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"Material Properties"

Posted on August 29 2019

Material Properties
Curated by Christopher Jobson, Founder of Colossal

Vanessa Barragão

Vanessa Barragão, Coralium, 2019, Recycled wool and cotton, approx. 39.5” x 35.5”

Exhibition Dates: September 27 - October 19, 2019
Opening Reception: September 27, 2019 • 5:30-10:00pm

Paradigm Gallery + Studio is pleased to present Material Properties, a group exhibition curated by Christopher Jobson, founder and editor-in-chief of Colossal, opening on September 27, 2019 and remaining on view through October 19, 2019. Material Properties brings six exciting artists to Paradigm for the very first time featuring artwork by Maryam Ashkanian, Vanessa Barragão, James McNabb, Kendal Murray, Matthew Shlian, and Yoonmi Nam. The exhibition is specifically timed to coincide with the American Craft Council’s 2019 conference, Present Tense. Material Properties will have a public opening reception on September 27th from 5:30 - 10:00pm.

As part of her ongoing Sleep Series, Iranian artist Maryam Ashkanian embroiders individuals deep in sleep onto the surface of handmade pillows as a way to access the subject matter of dreams, a place where she feels we can observe ourselves in one of the purest forms. Portuguese Vanessa Barragão utilizes recycled industrial wool and cotton known as ‘deadstock’ to crochet stunning tapestries of bleached coral reefs, highlighting the harmful impact of the textile industry itself on the natural world. Philadelphia artist James McNabb explores concepts around the transformation and over-development of urban landscapes with his meticulously assembled wooden sculptures, a process he calls “sketching with a bandsaw”. Sydney-based artist Kendal Murray has us examine her delightful miniature worlds atop repurposed makeup compacts and small purses, touching on themes of dreaming and daydreaming, memory and collecting. Michigan artist Matthew Shlian works at the forefront of paper and technology, constructing bewildering geometric works that challenge the possibilities of the medium. Lastly, Kansas-based Yoonmi Nam questions the very nature of single-use containers and plastic waste by constructing near identical replicas with glass, porcelain, and Gampi paper hand-printed with lithography.

Exploring the relationship between art and craft could fill the pages of a book. What makes a porcelain vase a 'craft object' and painting an 'artistic masterpiece'? Before the 15th century hardly a distinction was made between an artisan who produced fine rugs or a renowned painting guild that produced extraordinary murals priced by the square foot. One of the byproducts of the Renaissance was an emergent focus on individual accomplishment—Renaissance Humanism—where painters, sculptors, and architects were elevated to rock-star status. The works of artisans who produced ceramics, textiles, and glass with skills passed down through centuries were suddenly relegated to a lesser tier of "decorative" or "functional" arts.

However, the lines between art and craft have again blurred. As major museums and art galleries find themselves more comfortable exhibiting traditional craft objects alongside artistic masterworks, so too have craft processes and materials found their way into fine art. Collected in Material Properties are six artists working in media like paper, glass, embroidery, crochet, woodworking, and miniature, who have evolved these techniques well beyond teachable skills. These artists present not only an extraordinary level of craftsmanship, but also push the boundaries of technology while asking questions about the waste of mass produced objects or the fragility of the natural world around us.

Friday, September 27, 2019 • 5:30 – 10:00pm

Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays • 12:00pm – 6:00pm
And 7 days a week by appointment: / (267)266-0073

Paradigm Gallery + Studio / 746 S. 4th Street, 1st Floor / Philadelphia, PA 19147

Instagram: @ParadigmGS
Twitter: @ParadigmGS
Maryam Ashkanian
About Maryam Ashkanian
Maryam Ashkanian is an Iranian fiber artist with a background in painting and graphic design. She is known for her ongoing Sleep Series where she embroiders life-size portraits of sleeping figures onto pillows. Ashkanian has shown her work internationally and this will be the first time exhibiting in the United States.

About Vanessa Barragão
About Vanessa Barragão
Vanessa Barragão is a Portuguese textile artist focusing on the artisanal techniques and wasted yarns from the industry to create textiles. Growing up by the seaside, her connection to the ocean is the inspiration for her artworks. Vanessa’s work is characterized by her captivating environments of coral reefs, cleverly combining craft and recycled materials into unique sculptural carpets and tapestries for floors and walls.

About James McNabb
About James McNabb
James McNabb is an American artist based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, best known for his highly-detailed wood objects. He received a bachelor's degree in 2008 from Rochester Institute of Technology where he learned the fundamentals of woodworking and furniture design. He went on to receive a Masters degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2012, where he developed his signature body of work called The City Series. For the past seven years, McNabb has showcased his work in major contemporary art exhibitions and fairs in Miami, Switzerland, Paris, New York, and Los Angeles, as well as private collections around the world.

Kendal Murray
About Kendal Murray
Kendal Murray lives and works in Sydney, Australia. A professional artist with an MA(Hons) in Visual Art, Murray has exhibited her artwork regularly in international and national group exhibitions, and solo exhibitions since 1995. She has been the recipient of several awards including the Deakin University Small Sculpture Prize and the Beowulf Award in the Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize. Her work is represented in public and private collections in Australia, and international private collections.

Matthew Shlian
About Matthew Shlian
As a paper engineer, Mathhew Shlian’s work is rooted in print media, book arts and commercial design. Beginning with an initial fold, a single action causes a transfer of energy to subsequent folds, which ultimately manifest in drawing and three dimensional forms. He uses many engineering skills to create kinetic sculptures, some of which have led to collaborations with scientists at the University of Michigan. Guided by wonder, his work is made because he cannot visualize its final realization; in this way he comes to understanding through curiosity.

Yoonmi Nam
About Yoonmi Nam
Yoonmi Nam’s work considers cross-cultural experience and sense of transience through observations of everyday objects and occurrences. In her prints, drawings, sculptural works, and installations, she uses familiar disposable objects and cut flower arrangements as subject matter and explores their materiality, ephemerality, persistence, and the common and extraordinary way we structure our surroundings. Born and raised in Seoul, South Korea, Yoonmi received a B.F.A. degree in Printmaking from Hong-Ik University in Seoul, Korea. She moved to the U.S. to study at the Rhode Island School of Design, where she received an M.F.A. degree in Painting/Printmaking in 2000. Currently, she teaches at the University of Kansas, where she has been a faculty member since 2001.

Christopher Jobson, Colossal
About the curator, Christopher Jobson
Deeply fascinated by contemporary art and visual culture, Christopher launched Colossal as a personal blog in the fall of 2010 to catalogue the work of both established and emerging artists across a wide-range of artistic disciplines. The site attracted millions of monthly readers seemingly overnight, and within two years he was able to quit his day job to publish full-time and also opened a fun design shop. Colossal is the recipient of the Utne Media Award for arts coverage, a Webby Award nomination, and has received accolades from the National Endowment for the Arts and PBS Art21. Called the "Tate Modern of the Internet," Colossal now has multiple regular contributors and is committed to making art accessible to everyone, exploring street art, design, photography, illustration, and craft from all reaches of the globe. You can find him on Instagram and on his website.

Paradigm Gallery
About Paradigm
Paradigm Gallery + Studio® exhibits contemporary artwork from around the world with a focus on Philadelphia-based artists. Established February 2010, the gallery began as a project between co-founders and curators, Jason Chen and Sara McCorriston, as a space in which to create artwork, to exhibit the work of their peers, and to invite the members of the community to create and collect in a welcoming gallery setting. To this day the gallery still aims to welcome all collectors, from first time to lifelong, and continues to support accessible work that welcomes a wide audience.

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