY HOURS (during exhibitions)
Monday – Saturday, 11am – 4pm
Open until 7pm on Thursdays

OCT. - NOV., 2002

Marcus Kenney

BREATH ON A MIRROR

OCT. - NOV., 2002

Marcus Kenney

BREATH ON A MIRROR

Prior to the twentieth century, artists were judged by their technical ability to render a subject as “realistic.” The task of the artist was to mimic the real. Beginning in the late 1800’s and leading well into the twentieth century, the parade of Impressionism, Cubism, Surrealism, Abstraction, and Minimalism brought about a breaking away from the confines of representation into realms of personal expression. Though it thoroughly resists precise definition, contemporary art can be said to posit that artists are no longer bound to a realistic representation of merely that which can be seen.

John Cage was among the first American artists to explore and apply the tenets of Eastern philosophy to modern art. Like many artists of his generation, he was casting about for a more encompassing, less restrictive worldview than the one offered in the United States in the 1940’s and 50’s. Cage, along with dancer/choreographer Merce Cunningham, and photographer Minor White, were among those who embraced Zen Buddhism, Taoism, and Indian mysticism among other isms of the East as pathways out of the prevailing Judeo-Christian mind-set. Not only did these Western artists adopt Eastern philosophies, they also absorbed the aesthetic of “less is more.” Cage, inspired by Zen Buddhism’s respect for the patterns in nature, applied them to musical compositions, performances, and visual art expressions. For example, he took the bark of an aspen tree and translated its pattern onto a musical score which was then performed. With this one gesture, the artist reconceptualized the concept of the representation of nature.

Black Mountain College (1933-56), located on a farm nestled in the mountains of North Carolina, was an alternative to the highly structured academic arts programs offered at most American universities. The instruction offered there was personal, interactive, and highly participatory. Students at the college had to work on the farm as a part of their commitment to the community. This requirement forced the students to have an intimate relationship with nature as they were studying culture. Some of the most recognized names in the twentieth century spent time at Black Mountain College as either student or teacher, including: John Cage, Buckminster Fuller, Joseph and Anni Albers, Charles Olsen, Robert Rauschenberg, Willem de Kooning, and Francine du Plessix Gray. The reverberations of this “experiment in community” continue to be felt in the work of many contemporary artists and thinkers.

Rikuo Ueda and Marcus Kenney are two artists bound together by their embrace of what John Cage termed “chance operations.” Ueda’s wind drawings allow for a humorous, yet profound interpretation of human ability to invent technologies to chart and control nature, while Kenney’s found object constructions transform society’s cast offs into ironic icons.

Ueda, from Osaka, Japan has, with the aid of nature, created a set of “wind drawings” produced by elaborately engineered mechanical devices which harness the wind and transfer the energy to paper, canvas, or another surface. Ueda is our fall International Artist-in-Residence. His “tea house in the sky” located in the courtyard was constructed out of locally available materials and serves as a retreat for the wind. His “compositions” are fascinating traces of the natural interaction between the wind and the mind. Just as one never tires of gazing at a burning fire or ocean waves lapping, Ueda’s work offers a glimpse of the infinite in the particular. He would have been right at home at Black Mountain College in the 1950’s.

Savannah assemblage installation artist Marcus Kenney has filled the downstairs gallery with objects and images he has scavenged over the past five years. Through imaginative combinations and juxtapositions Kenney’s works address the poetics of detritus in a consumerist society. His constructions have a studied randomness about them, as if these combinations have appeared to us before, but only in a dream. Kenney’s oeuvre has the monochromatic patina of ruin and decay, while slyly commenting on the transitory nature of the objects that surround us.

This exhibition provides a contrasting view of eastern and western conceptions of nature — in the service of art, and vice versa.

Mark Sloan, Curator

Marcus Kenney

BREATH ON A MIRROR

OCT. - NOV., 2002

ARTIST’S BIO
Savannah assemblage installation artist Marcus Kenney will be filling the downstairs gallery with objects and images he has scavenged over the past five years. Through imaginative combinations and juxtapositions Kenney’s works address the poetics of detritus in a consumerist society. Kenney received his Bachelors degree from the University of Louisiana and completed an MFA in Photography at the Savannah College of Art and Design. Kenney has exhibited extensively as both a photographer and an installation artist throughout this country and England. He also serves as the Director of the Starland Design District.

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Free For All
GALLERY HOURS (during exhibitions)
Monday – Saturday, 11am – 4pm
Open until 7pm on Thursdays
843.953.4422


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