THe Neon Heater Art gallery

03

Different Registers

Curatorial Statement

Featuring work by:

Caitlin MacBride, Sarah Tortora, Derrick Velasquez

Curated by GRIN (Lindsey Stapleton and Corey Oberlander)

September 9th, 2018 - October 6th, 2018

Shown at Camayuhs in Atlanta, Georgia

“Craft is a wedge that reveals stark distinctions within ideologies of taste and value. Craft polarizes and collapses theoretical positions about what making means today. Craft is contemporary because it is the pivot between art and commerce, between work and leisure,

between the past and the future. There is no such thing as "the contemporary," and there is nosuch thing as craft. With all its complexities, with all its different registers of meaning across history, across class, across gender, across institutions, craft is all of these things, some of these things, none of these things.” - Julia Bryan-Wilson (2013)

 

There are hierarchies of objects. They are ever-changing, undefined, overdetermined, and are scrutinized, studied, and judged by infinite points of view.

 

It’s basic perception. It’s that old cliche “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, except that not all perspectives regard beauty. It’s interpretation. It’s the often egregious posturing of institutions, their rank-and-file, and their constituents. It’s when you walk into a museum and spend the most time in front of the polished 12-foot-balloon-sculpture because it’s shiny, expensive, and made of steel, or it’s reading the wall text or labels like a wordsearch puzzle just to see if the paintings are by an artist you recognize by name. It’s these self-aggrandizing acts instead of, maybe, spending your time in front of works with more potential energy, or with a more complex object history, provenance or concept, skill or craft. It’s the preserved 5th century amphora passed by in the atrium, the emerging artist presented on the cafe wall, and the local jeweler at the gift shop.

At the turn of the 15th, the Renaissance in Europe marked a re-emergence of Greek and Roman concepts found within the sociopolitical structures. Notably in the arts, the Renaissance marked a shift in the concept of the Artist as being now appreciated not by the quantity or frequency but rather the (subjective) quality or merit of their creations.

Giorgio Vasari’s c.1550 publication Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects was a catalyst for the population redefining “Artist”, but it also created a hierarchical split between the Painters, Sculptors, or Architects (now “Artists”) and the Jewelers,

Ceramicists, Blacksmiths, Quilters, and other makers (now “Artisans”). Such artisans, or craftspeople in contemporary definitions, were now carrying a lesser connotation along with their creations, as they weren’t so widely celebrated as spectacle or appreciated on a grand

scale by the influencers of the population.

These same concepts are pervasive in contemporary art, where the distinction between art and craft are often split by a line in the sand, often dictated by individual perspective rather than an inarguable definition. Much art is dependent on craft, and much craft is combating the definitions of both.

 

The artists included in Different Registers aren’t exclusively recontextualizing the craft or material they are mimicking, so much as questioning the identity, or assignment, of the object in the first place. As artists with their fingers in the contemporary art world pie, the work they produce is, by definition, contemporary. By presenting the imagery of centuries-old crafted products in their work, the objects they reference become different; the subjects no longer fall within the realm of craft or functionality and they now belong as Art with a capital A.

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The Temperature is a curatorial project of The Neon Heater, an artist run space in Findlay, OH. As part of their seventh year of exhibitions, The Neon Heater will be curating a series of 30 exhibitions across the United States between September 2018 and May of 2019. A loose conceptual narrative will connect the exhibitions via a monthly framework that unfolds throughout the course of the year. The narrative is a critique of the Art world and capitalist art market, American nationalism and exceptionalism, and universalized Hollywood blockbusters. September's monthly theme is The Setting.

 

Other exhibitions in The Setting include:

Raw Hide at The Neon Heater in Findlay, OH

Lines on Map Mean Little to Eyes in the Sky at Southern Project Space in St. Augustine, FL

When the Winters Were Still Really Cold at Usable Space in Milwaukee, WI

Truth & The Flood at Real Tinsel in Milwaukee, WI