Assistant Saws Magician in Half
George Blaha and Susan Kimball
March 2-30, 2013
George Blaha and Susan Kimball are object makers. They focus on material choices contextualized in architecture and they have learned to really edit, flirting with words like minimal. But their simple shapes and direct processes have stories to tell. George moves through historical references and metaphysical implications fluidly and fluently. Susan evokes emotional connection—housing us in familiar moments so we are left to navigate whether her work is her story or our own.
George sculpts in the digital realm and shows us immaculate prints. It would be simpler for George to make some of his objects in the physical world rather than render convincing surfaces. He has a tendency to ”use” materials that are widely available and inexpensive. His construction is sometimes the antithesis of precise craft. He wryly elevates humble objects by contextualizing them in the vocabulary of oh-so-blue-chip galleries complete with perfect light, perfectly polished concrete floors, and white cube assumptions. Gallery-ness asserts itself with the subtlety that generated its faux neutrality in the first place. George transforms the appearance of his starting point so completely that sometimes it is difficult to recognize his sources. His advanced decorative basket weaving started out patterning Leonardo da Vinci’s signature. Is George claiming to be the better Renaissance man? Evoking a challenge to dilettante aspirations?
Susan grows her work out of a space. Her object pretends it has always lived where it is. But each tells a moment of transitions. Susan’s superpower is her conviction that transitions are mostly awkward. A spandex curtain trapped in concrete teases out a painful first time locker room shower notorious in middle school Phys Ed classes. Why do schools demand that we share our bodies publicly at the height of transitional gawkiness and self-conscious desperation? Susie decorates fat. She taunts boys and conjures Medusa all with frozen vegetables. Well, unfrozen. Unfreezing.
George and Susan are paired together because they tell good stories—which we’re not supposed to do these days. When we push deeper than a cliff note understanding of a story, of a principle, we often scuff the surface and remove a sheen of respectability that comes with unchallenged aphorisms. Susan and George scuff and scuffle with ideas. Not because either sets out to confront, but because they follow their impulses to delve deeper into ideas, follow them through wherever through ends up. Take us all places that otherwise we tend to gloss over.
This exhibition is part of our ongoing partnership with ACRE. Susan Kimball was a resident for their 2012 summer residency.