Immediate Medium: Joana Cera, Marsha Cottrell, Edith DeChiara, Jean Shin: Group exhibition

Group exhibition curated by Lisa Hatchadoorian

 

Immediate Medium presents four contemporary artists whose abstract work in the realm of drawing utilizes non-traditional materials to expand the definition of the genre while also becoming a primary mode of expression for the artists. Joana Cera, Marsha Cottrell, Edith DeChiara, and Jean Shin begin with a legacy of drawing that has expanded tremendously to include a level of intellectual rigor that can coexist with an emotional intensity as well as an extended range of materials to draw from. Historically, drawing has most often been cast in a supporting role to the more declarative and expansive realms of artistic practice, such as painting and sculpture. It has also acquired the reputation of being a more confessional, intimate, emotional and spontaneous medium. On the other hand, drawing has also carried with it the more rational weight of intellectual vigor and thought, as it was considered to be the first place that artists set down their amorphous ideas into a concrete, realized form. Whether a drawing is created by specific markings unique to a computer, strands of hair, gathered wisps of thread or light itself, each artist takes these mundane, sometimes discarded and impersonal materials to fashion a unique set of drawings that inevitably become highly personal and intimate.


Joana Cera creates drawings with light that incorporate elements of chance and randomness into the finished, fluid lines. In the abstract, her technique mirrors the time-honored method of drawing with direct access from hand to paper but instead she further creates a distance between herself and surface by exploiting the less controllable and long range properties of light. Not knowing the final outcome and not having any sight to guide her, strips the drawing of any preconceived impulses.


Marsha Cottrell creates densely layered and spatially complex drawings using the language and symbols of the computer. Though these abstract lines and forms are part of a standardized computer language, they are as personal to the artist as something that would come from her hand. Her drawings are more akin to imagined futuristic landscapes as they are thick with layers of swirling patterns that tend to rotate due to unseen internal forces. Space becomes a primary concern as her hermetic drawings veer close to an all-over patterning but contain an endless depth within them as well. She becomes an archaeologist of sorts, excavating and presenting a whole new visual world and vocabulary through drawing.


The sparse, landscape-oriented abstract drawings of Edith DeChiara employ the most ubiquitous material imaginable, that of common everyday thread. The artist obsessively collects and gathers little scraps and shreds of thread to create her small-scale intimate works. Many of the forms are derived from nature such as solid, circular rock-like shapes and thick vertical structures that resemble tree trunks. Her drawings juggle between these slight references to the natural world and the pure non-derivative lines of abstraction. The malleable medium of thread adds a level of intimacy and warmth that might otherwise be lost.


Jean Shin has based her entire artistic endeavor on the precepts of gathering and scrounging scraps for her installations and drawings. She tends to focus on cast-offs, such as cut fabric from pants legs, leftover socks from the laundromat, worn soles of shoes, and hair that has fallen from her head. In a labor-intensive process, she then reformulates these scraps by altering, cutting, braiding or tying them in some way. This constant working over of these mass materials is her attempt to infuse them with some sort of individuality and emotion. In her Hair Drawings, she carefully arranges her own hair to form an abstract drawing that resonates as an object but also as a talisman or keepsake. Her lines are abstract enough not to refer to anything specific, but also transmit a direct piece of the artist to the viewer.