Artist Highlights: Jill Downen, Jaimie Warren, and Garry Noland

cornerJill Downen exhibits at Contemporary Art Museum St. LouisPlace is the Space marks the beginning of a year-long celebration of the tenth anniversary of CAM's critically acclaimed building. Featuring five new site-specific commissions by major contemporary artists, the exhibition is an unprecedented curatorial collaboration between the building’s architect, Brad Cloepfil, founding principal of Allied Works Architecture, and Dominic Molon, CAM’s chief curator.Each of the five works in Place is the Space will respond to different aspects of the structure, including surface, scale, transparency, and boundaries. While demonstrating the building’s unique ability shape the presentation and experience of contemporary art, the exhibition also examines the larger idea of how various artists address museum spaces as a key element in the development of their work.scar detailJill Downen’s work examines the dynamic relationship between the human body and architecture, often using the existing details and flaws of a given space to develop forms that appear to grow out of the floors and walls. Composed of two parts, Beauty Mark suggests our complex psychological relationship to architectural structures. The first part re-creates the de-installation of Downen’s work The Posture of Place, produced for CAM’s first Great Rivers Biennial exhibition in 2004. The removal of this structure left a pattern of a staggered, elliptical scars in the wall that are deliberately reconstructed here, suggesting how the physical remnants of every artist’s work presented at CAM has become a hidden part of the building’s history. For the new installation’s second component, Downen uses gold leaf to fill in the long crack in the main galleries’ concrete crack detailfloor, recalling the Japanese practice of Kintsugi, or “golden joinery,” in which broken pottery is mended with a lacquer resin and sprinkled with powdered gold. Downen’s work elevates a blemish - an inevitable result of the ambitious single pour of concrete - an otherwise seamless surface of the museum floor.  warren_header_1Jaimie Warren Visiting Artist Lecture at San Francisco Art InstituteJaimie Warren’s newest works recreate Photo shopped collages created by anonymous users found on the Internet. The images pair art historical references with pop-culture icons, and dive into ever-shifting hierarchies of celebrity culture, race, and gender. Warren is also co-founder, with Matt Roche, of Whoop Dee Doo—a nonprofit faux public access television show inspired by Soul Train, Pee Wee’s Playhouse, the Carol Burnett Show, and Double Dare.Warren’s photography was featured in the seminal publication SHOOT: Photography of the Moment (Rizzoli, 2009). Her projects have been exhibited internationally, including at Smith-Stewart and Steven Kasher, New York; Max Wigram, London; Showroom for Media and Moving Art, Rotterdam; Getsumin, Osaka; and Colette, Paris. Solo exhibitions include The Hole, New York, and White Flag Projects, St. Louis, with solo museum exhibitions held at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, and the Miami Dade College Museum of Art & Design. Warren is the recipient of a Lighton International Artist Exchange Program grant, a Rocket Projects grant funded by the Charlotte Street Foundation and Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and a Teacher Recognition Award from the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. | ROYGBIVGarry Noland exhibits in Columbus, OhioGarry Noland, resident artist at The Studio Inc in Kansas City recently exhibited in Columbus, Ohio at ROY G BIV. ROY G BIV is one of the oldest artist run, alternative spaces in the country. Noland also exhibited with Kathleen Thum, Assistant Professor of Art, Clemson University and Jackie Brown, Philadelphia, PA. newlettersGarry and Peggy Noland featured in NewLettersRobert Stewart Essay on NolandObligation to EndureAn Editor’s NoteA workshop in Independence, Missouri, for beginning beekeepers this spring drew about 150 people, most of whom were on a mission to revive honey bee populations. Those would be city bees, at first. “We’re not near large agricultural areas,” said one beekeeper, “which would expose them to heavy use of pesticides and chemicals.” Whenever I consider the state of nature, or even the artistic landscape, I think of Rachel Carson. Her 1962 book Silent Spring stands, even now, as both a warning about poisonous chemicals and a call to transform our views toward life, itself. Ultimately, I like her for her poetry—her “obligation to endure,” where she cites French scientist Jean Rostand in Silent Spring—and her assertiveness in her posthumous book The Sense of Wonder: “Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.” Let us attend to the health of the sage grouse, yes, and the honey bee, but seek also the affirmative powers of the artist and writer. Linda M. Hasselstrom in her memoir here, “Rabid,” takes on far more than the preservation of her family land in South Dakota. Her work represents spiritual struggle, doubt, questions, and, as best we can hope, clarity. Where do we stand? Every piece of writing and art here puts that question in a context—of toxins and beauty, and often humor. How can anyone not also find affinity with the troubled Fat Man in Douglas Trevor’s story “The Slugger and the Fat Man,” Hasselstrom’s opposite in every way? Don’t over simplify these matters, or sentimentalize. The effect of poisons on the spirit and on the desert—see Conger Beasley Jr.’s essay—or on all of us in Rebecca Baggett’s poem “Into It” become, for the artistic imagination, opportunities to transform how we, readers, see the world. “I am re-inventing new forms,” wrote artist Garry Noland in a 2011 artist’s statement. We see his work now on these pages.