ARTISTS BRENT BIRNBAUM & CHRISTIN RIPLEY TO DEBUT A NEW EXHIBITION,
SEPTEMBER 18th AT EPSILON SPIRES
Mixed Media Exploring Themes of Chance and Becoming
Artist Brent Birnbaum’s new body of work will be on view at Epsilon Spires with a socially-distanced opening reception on Sept. 18, and by appointment until November 6th. Birnbaum’s latest series of assemblages is composed of board games that the artist systematically deconstructed into hundreds of smaller “spaces” that he then recombined in collage. He began by cutting the pathways and territories out from existing games to break the set logic of the boards and then created the final compositions through a combination of chance and intervention by dropping the pieces from a great height and then adjusting them slightly by hand to achieve a final harmony. The resulting images pop. The vivid colors and textures of the original boards invite the familiar excitement of gameplay from memory while chutes, ladders, and checkered blocks lay out strange circuitous passages with unclear arrivals. Table games often hold a miniature mirror to the processes of life. Since ancient times people have invented board games and learned to inhabit their small worlds of rules to find loss, gain, and sudden twists of fate unfold before them. In his statement for the upcoming show Birnbaum asks, “What has your path in life looked like? How much control did you have despite your environment?” By opening the closed systems of found games to reconfiguration by chance the artist sets a tension between predetermined systems and outcomes with an existential edge. Brent Birnbaum received his MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City and a BFA Birnbaum created this original series of collages especially for Epsilon Spires to be responsive to the distinctive architecture of the exhibition space. Gallery is open by appointment. Further information on this exhibition and other programming can be found on our website at www.epsilonspires.org.
ARTIST CHRISTIN RIPLEY EXHIBITS HAND-PAINTED TEXTILE ART AT EPSILON SPIRES Interactive Soft Sculptures and Lounges Bend the Divide Between Fine and Applied Art
Hudson Valley based artist Christin Ripley brings REST, her signature series of cloth interactive sculptures and hand-marbled pillows to Epsilon Spires this spring. While the swirling marbled surfaces of the pieces in REST recall stone, the soft-filled fabric forms defy their pattern’s namesake with cuddly pliability. The helix, rod, and arc shapes of the individual pillows are aesthetically striking, but also beckon the extra-visual senses as their curves invite touch. These objects were designed to be moved, leaned into, laid across, and held. Ripley describes the pieces in REST as “comfort objects”, and indeed their body supporting contours are intuitively recognizable ensuring it does not take long to find a seat or cuddle in their embrace. In contrast to much contemporary design, Christin Ripley’s studio practice employs traditional craft techniques like relief printing, wood-working, and sewing. The artist states that she works to “create functional objects with the soul of artworks, and artworks with the craftsmanship and to “create functional objects with the soul of artworks, and artworks with the craftsmanship and fabrication precision of functional design objects.” The REST series proves that dedication as she joins the centuries old artistry of Turkish Ebru marbling with thoughtful design savvy. Ripley is passionate about the philosophy of design, and cites the Bauhaus with its ethos of beautifying the objects we interact with daily as a major inspiration. With REST she challenges the norms of mass-industrial production even further by suggesting that the things we live with be artful, but more importantly also encouraging of our well-being just as these pillows welcome us to revive through rest. The individual pieces in REST are named for the components of classical Greek architecture like plinth, roda, and pediment as if a building were broken into its parts. The designer suggests that the objects be piled and combined to create forts and group configurations that restore the whole. Ripley’s series will be exhibited alongside artist Brent Birnbaum’s mixed media assemblages of deconstructed board games. The shapes of Ripley’s pillows echo the pathways and arrival points of the games in Binrbaum’s work, and as gallery goers sit on the pillows to reflect on the collages they will be encompassed in an environment of playful combination and color. Gallery is open by appointment.
Further information on this exhibition and other programming can be found on our website at www.epsilonspires.org.
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