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Indepth Arts News:

"bits n pieces: Curated by Beth Venn"
2003-02-08 until 2003-03-30
d.u.m.b.o. arts center
Brooklyn, NY, USA United States of America

bits n pieces features the work of seven artists who consider the interdependence of small elements within a larger context. At the root of each work is a single unit that, when multiplied and manipulated through repetitive labor, illustrates the dictum: "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts." Like a growth that begins with a single cell, or an image based on a tiny pixel, the drawings, paintings, sculptures and installations in bits n pieces allow the smallest building block to stand as a discrete element at the same time as it is subsumed into the whole.

The components forming Jane Souths elaborate constructions are made from paper, and are hooked and hung together to create a meandering wonder of engineering. Each discrete but interdependent element joins with its shadow to generate a structure in which each piece contributes to the integrity of the whole. Similarly, Alyson Shotz hand-makes, stacks and interlocks individual sculptural forms to make a finished work. The small protrusions on each stick-like form hold the piece together and lend it an open, architectural quality. Through another obsessively painstaking process, Rachel Schuder reforms everyday brown paper bags into hundreds of tiny handmade reproductions. Thus the whole is divided into parts, each of which references its origin. The core of Tara Donovans drawings is a simple spiral. Clustering like growths out of control, these appear to replicate themselves spontaneously and endlessly. A repetitive, almost meditative process characterizes the methodology of Devorah Sperber, who joins together thousands of colored pipe cleaners into pixel-like components that form surprisingly naturalistic images. Working with the individual abstract elements that form a classic Chuck Close self-portrait, she tests just how little visual information is necessary for the viewer to complete the picture. Rather than fashion her works piecemeal by hand, Jean Shin collects mundane cast-offs, transforming them through her own repetitive actions into large installations that suggest a new context for otherwise unusable materials. Her aim is to create a new relationship of the parts to the whole. In Nightscape, remnants gathered from clothing manufacturers are methodically strewn across the floor to form a seamless rolling landscape. Valerie Atkisson considers each individual in relation to a family unit, using names, birth and death dates as the building blocks of her genealogically inspired watercolors and gouaches. In Radial Family History, generations are given physical form as she painstakingly lists and illustrates each name. In Hanging Family History, the bulk and breadth of each successive generation may be understood in three dimensions, as names written on paper triangles cascade down a physical family tree.

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. Sponsored by Harvey S. Shipley Miller, The Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, Agnes Gund and Daniel Shapiro, The Peter Norton Family Foundation, The Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc., David and Jane Walentas, The Independence Community Foundation, The Sam and Adele Golden Foundation for the Arts, Inc., and the JPMorgan Chase Regrant Program administered by Brooklyn Arts Council, Inc.

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