Christina Shmigel: This City, Daily Rising
January 21 – February 26, 2011
Opening Reception Friday, January 21, from 6 to 9 pm
Front Room: Shawn Burkard
Media Room: Eleanor Dubinsky
Public Hours Wednesday through Saturday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm,
Christina Shmigel’s first solo US exhibition since 2005 is composed of three interrelated installations. Continually shifting between macro- and microcosmic views, the installations are emblematic of Shmigel’s play with scale and size, intimacy and monumentality, and create for the viewer something of the vibrancy & intensity of Shanghai (China), the city where she now lives and works. There is much in this exhibition that springs from the local knowledge of Shanghai but also much that speaks to more universal themes. How do we decipher and interpret experience, making meaning amidst that which is foreign to us? How do we come to know the world thru association and memory and projection? And, most importantly, the question that has always been central to Shmigel’s work, how do the inanimate things that we build and that we surround ourselves with, reveal the nature of our humanity?
In the tradition of European “wunderkammers” and Ming and Qing Dynasty curio boxes, the installations Foreigner’s Cabinet of Chinese Curiosities is an idiosyncratic attempt to catalogue and preserve a culture through its material possessions. The View In Fragments, a gathering of seemly abandoned glass vitrines, some empty, some containing expanded versions of the architectural structures found in the cabinet’s drawers, continues Shmigel’s archiving impulse. Shmigel preserves the architecture that the city’s dwellers actively overlook. Dystopic white tiled buildings, blue pre-fab migrant worker housing, teetering rooftop pigeon coops: the vitrines present what is most uncelebrated is as though precious. City in Which I Love You echoes the materials and references of the cabinet and the vitrines but looks with a bird’s eye view on the city, mimicking its ubiquitous building scaffolding, the pulsating color of its neon, its manic growth & temporality. In Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, Kublai Khan suggests to Marco Polo that perhaps we take pleasure in a city not because of the question it answers, but because of the question it asks of us, “forcing us to answer”.
In the Front Room, the gallery presents an installation/sculpture titled “ORANGES/MEGALITHIC” by Shawn Burkard. The sculpture is composed of 300 vinyl orange blocks representing a youth generated subculture, while Ancient Egyptian pyramids inspire the installation’s structure. The individual “Orange” block contour is derived from Shawn Burkard’s two-dimensional designs of “Letterless Alphabet” series along with works from the “Over and Over” exhibition. The compilation of past and present develop puzzling yet simple lines that create depth and volume in the work.
In the Media Room, the gallery presents Touch the Sky, a new video work by Eleanor Dubinsky. She says: Touch the Sky is the visual expression of what happens to me physically, spiritually and emotionally as I release elements, relationships and ideas from my consciousness that no longer serve my best interest.