A couple of weekends ago we visited the AAC to see the current crop of solo shows. A mixed bag, perhaps, but some interesting work. I captured some images of things that caught my eye:
Erin Williams, a Philadelphia artist, creates faux museum displays for the fictitious creations of her great-grandmother, Minnie Eureka Young, who, according to Williams, invented large, fantastic Victorian-era medical devices made of brass, copper, and wood.
Williams' work interested me quite a bit. These sculptures were far more intriguing than the associated photographs and prints (I think there were prints), but I do like that she has contributed supplemental materials to the sculptures. It creates a more interesting "story."
The room in which the work was installed did little to help the sculptures (see the electrical outlets in the second image for an example) but there's not much to be done about that.
Jeremy Drummond, a Richmond-based, Canadian-born artist, illustrates the unlikely intersection of the dreams of developers and those of the people who eventually occupy their pre-planned communities through video portraits, lists of accepted and rejected street name proposals, and aluminum panels painted in colors from the Martha Stewart living collection.
This artist certainly made the most of being given the prime gallery at AAC. So much of this work seemed redundant, but I doubt it's a stretch to think that was at least partially the goal given the subject matter. For more on Drummond's body of work, read this essay. It appears that essentially the same group of work was exhibited at Drake University in 2006.
Jennifer Mattingly, a Kensington, Maryland artist, meticulously constructs tiny playful dioramas out of matchboxes often recalling early modernist work by Joseph Cornell, or collage novels by Max Ernst. Both the matchboxes themselves and large photographic prints of them will be on display.
These matchbook sculpture-meets-collage pieces were incredibly cute and playful, and I enjoyed them very much. Like Williams' installation, Mattingly included enlarged photos of the matchbooks in the show to supplement the real thing. Several works had sold for mid-three figures... quite good on a square (or cubic?) inch basis.
Laure Drogoul, a Sondheim Prize winner, orchestrates all sorts of curious happenings and installations - from performances with amplified knitting orchestras, to devices with which to sing to - and possibly charm vitrines full of earthworms, to a traveling museum of smells called The Olfactory Factory. For this show, the Baltimore artist conducts a video seance, calling out to the civil war dead in nearby Arlington Cemetery.
Drogoul has built a reputation of making art that freaks you the hell out. Knowing this, I was most interested in seeing the AAC installation. Sure enough, Drogoul delivers the freaky goods. Stacey had to leave the room due to the energy present and I just stood there with my jaw dropped. I'm not sure what Drogoul is getting at with this work, but the experience itself is memorable. I won't soon forget it. This is the solo show that makes a trip to the AAC worthwhile.
There are two other solo shows at AAC but I neglected to snap any pictures of them. Here are the summaries for them:
Jacklyn Brickman makes installations that resemble science museum displays and illustrate relationships between people, food, corporations, and chemistry. Here the Newark, Delaware-based artist focuses her attention on corn, a crop that's been redesigned by scientists into a super-starchy alien foodstuff.
Jennifer Fleming's Poems: Public Places series examines roadside developments along interstate highways. The Baltimore artist takes 4 X 6 photos of chain restaurants, convenience stores, and other signs of workaday ugliness along Route 1, then cuts these pictures and assembles them by hand into long, panoramic collages. These "poems" are also offered for sale as refrigerator magnets, postcards, and other ironic souvenirs commemorating sprawl.