Artists Statements for Be Your Own Placebo June-July 2010

Erika Somogyi

Erika Somogyi received her BFA from the School of Visual Arts in 1999. Her previous solo exhibitions include Violet Dawn Love Song at Monya Rowe Gallery, New York and Natures Rituals and Mistaken Identities in the Project Room at Rocket Projects, Miami, Fla. Her artwork has been shown at galleries including, Mountain Fold Gallery, New York; 404 Gallery, Napoli, Italy; Space 1026, Philadelphia, Pa; V1 Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark; and Jack Hanley Gallery, San Francisco, Calif. Erika is looking forward to a three woman art show at “The Front” in New Orleans, LA this July.

Erika Somogyi’s paintings layer washes of color and imagery that evoke dreamscapes, memories and prophecies. Focusing on the individual and the natural world they suggest the complexity of that relationship, how each acts on the other, and how the shape of one is influenced by the boundaries of the other. By exploring people and nature through the same prism her paintings reveal the emotional truths surrounding us.

Rose Marcus

These paintings are uncool; they are expressionistic and figurative. Mining overt cultural differences, gender, and American junk space, they are the size of t.v. screens and often employ the RGB palette. Viewers think the paintings are like the ones they saw at souvenir shops in Kingston. Still lives of trash, crocks, figures tanning in exotic landscapes, hipsters reflecting in mirrors, figures on boats reading, women doing yoga in tropical islands abound. Figures partake in a comfort-activities – leisure. Recent painted revisions of Odalesque and Narcissus, also caught in downtime, conjure up their contemporary identities. “Am I allowed to make this?” Both Joan Jonas and I ask this.

Frankie Martin BIo

When she is not making ART that joins contemporary popular culture with ancient history, intermedia artist Frankie Martin, enjoys a BI lifestyle; BIcycling BI-coastally while writing her autoBIography. Frankie’s installations, which include everything from video to music to performance, open the door to a radical re-thinking of how cultural reality is constructed. Frankie creates work that inspires laughing out loud, self analysis and critical consciousness via the use of popular culture formats. Frankie is currently represented by CANADA in New York City and has shown work at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Moore Space, Little Cakes Little Gallery and more. Frankie will attend the MFA program on full scholarship at the University of California San Diego in the Fall of 2010.

Jennifer Sullivan

The paintings I am presenting for Bring Your Own Placebo are part of a recent series of large-scale portraits on paper made from appropriated photographs of performers and performance artists (including myself). The images I am drawn to involve an intimate moment of contact (vulnerability, sexual confidence, shades of both) enacted by a performer in relation to a photographer and their camera. Beginning with low-quality black and white printouts of images found on the Internet, the paintings are oversized, multicolored reproductions of inadequate source materials. In the mutations I make in translating the printed image into a painting, I am able to see myself as a side effect of the imperfection-filled process. I invent everything I cannot decipher in the original, all the colors and blurry details, (though many details stay blurry or are replaced by geometric inventions) and I use my subjects as characters that I transform and bring back to life. I make the stolen images my own by trying on their personas and filling them with my emotions. I am a painter-as-method-actress. This series of portraits was inspired in part by my brief stint as an exotic dancer at a lesbian strip club. My interest is particularly in performers whose private lives become part of their public lives, and in the parallel between performers and all other artists. We are all exhibitionists, baring ourselves to our audiences, hoping they will accept us for who we are and trying to accept ourselves in the process

Megha Gupta

I am standing on the perimeter of a vast hole.  It is entirely black.  Around it there is no color and no plants, but there are many rocks of all different sizes with beautiful and complicated patterns.  The rocks form a shifting border around the hole in the shape of a diamond.  I hold a big stick with a drawing on top. I can’t see the drawing, but I know it is an image from the world around the hole.  The hole is inside of my body, it is a void with objects floating slowly through the warm black air.

My work seeks to exist in the moment before a narrative enters the world, when the story is still wavering, and the duality or multiplicity of realities is still acknowledged. To achieve this in an individual piece I adjust and re-organize all the elements until the relationships are exact, an exactness only from my own perspective, answerable only to myself.  The unknown is heavily present, my goal is to put my mind in a state where I can touch it.

In my current practice, printmaking processes have allowed me to re-contextualize imagery within my body of work.  A print comes into existence all at once.  When I make a printed image from an image I have drawn or painted, I am playing with the temporal presence of that image.  In the relationships between pieces that share imagery, the idea of a source or original moment is replaced with a shifting image that seeks to both mimic and describe the transmutable nature of internal reality.

The metaphorical space of the mind and the physical space of the external world act upon each other with equal force.  I want to acknowledge the interplay between internal and external reality. The traumatic, the quotidian and the ecstatic exist in a shared space. Gestures, memories and ideas shift from one category to another, coexist, hold multiple meanings, horrify and amuse in a single instant. Courage is the ability to name and confront horror without denying the co-existence of humanity woven into the fabric of that same reality.  Courage in the practice of art and the practice of living are the same.  To be an artist I must look directly at all that is in me in order to also look clearly at what is in the world.

Sophia Cara Dixon

I make art about people and relationships. It is my hope that some part of my process of discovering how to live and how to relate to other people is recorded in my work and available to a receptive participant. Some of these discoveries, which provide a theoretical foundation for my work, are: that people are different, that we cannot ever truly know why another person does what they do, and that despite that, we learn about ourselves through relations with other people. Oddly enough, solitary drawing, which serves as a means of social withdrawal, is the core of my art practice. The self-analysis and self-preservation entailed by this retreat are not only aspects of my process, but also subjects in themselves. My work is about desire, intimacy, depression, anxiety, grief, love, trauma, and myriad other overwhelming affective states, and it is both a way of working through these states and a reflexive, critical presentation of forms of working-through.


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