YET, UNKNOWN is an exhibition that promotes an egalitarian view of knowledge: inclusive of all experiences and accepting that knowledge exists in both reality and the imaginary. Featuring six artists from Charlotte Street Foundation’s 2016-2017 Studio Residency, Shelby Burchett (Goo-Witch), Zoe Chressanthis (Merso Monsoon Productions), Kimberly LaVonne, Noël Morical, S.E. Nash, and Mark Alister Raymer, the exhibition highlights artistic practices driven by curiosity, play, and discovery.
There is a misconception that knowledge prescribes to a rigid definition of provable facts and figures, but if we turn to both the sciences and the humanities, we know that knowledge is dependent on understanding the unknown. As researchers, translators, and instigators, the artists in this exhibition prioritize process and experimentation in search of new methods, ideas, and questions, but most importantly a new understanding of the world around us.
Shelby Burchett (Goo-Witch), Zoe Chressanthis, and Mark Alister Raymer construct escapist worlds and spaces that encourage searching and exploration—physically, psychologically, and emotionally. For example, Chressanthis will present dream-like environment of a swamp world from within her fictitious universe made from clay. Influenced by the scenes from the artist’s stop-motion videos, the jewel-toned diorama will exist in a cave on top of a free-standing cliff-like sculpture inviting viewers to peer into and envision themselves in this imaginary scape.
Kimberly LaVonne, Noël Morical, and S.E. Nash investigate the world around them—from the domestic to the body, to the microbial—dissecting one’s relationship to “the self” through historical, scientific, and personal lenses. S.E. Nash will present works that magnify the presence and importance of microbes in our daily lives. Nash’s focus on starting SCOBYs (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast) for things such as kombucha and sourdough not only translates into their object making, but is part of the work itself. They make paintings and sculptures that house starters by the artist and people from the SCOBY starter community as well as teach gallery goes how to make their own.
The commitment to process-oriented research and labor-intensive object-making is fundamental to these artists, who are concerned with concepts of sustainability, self-reliance, myth, ritual, routine, and environment. Each communicates knowledge(s) through material experimentation, immersive installation, and site-specificity that reinforces the importance of our collective lived experiences and narratives. Together, the artists in YET, UNKNOWN deconstruct hierarchical knowledge and instead build a definition that includes the pragmatic, the psychological, and the mystical.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS…
Shelby Burchett (Goo-Witch) orchestrates ritualistic spaces for material inquiry and exploration, where science, magic, and individual spirituality meet. Burchett’s persona, Goo-Witch, inspires the stories behind the objects and installations she creates, each telling one fragment of this empowered feminine figure’s narrative. Goo-Wtich experiments with the way materials react to each other, and through performance, how people react to those materials through ritual. She encourages participation and engagement with her work, often times working with tactile materials that prompt curiosity. For YET, UNKNOWN, Burchett is presenting an immersive sculpture where viewers will enter, touch, and be in touch with themselves inside a tube structure filled with fibers, textiles and other tactile materials.
Burchett’s work was recently exhibited at Plug Projects this spring and her immersive installation DON’T WAIT, GET LOST was presented by Art in the Loop this summer at Union Station. She graduated with an MFA in Textiles from the University of Kansas and received a BFA in Fiber from the Kansas City Art Institute.
Zoe Chressanthis (Merso Monsoon Productions) builds imaginary landscapes that evoke mysticism and playfulness, inviting viewers to escape into the artist’s familiar yet, unknown world. These dream-like scenarios depict natural, albeit exaggerated, forms that are influenced by the desert and the aquatic, and produced in plasticine clay. Chressanthis’ work, previously presented as video animation, utilizes repetition as well as meditative visual and sonic elements to capture and sustain the viewer’s attention, inviting them to interpret, envision, and free associate. The artist’s multisensory approach—from her jewel-toned color palette to her ambient soundscapes—strengthens the psychological potential of her work. For this exhibition, Chressanthis is unveiling a swamp-like diorama from within her fictitious universe as a large sculpture rather than an animation, immersing the viewer physically, emotionally, and intellectually.
Chressanthis has a BFA in Illustration from the Kansas City Art Institute and has participated in exhibitions at H&R Block Artspace and Paragraph Gallery in Kansas City.
Kimberly LaVonne sculpts and molds bodily forms in ceramic, investigating the body’s mysterious potential as both vessel and object. Inspired by anatomical research and drawing, LaVonne’s objects oscillate between specimen and relic as they take recognizable yet, unknown shapes that reference the body and suggest occult wonders and mythologies. The artist takes influence from religious and occult iconography, particularly focusing on saints, whose faith would supposedly physically manifest inside their bodies only to be found during their embalming. LaVonne is showcasing a new body of work for YET, UNKNOWN, where she considers the female figure through illustration and mark making on ceramic objects. LaVonne fuses her sensibility to create organic, corporeal forms with her attraction to figure drawing by experimenting with slips and glazes to expand the drawn line on ceramic.
