Cascading down from the leftmost wall of the exhibition space at the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, Diana Gabriel’s large installation Interlace (2015) layers hundreds of feet of yarn to create a 3-D drawing that hangs in midair. The multicolored piece forms a tunnel that allows visitors to walk through its center and observe the exhibition through the lens of the pink, purple, and yellow work. “I wanted the artworks to take advantage of the physical space,” said Robin Dluzen, curator of “Skimption,” a new showcase for emerging local artists at UIMA. “I wanted this to be an opportunity for the artists to pull out all the stops.”
“Skimption” includes the work of five artists, each contributing vastly different works that, without context, appear both chaotic and isolated. Catherine Schwalbe’s installation Sewing/Sowing (2015), a group of ceramic pieces sprouting microgreens from beneath a heat lamp, seems conceptually distant from the nearby works of Luis Sahagun, whose wall- and floor-based sculptures are constructed from found cement, tires, cardboard, and wood.
Disparate and without definition, however, is the theme of the exhibition, each artist pulling influences from several mediums instead of focusing exclusively on one. Schwalbe’s installation exists as part of a larger community-based practice while Sahagun uses a painterly technique when finishing the surface of his objects, even though they’re assembled from collected street rubble.
Rusty Shackleford’s bright inkjet prints dazzle in their odd intersection of photography, painting, and collage, wet paint immortalized as a photographic representation of the patterns created when pressed against the glass of a flatbed scanner. Emily Hermant’s spiraling wall drawings in Walled Garden (2015) exist between the physical and digital—colorful, albeit labor-intensive drawings that attempt to convey the slow channeling of the patterns found in the quick exchange of digital information.
Dluzen, who outside of curating is also an artist, critic, and writer, referenced her own multidisciplinary habits while selecting the artists for the exhibition, calling forth interests she expresses in her visual and critical work. “There are no easy, nonchalant gestures amongst their works,” said Dluzen of the artists in the show. “I hope the viewer experiences the guts, the care, and the sincerity that I see in each of their pieces.”