In the precursor to this show, I told a story about witnessing an explosion off the top of an old silo building near my house. Startled by the blast, my roommate and I looked out of our back door and watched the smoke billow and the neighbors lean out their back porches to shout and point. My first thought was that I had assumed the silo was abandoned, so how could it blow up? Was anyone inside? We watched helicopters descent onto the scene, circling the building low and close to the roof. Cranes began to rise near the east wall. But as no sign of rescue work appeared, and the smoke drifted and dissipated on on past the nearby highway, we began to see it for what it was, a movie shoot, an elaborate scenario.
Aside from its role in the plot of what we found out was Michael Bay’s Transformers 4, the explosion created another drama, that of the work and emotion for the real participants and spectators. I have since thought a great deal about those helicopter pilots and crane operators; there was never another explosion, so they only had one chance to get it right. They were performers in the movie as much as the actors, except they quite literally performed the scenery.
What we do with our bodies — our eyes, our ears, and our hands — is reciprocal with our surroundings. How we feel and what we think is in a relationship with where we are. We perform our environment, and it acts back on us. Scenarios, situations, plots, and histories are all the stories of agents activating their settings.
New work by JP Merz, Gonzalo Reyes Rodriguez, Jordan Rosenow, Dain Mergenthaler, Katie Waddell, Shana Hoehn, Alee Peoples & Mike Stoltz (curated by Danny Floyd)
JP Merz is a composer and sound artist who works with classical, jazz, and rock musicians, as well as improvisers, dancers, electrical engineers, programming languages, and robots. His recent work explores intimate, emotion-driven, and kinesthetic experiences of sound. JP’s music has been performed by members of the JACK Quartet, Altius Quartet, Playground Ensemble, Iowa Center for New Music, and Colorado New Music Ensemble at places like New Music on the Point (NMOP), the Artists’ Cooperative Residency and Exhibitions (ACRE), San Francisco Fringe Festival, Electronic Music Midwest, basements, DIY venues, and coffee shops. In addition to composing, JP performs on guitar, electric viola, and electronics with an eclectic variety of groups ranging from new music/improv ensembles to folk-rock bands. He just moved from Boulder, CO to Minneapolis, MN. If familiar with the area, please recommend places to hang out/buy groceries.
More information about JP Merz can be found at http://www.jpmerz.com/
Alee Peoples (born 1981, Oklahoma City) maintains a varied artistic practice that involves screen-printing, sewing, sculpture and film. Currently living in Los Angeles, she has taught youth classes at Echo Park Film Center and organized a 13-date film tour in the spring of 2014. Peoples has shown her films at numerous U.S. film festivals and at art spaces in Tokyo, Spain, Switzerland and the Netherlands. She is inspired by pedestrian histories, pop song lyrics and invested in the hand-made.
More information about Alee Peoples can be found at http://www.aleepeoples.com/
Mike Stoltz is a Los Angeles-based artist whose practice is dictated by process, working directly with the tools of cinema (film, video, sound, special effects, and projection) to explore boundaries of space, time, memory, and the medium itself. Through his work there is an examination of the constant and the variable; a concrete wall begins to spin through the sky, performers place the camera between their bodies, nature overtakes the man-made, and history begins to fold in on itself. He lives and works in Los Angeles and is a member of the Echo Park Film Center Cooperative.
More information about Mike Stoltz can be found at http://mikestoltz.org/
Gonzalo Reyes Rodriguez (b. 1987) is a visual artist working with photographic, video, and live art. Exhibition highlights include Casa America – Madrid, Vox Populi – Philadelphia, Babel Visningsrom for Kunst – Trondheim, MAMA Annex, Los Angeles and a solo exhibition at The Windor Contemporáneo – Madrid. He has studied at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and has a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is an MFA candidate at the University of Pennsylvania and participated in the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia Program for Advanced Studies in Critical Practices, 2015.
More information about Gonzalo Reyes Rodriguez can be found at http://gonzalo-reyesrodriguez-b1tw.squarespace.com/
Jordan Rosenow is a sculptor and performance based artist, living and working in Minneapolis, MN. She has most recently exhibited work at Fire Drill and The Soap Factory in Minneapolis. Using lumber, cinder blocks and other construction objects, she references a material conversation surrounding the labor tied to the original purpose of the objects and engages with the history of minimalism. Her sculptures oftentimes recall a sense of precariousness or tension, as objects balance or lean on one another in uncertain ways. The sculptures are embedded in a relationship of dependence and are occasionally on the edge of collapsing, yet continually maintain their equilibrium. Rosenow’s latest project is a series of performances called Labor Duets, in which two individuals perform seemingly meaningless acts of labor, while maintaining a physical connection between each other’s bodies. The relationship repeatedly switches roles from leading to dependence. Performers stack and move bricks or 2x4s. What would otherwise be considered a useless expense of energy, functions as a performance of intimacy between the acting bodies, a dance of sorts.
More information about Jordan Rosenow can be found at http://www.jordanrosenow.com/
Dain Mergenthaler holds an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art and a BFA from Maryland Institute College of art, both in fiber. Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, he now lives in Hamtramck, Michigan. He has traveled around the country for residencies, workshops, and exhibitions including Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Vermont Studio Center, and most recently ACRE Residency in a perpetual quest to find the balance between fun and shitty through parties and construction.
More information about Dain Mergenthaler can be found at http://www.dmergenthaler.com/
Shana Hoehn creates videos that are informed by the implicit order and decorum inside spaces that imply a form of social regulation. Hoehn has participated in residencies such as Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Acre Residency and SOMA in Mexico City. She will be an artist in residence at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston Core Program starting in the fall. Hoehn was also a recipient of a Fulbright Research Fellowship in Mexico in 2013 and an Elizabeth Greensheilds grant in 2015. She received her BFA in Painting from Maryland Institute College of Art in 2013 and her MFA in Sculpture and Extended Media at Virginia Commonwealth University in 2016.
More information about Shana Hoehn can be found at http://www.shanahoehn.com/
Katie Waddell is an independent curator, writer, and event producer based in Chicago, IL. Katie collaborates with artists across disciplines, organizing their projects, artworks, or ideas into total environments or sequential events. Her research and projects focus on the encounter, by way of public events and programming, as the nexus from which intimacy, curiosity, and the experiential unfold. Katie holds a dual-M.A. in Modern Art History, Theory, and Criticism and Arts Administration and Policy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Waddell is the Founder and Creative Director of 2nd Floor Rear, an annual festival of art in alternative spaces, a future founder of 2FR Projects (forthcoming), and a general doer of things.
More information about Katie Waddell can be found at katiewaddelldoesthings.com