LaVonne received an MFA in Ceramics from Indiana University’s Henry Radford Hope School of Fine Arts and a BFA in Painting and Ceramics from the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg. She attended the International Ceramics Studio in Kecskemét, Hungary, and her work has been exhibited at the Kansas City Artists Coalition, Clay Studio in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Museu de Ceràmica de l’Alcora in Castelló, Spain, the University of Winchester in Hampshire, England, and the Kápolna Galéria in Kecskemét, Hungary.
Noël Morical recontextualizes familiar materials and situates them in relation to an imagined domestic space, and through her uniquely considered installation sensibilities, she asserts the importance and hermetical power of craft and adornment. Morical obsessively focuses on exploring the versatility of one material at a time—most recently macrameing industrial paracord—pushing the material to its limits and exhausting its possibilities. This repetitive, obsessive, and sometimes punishing process is the crux of the artist’s practice, which prioritizes craft as a feminist modus operandi. Her curiosity in material and playfulness with vibrant colors paired with her meticulous commitment to craft large scale sculpture by hand establish a meditative and welcoming alternative space for viewers to engage contemplatively. For YET, UNKNOWN, Morical is testing out new materials and new relationships between objects to present a body of sculptural works that blur the line between seemingly hard and fragile materials. Like in previous works, Morical complicates and disorients the purpose of each object, urging viewers to propose new meanings to these familiar figures.
Morical received her BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has presented solo exhibitions at 57W57 Arts, New York, Andrew Rafacz Gallery, Chicago, and Fiberspace Gallery, Stockholm. Her work has been included in two-person and group exhibitions at Weinburg-Newton Gallery (Chicago), 99¢ Plus Gallery (Brooklyn), Athen B. Gallery (Oakland), Chicago Artist Coalition, Slow (Chicago), and LVL3 (Chicago).
S.E. Nash cultivates work that magnifies the presence and importance of microbes in our daily lives and asks viewers to consider the categorical systems that surround us. As a food fermentation experimentalist, their work focuses on starting SCOBYs (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast) for things such as kombucha and sourdough, for example. Nash creates sculptures, paintings, and objects that emphasize the practical and metaphorical potential of bacteria by making them (bacteria) a part of the work itself. The artist’s sculptures often house starters or bugs by the artist and people from the SCOBY starter community. Nash’s newest sculpture house starter bugs with turmeric as well as a turmeric plant, which will be used to make turmeric soda that viewers can eventually taste.
Nash, born in Memphis, Tennessee, received an MFA in Painting from Yale University and a BFA in Painting from the University of Tennessee. Their most recent solo exhibition Lactobacillus Amongus was presented at Plug Projects in Kansas City, and they are a 2017 Rocket Grants award recipient, funded by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.
Mark Alister Raymer pieces together narratives and characters inspired by science fiction and survivalism that center the environment in a post-society landscape. Within the internal logic of Raymer’s story, his post-human protagonists—hairy, naked, intersex, and rambunctious—disassemble and repurpose familiar objects such as satellites, scooters, and beer cans, proposing a new kind of living that contrasts present-day humans. Each work is a new scene. The artist produces large wall hangings and soft sculptures made from burlap, scraps of patterned fabric, and illustrated printed figures. The textiles’ rudimentary stitchwork paired with the precision of his printmaking and compositional abilities present an important tension in Raymer’s work that evokes a sense of the past and future simultaneously. Objects of technology are defunct in the artist’s world, and mountains and trees stand tall despite humans.
Raymer, New Zealand born and Texan raised, received an MFA from the University of Kansas and a BFA in Printmaking from the University of North Texas. He is an adjunct faculty at Emporia State University.
THURSDAY, JULY 27, 2017, 7:00 – 8:00 pm
TALK, UNKNOWN | Stop by the opening reception and learn about the artists and the ideas in the exhibition YET, UNKNOWN in an informal presentation and talk with curator Lynnette Miranda and artists Shelby Burchett, Zoe Chressanthis, S.E. Nash, and more.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 12, 2017, 12:00 – 3:00 pm
Microbes and You: A Tasting and Discussion | Join artist S.E. Nash for a demonstration on beverage starter bugs with turmeric and tasting of turmeric soda. As we sip, participate in a discussion around the concepts of Nash’s work: our symbiotic relationship with microbes and the categorical systems that surround us.
Magic, Myth, and Sigil Drawing | Create your own mythology through mark making. Learn to draw sigils (magical inscriptions or symbols) with artist Shelby Burchett (Goo-Witch) and get to know about the role of magic and ritual in her work.