a curated project by Franklin Evans
February 17 – March 26, 2006
Opening: Friday, February 17, from 7-9 pm
The participating artists include: Melanie Baker,Gina Magid, Ann Pibal, Holly Coulis, Randy Wray, Elana Herzog, Ruby Palmer, Perry Hu, Bart de Koning Gans, Devin Leonardi, Federico Solmi, Satoru Eguchi, Jason Duval, Chris Jahncke, Julia Randall, Amanda Church, and Joyce Kim.
LMAKprojects is pleased to present “Regeneration Room”, a curated project by Franklin Evans, which is an expansion upon Mr. Evans’ “Regeneration Wall”, a family tree of works on paper exhibited at The Drawing Center in the Fall of 2005. The participating artists include: Melanie Baker,Gina Magid, Ann Pibal, Holly Coulis, Randy Wray, Elana Herzog, Ruby Palmer, Perry Hu, Bart de Koning Gans, Devin Leonardi, Federico Solmi, Satoru Eguchi, Jason Duval, Chris Jahncke, Julia Randall, Amanda Church, and Joyce Kim.
A working artist must struggle with the power of his or her predecessors. As the literary critic Harold Bloom wrote in “The Anxiety of Influence”, this battle with the past can be seen as a replication in the cultural context of the Freudian rebellion of children against the control and influences of their parents. However overbearing the past may be, the fund of preceding visual and conceptual knowledge also provides the seeds and nourishment for the daily practice of making art. Out of the linkages to the past and present of other studios and to the past of our own studios grows the work that claims its own identity and in turn becomes the seed and feed of the next generation of artists.
The “Regeneration Room” is an experimental embodiment of this ongoing cycle of work made from the elements of the past which become seeds for the future. In this project, seventeen artists were chosen and randomly assigned a place in a generational tree. Starting with the work of one artist, each successive generation was given the seed of the future: a piece of paper with an ink transfer from an inkjet print of a small part (a seed) of a prior generation finished work. A jpeg of the full drawing from which the seed was extracted was also given to each artist.
From the seed the artists were asked to make whatever they determined appropriate to their practice. The only limitations were size (maximum of 22” x 22”), dimensionality (two), time to execute (maximum of four weeks), and retention of the seed. The project thus examines several vital questions in artistic practice: (1) how clearly does the individual artist’s identity emerge from the given seed; (2) how clearly
do the linkages between individual “familial” relations read to the viewer; and (3) how does the artist effectively overcome the crushing weight of history in order to use the power of the past productively. To ensure the depth of the exploration of these questions, artists employing a wide range of studio practices were selected. In addition, the level of exhibition exposure among the artists selected ranged from very active to nearly unexhibited, and the curatorial bias of preconceived linkages between specific artists was negated through the use of a random number generator to determine the placement in the generational tree.
The individual works produced through the project demonstrate the variety of approaches that artists use to come to grips with influences and history: from the seed becoming elements of the narrative (Holly Coulis, Bart De Koning Gans, Gina Magid) to the seed becoming part of the process (Randy Wray, Chris Jahncke, Jason Duval, Elana Herzog, Julia Randall); from the seed as formal determinant (Devin Leonardi, Perry Hu, Ann Pibal, Amanda Church, Ruby Palmer) to the seed as concept (Joyce Kim); and from the seed as incidental (Federico Solmi and Satoru Eguchi) to the seed as absence (Melanie Baker, the metaphorical Eve of the project, who had no seed since she was the randomly selected first artist to make a piece of work, from which all other pieces in later generations derived).
The “Regeneration Room” hopes to enliven and challenge the practices of working artists by emphasizing that we do not create work in vacuums, that we are constantly influenced by the knowledge of past and that, in the current generations surrounding us and with all of that influence, we nonetheless find ways to find voices that become identifiably our own. The ground of art history has been well grazed; however, there remain infinite positions and possibilities to find spaces in which to engage in a dialogue with the past and present and to create a fertile voice of one’s own.
– Franklin Evans, January 2006