Art Criticism and Writing | MFA Program

Monday September 30th, 2013
Filed under Fall 2013, News, News, Events and Alumni

Faculty Member Susan Bee in group show at Ortega y Gasset Projects

Ortega y Gasset Projects Presents:


Susan Bee, Brian Scott Campbell, Lucy Kim, Pat McElnea, and Emily Janowick
Organized by Karla Wozniak
September 28, 2013 – October 26, 2013

The absolute yearning of one human body for another particular body and its indifference to substitutes is one of life’s major mysteries.Iris Murdoch

Ortega y Gasset Projects is pleased to present The Sacred and Profane Love Machine, an exhibition organized by Karla Wozniak comprising artworks by Susan Bee, Lucy Kim, Brian Scott Campbell, Pat McElnea, and Emily Janowick. The exhibition is inspired by the Iris Murdoch novel of the same name—a psychologically rich tale of characters caught in a complex web of emotional and sexual experiences. Similarly, the artworks in this exhibition negotiate intimate, charged situations. The pieces tell stories of love, heartache, and orgiastic ecstasy.

Susan Bee’s paintings of couples, based on film-noir stills, are tinged with emotion and melodrama. Her simplified figures, rendered with saturated color and exuberant patterns, are engaged in interactions nearing emotional climax. The figures in Brian Scott Campbell’s detailed pencil drawings of Grecian urns and ancient statuary have come to life. These classical nude motifs are animated into a cartoonish bacchanal of humor and sexual whimsy. Lucy Kim casts the faces of real couples, including her husband and herself, to make her 3D portraits. Distorted through the mold-making and casting process, then painted with cryptic images associated with sexiness, these surreal objects seem descended from Egyptian burial masks. Patrick McElnea’s frenetic paintings investigate skin—both human skin and the physical skin of oil paint. The evocative surfaces and tangle of body parts in these paintings suggest we are witnessing sexual intimacy in progress. Emily Janowick’s small assemblage sculptures show a fluency in formal relationships of color and material surface. Yet what at first seem like simply playful objects on second glance become improvised sexual paraphernalia.

As a group, the works brought together in this show deliver a potent cocktail of emotion and sexuality. One can think of art as a love triangle—a three-way relationship between artist, art object, and viewer. Each corner of the triangle is strong willed, yet precarious. The artworks in this show revel in this confusing terrain, which exists between cerebral, emotional, and physical experience.

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