Visual Arts Program

Friday, January 10, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.

Sarah Sutton & Katie Bell

Opening Reception and Artists' Talks

Fuzzy Edges, Oil on panel, 18 x 24 inches, 2018Fuzzy Edges, Oil on panel, 18 x 24 inches, 2018. Deep Horizon, Oil on panel, 36 x 48 inches, 2019. Deep Horizon, Oil on panel, 36 x 48 inches, 2019. Katie BellKatie Bell
Artists' Talks start at 8:00 p.m. in the Cinema
Exhibitions continue through February 28.

This exhibition by Ithaca-area artist Sarah Sutton will feature a series of monochromatic oil paintings that combine representational imagery with distortions and abstractions that create scenarios in flux. They are essentially landscape paintings, but Sutton's treatment of the landscape toys with its sense of space and the notion of the built vs. the natural environment. Figurative forms occasionally emerge from the complex hybrid imagery, though they are frequently camouflaged or overwhelmed within the scenic cacophony. Her work depicts moments of collusion and collision that are not intrinsically meant to go together. It is within the resulting ambiguity that Sutton attempts to address how histories, boundaries, and skins can dissolve into one another.

As she has said, "I imagine in-between spaces, scalar fluidity, and psychic spaces, where the private and public realm collapse. Most of the time the question centers on combining spaces or moments that aren't meant to go together, letting them collude, collide and clash and then looking for pattern, resonance and schematic visual structures that emerge as I paint. The subject matter centers on the complex history of capitalism, the movement and extraction of natural resources, as well as speculative futures."

Katie Bell's Abstract Cabinet uses found and fabricated materials to construct an improvisational space that stretches the contours and objectives of painting. Walls, platforms, cabinets, columns, and curtains will be combined with scribbles, planes of color, and brush marks to create an abstracted landscape. This landscape is absent of figures, acting as a stage set before the actor arrives. A type of hybrid-play, rational and irrational, function and functionless, will take place in the gallery. The gallery space acts as a cabinet—holding nameable and nameless objects. The walls function as doors and shelves to walk around and visually open. Taking notes from the Russian Constructivists, the gallery space is as important as the objects brought into the space. With influence from El Lissitzky’s Prouns, the blurring of distinctions between real and abstract space, as Lissitzky puts it, "interchange station between painting and architecture."" The title Abstract Cabinet is a rough translation of a work made by Lissitzky in 1927 titled 'Kabinett der Abstrakten'’' in which he made a modular and changeable room to display abstract art. The room itself was a sculpture that combined his interests in furniture design, architecture, sculpture, and painting space. I am interested in this in between space—how a painting can exist as a cabinet—how a cabinet can exist as a wall—how a wall can exist as a field of color—how a field of color can exist as a curtain—how a curtain can exist as a signifier of theatricality.