Stephanie Kantor and Noah Pollack
July 20 - August 24, 2018
- Opening Reception: Friday, July 20th from 6 - 9pm
It begins metabolically. Make a mark, stamp an impression on a page, press a thumb into clay. Repeat the motion until a line emerges, a shape begins to form. You keep at it. An imperfect machine, you still require rules to play. And so you make them for yourself. This shape; that palette; holes or no holes; words, or no words; to align with this material history or that. You’ve chosen your constraints and you search out their edges. Flaws are unavoidable, so you learn to account for variance. The line falters, the form leans, the mould collapses, and in that moment you consider your options – failure or a new direction. When following the latter, the line curves, the form changes and on you go exacting mistakes, layering them as scaffolding into something less than perfect and wholly personal. It is a game of your design after all. To win is to make your own trophies, trinkets and artifacts of experience. They are drawings. They are sculptures. They are reminders of the immense satisfaction in choosing your own struggle
82 S. Broadway
Denver, CO 80209
Wed-Sat: 12-6pm or by appointment
Stephanie Kantor's ceramic sculptures and installations converge personal and broader cultural histories. Combining family keepsakes and societal artifacts, her hybrid objects conjure an inversion as the domestic trinket is elevated to the realm of the austere artifact and the museum object gains relatable qualities at the human scale. Her latest series turns towards trophies and awards. These hand-built ceramic and bronze works veer away from the precision in form and distinction of the typical sporting commemorative in favor of the idiosyncratic object. Beginning with early historical trophy forms and specific awards presented to her father for his athletic accomplishments, Kantor transforms these particular objects into familiar yet ambiguous sculptures of achievement. In this light their shelved arrangements becomes a testament not to any individual's successes, but to the underlying human desire to preserve and display moments of personal significance.
Kantor received her MFA from University of Colorado Boulder (2015) and BFA from Penn State University (2009). Kantor was a Black Cube Nomadic Museum Fellow in 2016 and has completed prestigious residencies at Belger Crane Yard Studios, RedLine Contemporary Arts Center, and Bunker Projects. She has exhibited nationally at The Clay Studio (PA), Paragraph Gallery (MO), Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art (KS), Sala Diaz (TX), Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art (CO), and Bunker Projects (PA).
"Some viewers have found these drawings puzzling. I don’t consider there to be any single correct way to approach them. What you take away from them depends on what you put into them. If there is a puzzle in the drawings, it is the one I set out for myself when I made them. I told myself what the rules would be. However, sometimes the rules changed on me midstream."
The rules dictating Noah Pollack’s works on paper have been changing consistently for over two decades. His ordered yet intuitive stamped drawings show a mind hard at play, as if each iterative work were one level further in an ongoing visual brain teaser. Embedded within his attractive drawings simmers a wry insight into the thin line between meaning and nonsense. In one series Pollack uses the lettering of paired words as compositional elements dictating the construction of outlined shapes. Parinings like "Backbreaker/Freeloader" and "Strangers/Strangers" point to associations potentially significant or absurd. In another series the artist calls "Still Lifes", pattern, color and volume take precedence. Any word-play lives solely in the titles. Here two isolated green and orange squares resting in separate crevices within a larger mass of tiled shapes becomes “Peas and Carrots," another variant drawing with a yellow and a white square, “Cheese and Chalk" and another "Cherry, Lime and a Bloated Tick," Naming these colorful shapes with arbitrary yet plausible symbols, they become unavoidable images when viewing the work thereafter. Again Pollack pokes at the human tendency to assign content to the abstract or meaningless. Yet to describe these works simply in puzzling terms would be to miss their deeper aesthetic pleasures. Within the bounds of his self-made games, the artist creates immensely sophisticated compositions. The paper’s delicately invested surfaces covered in washes and layers of marks speak of a satisfying sense of repetitive touch and patterning. These sensitive renderings inevitably all push out against the bounds of the page, bringing our eyes with them to look at the gratifying limits of imposed parameters.