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The Department of Art & Art History at Stanford University presents We’re Not in the Business of Warehousing Paper, on view in the Stanford Art Gallery from May 12 through June 14, with a reception on Thursday, May 21 from 5 – 7pm. There will be an open house on Sunday, May 31 from 12 – 3pm with a gallery walkthrough with the artists from 1 – 2pm. This group exhibition features the thesis artwork of five graduating art practice MFA students: Einat Imber, Christopher Nickel, Felicita Norris, Daniela Rossell, and Lauren Ashley Toomer.
Faculty curator Terry Berlier notes that “the exhibition brings together five diverse, thoughtful and inventive artistic practices. Working across different ideas, forms and media, they address a wide range of issues: global communication, understanding of the human body, complex psychological boundaries across race and gender, our journey throughout expansive worlds, and the nuanced line between fact and fiction.”
Einat Imber’s work reminds the viewer of the constant journey we all partake in and the ones we long for. Stranded on the gallery floor, an eighteen foot burlap boat modeled after a child's paper boat, embodies our collective desire to set sail. Nearby, burlap banners stretch from ceiling to floor, subtle blue gradients that record the rising ocean tide through a photo-sensitive cyanotype process. These prints are a collaboration between the artist and the orbiting sun and moon.
Concerned with bringing to light the physicality of information and communications networks, in his most recent project, Christopher Nickel has produced images and objects that reveal a glimpse of the sites, structures, and workings of this mostly unseen infrastructure. By employing a range of materials and artistic strategies, Nickel endeavors to illuminate the relationship between the virtual and physical, as well as the correlation between society’s increasing investment in the Internet and mobile devices and their expanding infrastructures.
Felicita Norris’s large-scale provocative paintings are reactions to personal experience, though the images and themes represented in her work are not strictly autobiographical. Norris aims to reveal the complexities of “the familiar,” evoking emotion by way of symbology and metaphor, and uses the human figure and noxious color to draw the viewer inward. Accordingly, Norris stages figures and objects in confined spaces, depicting, at times, unsettling images that respond to social constructions, institutions, and politics.
Photographer Daniela Rossell’s work explores how we go about experiencing truths and trauma by taking a closer look at ready-made scripts, genres, and gimmicks. In her photo series El Amo r Manda, Rossell reflects upon the television programs from her childhood, calling upon the old behind-the-scenes photo genre to frame her images of the fictional stage. The fiction of a television set is further confused by removing the star of its own invention, an estrangement of the familiar. Her use of this genre is driven by her longing to access the locus of trauma and to discover where it emerges.
Lauren Ashley Toomer’s work is deeply focused on how the body is perceived and not easily controlled, defined, or understood. In her large-scale series Figures in Ground (Chroma), an isolated figure is painted across a blank white canvas, as if they are caught in limbo between a conscious and unconscious state. Incorporating realism and abstraction, Toomer plays with the spatial, contextual, and surface boundaries that circumscribe the body, while also leaving the bare space to contemplate what remains unknown and the unknowable.