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VISITOR CENTER proudly announces Provenance, an exhibition opening April 15, 2023, that will feature works by Sophia De Jesus-Sabella, Soull Ogun, Patricia Orpilla, Sagarika Sundaram, and Mia Wright-Ross. Provenance will present contemporary artists who engage craft materials and traditions to consider intertwining notions of materiality, lineage, and identity.
ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
The ownership history of an art object, or provenance, is often recorded by cultural institutions in an effort to qualify an object’s authenticity or value. This practice frequently treats an object as its own entity from its completion to the present, separate from its creator, as it travels between places and amongst collectors. Recontextualizing the idea of provenance, this exhibition will encourage a broader application that centers and celebrates the layered histories and influences inherent to an object by re-engaging the agency of both the artist and the viewer.
The contemporary artists represented employ traditions, materials, and techniques associated with craft. This commonality is not coincidental, as craft media – including the weaving, metalsmithing, felting, and leather artisanship on view – are intrinsically rich with memory.
To observe any artwork is to activate it with one’s own interpretation; with craft media, the artwork is distinctly loaded with tactile connotations, historical applications, generational techniques, and material associations. Provenance thus presents works that are bolstered by their pasts, the identities of their creators, and the associations unearthed in the viewer.
Sophia De Jesus-Sabella is an artist, weaver, and educator based in Hartford, Connecticut. Influenced by her blue-collar upbringing, her woven and sculptural works interrogate class, gender, queerness, and utility by combining traditional handweaving with found construction materials. She graduated with Departmental Honors in Fibers from Massachusetts College of Art and Design and has been an Artist in Residence at ACRE, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts and Hartford Artisans Weaving Center. She has shown with Distillery Gallery, MassArt Art Museum, Hudson Valley MOCA and Atlantic Gallery.
Soull Ogun explores the relationship between ancient metal fabrication techniques, contemporary philosophy, solar technology, and the reimagining of Afro-Futurism in her jewelry and sculptural practices, utilizing metalsmithing techniques that encompass and encourage a rich history of blending regality with science. Ogun is co-founder and head designer of L’Enchanteur, a jewelry, clothing, and lifestyle incubator that seeks to redefine the meaning of an heirloom.
Ogun has created bespoke jewelry for artists including Ms. Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, and Beyoncé in the film Black is King. She was formerly the lead jewelry designer for 3.1 Philip Lim and earned her BA from Morgan State University.
Patricia Orpilla uses an interdisciplinary process to create paintings, prints, and textiles. Her recent work is interested in the relationship of text to textiles. Her prints use indexical relationships between woven texture and bit mapping to draw relationships between systems that are materially or metaphorically interdependent. She is interested in the potential of material metaphors to engage questions around authorship, industry, and ideology. She references various archives for fingerprints of these narratives -- weaving patterns, religious texts, or ethnographer’s notes become her source material. She received her MFA from Yale School of Art in painting and printmaking. She has been an artist resident at the Museum of Arts and Design and a fellow at the Beinecke Library where she researched ephemera such as maps and religious texts around 19th-century U.S.-Philippines relations. She has recently shown her work at Jeffrey Deitch, Kiosk Gallery, Front/Space, Beggar's Table, Vulpes Bastille, and H&R Block Artspace. She lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
Using ancient felt-making, dyeing and textile techniques found in India and around the world, Sagarika Sundaram creates abstract wool compositions that draw from nomadic architecture, history, philosophy and folk art. The artist explains, “In Hindi, there’s this idea of ‘roti, kapda, makan,’ food, clothing and shelter – three basic needs in life. I relate these to the fields of agriculture, textiles and architecture; building blocks of every civilization.” Some works are meant to be activated by the human body, on occasion by walking through them. The work references classical Tamil poetry, a literary tradition that evokes inner psychological landscapes through erotic descriptions of nature. Sundaram describes how, “Through an intricately patterned, shredded surface that expresses chaos and control, the work employs an abstract language that reinterprets textile as mutant, botanical, and psychedelic.”
Mia Wright-Ross is a leather artisan, designer, educator, and entrepreneur. She is the Creative Director and Founder of MWR Collection, and is currently a faculty member at Parsons School of Design. Previously, Wright-Ross was Footwear and Accessories Designer for brands including Tibi, 3.1 Phillip Lim, and Calvin Klein. She received a BFA in Fashion Design from Parsons The New School of Design, and has trained at the Ecco Tannery Holland and Arsutoria Institute in Milan.
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