Opening 7/13/13: Out of Bounds: Katrina Umber and Maria Walker

July 10, 2013

Umber Walker

Out of Bounds: Katrina Umber and Maria Walker

Organized by Samuel Zients

July 13-28, 2013

Saturday and Sunday 12-7pm, and by appointment

Opening Reception July 13, 5-8pm

397 Bridge Street, 7th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Out of Bounds brings together the work of Katrina Umber and Maria Walker, who first met and exhibited together at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2011. Though working in different media and different parts of the country, both of these artists challenge our conceptions of boundaries and frames through their work in photography and painting, respectively.

The exhibition presents two bodies of work by Los Angeles-based artist, Katrina Umber. The first, Personal Affect Squares, are photographs of prescribed 15-inch squares on the walls of cells in a decommissioned county jail in Somerset County Maine, where inmates were allowed to display their personal effects, whether they be photographs, letters, or anything else. The images of these squares on walls washed in natural sunlight recall the documentary feel of WPA photography or the more austere paintings of Edward Hopper. Two of the prints in this exhibition are this same size, to mirror this personal space, and one is 30×24-inches, to mirror a Plexiglas window in the jail where inmates carved their own creative space. The second, Soft Mirrors, is a series of small chromogenic prints that have been soaked in water, which simultaneously deteriorates, revealing the many colored layers of emulsion, and remakes the original image. The artists likens this to a baptism, where the print enters the bath a photograph and emerges as an object.

The paintings of Brooklyn-based artist Maria Walker included here break down painting to its three fundamental elements—wood, cloth, paint—and then build them back up again. Walker constructs her own wooden stretchers in unorthodox shapes, resulting in structures that are nothing short of sculptural relief, recalling Louise Nevelson’s large wood-carved sculptures. She then stretches canvas, linen or dropcloth over, around, and sometimes woven through the sculptural stretchers. Paint is applied in methodical response to the painting object, with color decisions made based on chance, light, value, association, or through the recycling of leftover paint from other works in her studio. The paintings may end there, or the process may cycle back to reconsideration of the stretcher or the canvas. The results vary from vibrant, thinly painted squares to giant standing ladders laden with so much paint that they bleed together to a dark blue-black.

Boundaries are examined, questioned and redefined in the work of these artists, whether they are physical boundaries, as in Umber’s Personal Affect Squares and Walker’s wooden stretchers, or spiritual ones, as in Umber’s Soft Mirrors. In an increasingly spectacle-driven contemporary art world, in which bigger is better and it is claimed that limits do not exist, it is no wonder these two woman create work that engage boundaries so formally and confidently.

For more information, please contact Samuel Zients at szients@gmail.com or +1 917 439 2482.

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