TROY – Going to a gallery, one typically sees the results not the process of artists’ work.
Yet, with “Traces: 28 Days in Elizabeth Murray’s Studio,” featured at Collar Works, the work presented is both the process and the product.
In this solo exhibition, artist Kyoung eun Kang uses everything from video to photographs to watercolor drawings to bring viewers through her experiences in the studio.
The works featured were all created during her residency at Elizabeth Murray’s former Washington County barn studio. Murray, a groundbreaking artist and MacArthur “genius” grant award-winner whose work is in many major public collections, died in 2007. Collar Works holds a residency program at her studio as a way to honor the artist’s legacy and give other artists the chance to take risks and develop new works.
Kang, a New York-based artist, worked in the studio last year and perhaps took inspiration not only from Murray but from the studio itself and the ways that other artists have impacted it.
In the photo “Pamphlet I” the artist is seen walking around the studio and reading Murray’s Exhibition Catalog (paintings 2003-2006). The walls behind Kang are mostly white, holding only a few flecks of color. The background also features a paint-splattered ladder, and two tables, one holding the artist’s materials.
These objects, all of which belonged to Murray, seen in the photo are scattered throughout the exhibition, making the viewer feel as though they’re in the studio with the artist.
The videos seen throughout the exhibition have a similar effect. In one, we see Kang responding to the studio through dance, with different movements for each splatter on the studio walls.
“Using my body as a medium to revive the Murray studio, I gradually developed a series of actions and movements repeated over the course of a given day,” Kang said in an artist statement, “I set up my camera in a fixed position in the middle of the studio and recorded my daily practice for 28 days. I observed and examined the space, animated her objects through interaction, and created a series of dance movements and watercolor drawings that mirrored the marks on the walls.”
In another video, Kang is seen working on the ground in the studio, surrounded by blank sheets of paper. Some of the watercolor drawings she seems to be working on are hung not too far away. Many of them are small, featuring only one or two hues, and they reflect Kang’s movement in the studio, with bright flecks of color striking across the white paper. Each replicates various marks the artist found in Murray’s studio, from the verdant green dots to the vibrant blue flicks across the paper of “Notation IX” or the crisscrossed reds of “Notation X.”
“Traces” is a contemplative exhibition that asks viewers to consider not only the work itself but the work and the environment that went into creating it. It’s open at Collar Works (621 River St. Troy) through December 13. Hours are 12-6 p.m. Thu.-Fri. and 12-4 p.m. Sat.-Sun. For more information visit collarworks.org.
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