These artists create and provoke deeper thought, taking inanimate objects and breathing new life into them, yielding a resurrected meaning of what they potentially symbolize together. Here are three local installation and mixed media artists with novel approaches to space and material. Their choices in objects and symbols could be, at first, thought arbitrary, but upon closer inspection, collaborate as a unit for expressive life realities and unconscious awakening.
Veronica Bruce evokes human emotion in her art-making process, with its materiality, sources, and history. Her creations stretch the possibilities of deeper thought, and have a strong mix of masculine/feminine qualities, while evoking notions of “instability, illusion, balance, energy, and humility.” Bruce works across multiple disciplines of mixed media installation, sculpture, photography, painting, and hybrids of these genres, with the vocabulary of painting at the core. Her recent work draws attention to the “hidden potential within material.” Bruce says her work, “will highlight my multifaceted approach to painting – three dimensional[ity], (3D) objects that reference the rectangular painting, ‘photo paintings’ – and the underlying concept of interconnectedness.” Her materials melded together represent the metaphor of human relations, and symbolize “the linking of decisions and a search and longing for connections.” In “Environmental Factors” at Julius Caesar, she uses materials – from cardboard to yoga mats to Styrofoam – in challenging ways, but is “working with alternate, transformational ideals.”
Bruce has taught for the last six years and will complete her MFA in Painting at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia in 2011.
Anna Jόelsdόttir reveals personal experiences, artistic history, and interpretations of current events. In Surge, installed at the Clocktower Gallery upon request, her creations on oversized sheets of mylar “float” vertically, while revealing the innate, unconscious practice of creating personal narratives from memory, and the inferences and disseminated interpretations of human interaction. “Surge implies unpredictable energy or force coming from any direction or compartment of our lives: nature, politics, finance, ideas, you name it,” she says. Jόelsdόttir believes her work “reconstructs this paradoxical logic of experience where perception and memory are continually constructed and reconstructed.” She wishes to release painting out from its confines of the frame and install it into freed space. At the Clocktower Gallery, Jόelsdόttir took photos for inspiration, and incorporated the gallery’s history. “I was thinking of the history of the place – its current function as a performance space, and as an international Internet radio station about art and culture. I knew I would use the pipes in the ceiling as a metaphor for some kind of flow or flood (of ideas, history, etc.).” She adds Surge is similar to “thoughts that are in constant flux being deconstructed and reconstructed.” Incorporation of sticks, accordion books, tubes, and chicken wire she adds, are all also “part of her vocabulary and speak to fragmentation and fragility, with a combination of lightness and strength.”
Jόelsdόttir received her MFA at the School of the Art Institute.
Chris Bradley is a stalwart creator in his adeptness in strategies for expression, considering social and personal narratives, and utilizing new techniques and technologies in his installation work. Bradley says in his art, “he operates on a track of self-teaching through research, trial and error,” adding that he recently has been “experimenting with ways of physically activating ordinary objects, seeking an imaginative reexamination of their use and understanding.” In his work, Quiet Company at the Shane Campbell Gallery, he “extracts, isolates, and resituates a common subject that’s usually understood through its greater body or environment – like a windshield separated from a car or a garage door without a garage – not only revealing characteristics of the subject that are most often overlooked, but implying a relationship with the observer.” His arcane observations of elements become noticeable in their cultural meaning. Bradley describes his art adding, “It’s like filling a square black in someone’s crossword puzzle; like an Eremite, four letters, first letter A. It’s play on what we know.”
Bradley received his MFA in 2010 at the Art Institute.