May 24th 2014

Kelly Kleinschrodt: Murmelte Instrumente, & April Street: Runner

@ Andrew Rafacz Gallery

835 W Washington Blvd., Chicago IL

Opening Saturday, May 24th, from 4PM - 7PM

On view through Saturday, July 5th

Motherhood and the identity of the female body as mother are central to Kleinschrodt’s continually evolving multi-disciplinary practice. Murmelte Instrumente, a new body of work that is part of her ongoing, larger project mother/cut, translates to “muttering instruments” playing off its cognate relationship to the German word for mother. The muttering instruments are, for Kleinschrodt, the personified objects of motherhood, and she revels in their musicality. The breast pump, breast milk, skin, and violin are referenced throughout, as elements and subjects of the photographs as well as objects included in the installation. The title also references the nascent language between mother and newborn child, as well as the mother’s muffled voice – both literally, as she sits underneath the fabric for a portrait, and psychologically, as she assumes another identity secondary to that of her child.

In a series of new photographic works called (__’s mother), Kleinschrodt draws a direct reference to Victorian-era child portrait photography where the mother is present to hold the baby, but completely obfuscated by a dark cloth. The child appears to be sitting in front of a backdrop, which is in fact the cloaked mother. Kleinschrodt has updated this trope by producing a similar composition in iteration, photographing the seated mother in profile, and adding surrogate objects such as a breast pump and a violin to become the primary subject of the portrait. The results are simultaneously classical and conceptual, elegant, yet uncanny.

Just as the breast pump is a surrogate for the infant child, the violinist is a surrogate for the artist herself. The performance of everyday gestures and the music intrinsic to everyday objects and liquids are recurrent thematic concerns for Kleinschrodt. With previous projects, the violin and recordings of the breast pump figure directly as the instruments of live performance as a critical element of the exhibition. Eschewing the inclusion of performance, the violin and breast pump become both object and subject in the photographs and installation, creating a more suggestive relationship to the inherent musical counterpoint of object and gesture.

KELLY KLEINSCHRODT (American, b. 1983) lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. She received her MFA at UCLA and her BFA at the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University. Kleinschrodt has presented solo exhibitions with Carter & Citizen, Los Angeles and at UNTITLED., Miami (with Carter & Citizen); and Crisp London Los Angeles. Her work has also been exhibited and screened at Samson Projects, Boston; L.A.C.E., Los Angeles; The Wand, Berlin; Moving Image, New York; Kavi Gupta, Berlin; Museo Ex Teresa Arte Actual, Mexico City; and OPEN Contemporary Art Center, Beijing. This is her first exhibition with the gallery.

Comprised of the artist’s black hole paintings and an installation of 150 cast bronze birthday candles running in and out of the gallery walls, April Street’s Runner, forms paths from inner to outer space both physically and psychologically. Like Street’s previous work, there is a tension between the paintings, the objects and the viewer where things are not always what they seem. Street not only punctures holes in the walls of the gallery but also in the paintings, revealing the gestures’ ability to adapt to and manipulate our interpretation, suspending disbelief while opening up the surface of the painting to reveal its inner workings.

April Street’s black hole paintings are named after stars frequently referenced in literature; they are psychedelic time capsules holding clues to the history of painting and the personal narrative of the artist. Each painting is wrapped in black nylon with holes cut or punched through revealing layers of painted hosiery. These hosiery layers are artifacts of a private performative act in which the artist wraps herself in hosiery material to enact a series of precise body positions, recorded while sleeping, into pools of acrylic paint on a canvas. The impression made by this act creates a positive and negative, and the mark making has the appearance of a photograph. The negative on the hosiery is then reassembled onto painting’s frame. Street’s gravitational configurations of painted hosiery inside black veils of nylon evoke notions of masking, deception, sexuality, duration, and adaptation, but these objects of action also point to the act of peering through a camera’s eye piece—cropping and editing out the unnecessary.

Street’s work creates relationships in the gallery that hinge on the ability of an object to transform our interpretation with the altering of its gestures. The puncturing of the surface is made to reach inside for an understanding of how these objects can mysteriously reenact a sensation of blushing or bruising skin and create the psychological territory of the painting itself through the repurposing of its varied elements. The work ignites a conversation with eccentric abstraction, feminism, the performative and the post-war movement Art Informel, while occupying a new space.

APRIL STREET (American) lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. She studied traditional bronze casting in central Italy and painting at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Recent exhibitions include Carter & Citizen, Los Angeles, CA; Emerson Dorsch, Miami FL; Rosamund Felsen Gallery, Santa Monica, CA; the Santa Barbara Museum, Santa Barbara CA. She received an NEA Project Grant for her video collaboration, Imaging Appalachia. Press includes reviews and articles in Art Forum, Art in America, the San Francisco Arts Quarterly, Huffington Post, LA Weekly, Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times. This is her first exhibition with the gallery.

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