Mitra Fabian, Debra Greene, Robert Strati, Casey Reas
Christine Duval (curator)
ARENA 1 Gallery is pleased to present Infinity+1, part 1, which will open on January 12 and run through February 9, 2013. Mitra Fabian, Debra Greene, Robert Strati and Casey Reas create works that flirt with the idea that infinity can be made tangible. Using tools of science like computer software or invented rules that are based on science but are in fact fake, these artists employ similar processes of repeated patterns to investigate infinite outcomes. Curator Christine Duval envisions this as the first of a series that will explore various aspects of infinity.
Mitra Fabian works with atypical materials like glass vials, plastic films, tape of all sorts, various office and scientific products. As she builds with these materials she deconstructs and alters them in such a way that they are not immediately recognizable. This “reconstruction” is determined by what the material is capable of doing, not meant to do. Armed with a compulsion to repeat a motion, Fabian subjects the medium to folding, curling or creasing. The new physical form is always more organic, often referencing topography, crystalline structures or biological growth. “Into the Deep” is over one mile of black tape that Fabian painstakingly folded like a fan and then let sprawl onto the floor like a giant spill of crude oil. As abstract as her work seems at first, it serves as a commentary on the increasingly modified condition of humans and their environment, blurring the lines between organic and manufactured, and more often between beautiful and disturbing. She has been exhibiting nationally and internationally since 1997 and her work has been featured at the Museum of Contemporary Craft, the Laguna Art Museum, and the Armory Center for the Arts. She currently teaches sculpture at Sacramento State, Sacramento.
From the beginning of her career, Debra Greene has been interested in subverting materials and their relevance. In all her work, she approaches each piece with the same rule but proceeds by slightly altering a component in an investigation of how a repetitive process is subverted to allow for different outcomes. All the works bear a similar DNA, but as in nature, mutations occur over time. Her paintings begin with the simplest representation – a mark out of a tube. Then using a ruler and graph paper to build relationships, she charts and systematizes, later discarding the notations, isolating the results. Her “pin” drawings are a precise and controlled accumulation of pinholes; in a series each drawing represents the same object, however each one is visually different depending on the number of pin holes. In an ongoing series she drinks her cup of coffee each morning and makes a drawing with the residue. From the same everyday brew she has produced a thousand unique drawings to date. She has also returned to crocheting, a form she mastered earlier. With the same frame of mind, she chooses a stitch, a color, and then allows her hands to work intuitively. The repetition of the stitch is in sync with the experimentation she fervently explores in all her work, but each outcome is an unique object. She presents each as a specimen in a framed box where they become trophies or jewels once she is satisfied that these objects can live on their own. Greene received her MFA from the California College of Art and Craft in 1997 and has shown nationally. She works and lives in San Francisco.
Los Angeles artist Casey Reas has been writing generative software for artistic purposes since he graduated from MIT in 2001. Generative software aims at modeling and implementing system families so that a desired system can be automatically generated from a specification written in one or more textual or graphical domain-specific languages. Reas’ approach to writing computer code is similar to Sol LeWitt’s authorship of instructions for wall drawings, but in Reas’ case, there is no human hand creating the work. He has written the procedures but some(thing) in this case not some(one) else is creating the results. In “Process 14 (Software 3)” the software is run live on a computer in a highly ordered series of movements that aesthetically are akin to abstract expressionism. The works’ seemingly random patterns are in fact created according to a set of mathematical rules which Reas purposely breaks and that is when the “art” happens, when forms and color are free and perpetual elusive moments can flow onto the wall. His prints, often presented as a diptych, represent a moment frozen in time which the software will never be able to reproduce as it lives into infinity.
Motivated by interests in the interactions of art, architectural theory, music and science, Robert Strati draws upon musical notations, engineering schematics, architectural plans, alphabets, nodal networks and maps for inspiration. His archival inkjet prints and sculptures in wire, balloons and packing tape are formalist explorations of two and three-dimensional space that seek to expose subtle, sometimes unseen aspects of our lived experience. At first glance, Strati’s elegant drawings resemble schematics for gadgets or spaceships, but on closer inspection, they are playful contemplations of geometry. Circles, arcs, ellipses, and parallel lines inked in blue are intricately arranged. “Composition of the Infinite” is an amalgam of schematics neatly ordered like a sheet of musical notes. The print presented in the form of the scroll emphasizes the never ending possibilities in recording a non-scientific vocabulary. Strati creates his own visual vocabulary and shows us that one can build pleasing visual stimulation out of false scientific pretense. Strati works and lives in New York. His work is currently showing at Robert Henry Contemporary in Brooklyn. His work has been exhibited in San Francisco, Miami, and Los Angeles since the early 90’s.
ARENA 1 is an exhibition space founded by Santa Monica Art Studios directors Yossi Govrin and Sherry Frumkin. Based in an historic hangar at the Santa Monica Airport, ARENA 1 invites internationally known as well as newly established curators to develop innovative and compelling exhibitions.