Creative Chain: Connecting creatives one link at a time, week 23

[Emily Potts] It’s another wacky Wednesday in October, leading up to Halloween. What better way to get some spooky inspiration than from the three artists featured today on Creative Chain? Last week’s last link was Victoria Haven. In her own words, she is inspired by …

DAWN CERNY
Dawn approaches ideas of failure and vulnerability with the agility of an Olympic athlete and the irreverent humor of a stand-up comedian.

Get a Bigger Rape Whistle
Like an invitation to attend a party, Get a Bigger Rape Whistle lures you in with its cursive and glitter text. Before you know it, there you are, in dialogue with a work that elicits compassion, frustration and the politics of responsibility. Dawn’s ability to pack this punch—both visually and emotionally—keeps me coming back to her work long after the initial encounter.

Floor
This is an image Dawn created for a collaborative book project with two colleagues. I love the way this image is doubled-up….the domestic space of the floor becomes a ceiling of sorts, as well. Like much of her work, it speaks of messy systems and the attempt to reassemble the parts to create a coherent space where the artist can insert herself. The artist points to the intersection where things don’t quite line up…as perhaps a gesture to consider this place of tension and possibility.

Dawn Cerny is inspired by …

CARMELLE SAFDIE
Carmelle has an uncanny knack for making images that seem to burrow guilelessly into the shadier parts of my mind the more I am with them. Safdie is a master at a kind of attitudinal sleight-of-hand that inverts the ways I perceive and think about mass-produced patterns and graphic motifs from the last 60 years. Her work consistently points to the history of painting and invents games and strategies to undo the way we see and comprehend what we know as painting. It is cool. It is not cool. It is cool. It is not cool.

First Rate, Second Hand
One of my favorite projects by Carmelle Safdie and her collaborator Sophy Naess is the yearly production of their satirical calendar First Rate, Second Hand. They produce a 12-month calendar by going to thrift stores, finding props and costumes, taking their portraits in the store, and then Photoshopping the appropriate seasonal background in using Google Image Search and the New York Public Library picture collection. It’s quick-witted in a way that, for me, mocks the historically idealized depiction of women in (decorative?) printed material.

Fruit Stand
Carmelle is currently working with artist Paul Branca on a series of watermelon paintings that are part of a larger venture called Fruit Stand, wherein artists have been asked to paint a still life of a single kind of fruit; eventually, these paintings will be exhibited at a street fruit stand. I really feel affection for this series because they are excellent paintings but never suspend Carmelle’s consideration for geometry and formalism. She lets the form of a watermelon and its architectural attitude on the canvas be cool, but hints at something sentimental in its rendering, It is cool. It is not cool. It is cool. It is not cool.

Dawn Cerny is also inspired by ….

D.W. BURNAM
In his drawings, photographs and collages, Burnam is able to achieve a kind of narrative density and open-endedness that only seems possible in short-form writing. Indeed Burnam’s work is literary, and its pacing—consideration of space, acoustics and his seeming desire to undo—is situated alongside the various authors—Flannery O’Connor, Ray Bradbury, Nathaniel Hawthorne—that I think about when I work.

Walk
The Walk series consists of sheets of (maybe?) blank paper that have been placed or scattered about in a section of an unpeopled landscape. The paper might be an architectural place holder. The paper might be a dumb Smithson demonstration of shifting perception and expanding my visual threshold. It might be a bunch of detritus flung out of a passing car. After a while I am not sure if I know what I am looking at anymore, and I start to think about what might be on that paper, and the relationship paper has had in the dissemination of ideas within the Western Canon—how, personally, paper had become this Pavlovian signal for “wanting to know” and how, in the face of these blank sheets, I am only left observing my own ideas.

150 steps
This is from a series of photocopied photographs of backyards that have been collaged with scraps of paper that Burnam keeps in his back pocket for making notes or sketches for himself. In this image, two of the backyard images are stacked on top of each other in portrait orientation. In the center of each backyard there is a rectangular paper scrap glued to it; they could be twin monoliths situated in two random backyards. There is something about the nature of these thin, dirty scraps of paper that become transformed into both voids and objects of a kind of monumentality that I believe in.

Tune in next week to see who kicks off the chain.

Take a look at the complete chain any time.

Emily Potts has been a contributor to Felt & Wire since 2010, reporting on design news, new books and people she loves. Her day job is senior acquisitions editor at Rockport Publishers.

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