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Joseph Smolinski, Clare Grill, Kathleen O'Hara, Julie Graham, Jeff Konigsberg
March 2-31, 2007
". . .A Folly is a state of mind not an architectural style."
Joseph Smolinski's antennae/tree hybrids (Drive-Thru, right) are characters in a contemporary morality tale that describes the consequences of adapting nature to technology. Like the cell towers disguised as trees we see along the highway, these mutant techno-trees don't belong in either the natural or technological world. The skillful, realistic style of Smolinski's pencil drawings bring to mind benign architectural renderings and encourage an unwise level of comfort with his creepy, sci-fi constructions.
In choosing tents for her subject matter, Clare Grill taps into a deep vein of metaphor and history. Presented as individual images isolated from their wilderness environment, they still evoke associations ranging from primal shelter to dysfunctional family vacations. Grill does, in fact, seek to capture the fleeting essence of memory, "to protect and entrap in pictorial space all we wish would remain." In the process she creates quirky structures that transcend their tent identities.
Kathleen O'Hara's architectural landscapes exist in the shallow space of a movie set. Scavenging images from advertisements for luxury goods, collectibles and catalogues, O'Hara chooses objects and structures that radiate a sense of security, importance, or comfort, and then arranges them within romanticized landscapes. Shadowy and colorless, her netherworld images float under iridescent or glittery glazes, emphasizing the fantasy aspects of what is often accepted as reality.
Julie Graham is interested in the relationship between societies and the environments in which they function. Her small works on paper reduce a variety of man-made structures to their component architectural elements, arranging and rearranging the parts to investigate how they work in combination. Colorful painted rectangles perched on pencil lines could be huts in a third world village or modernist modules. The specifics seem to be of little interest to Graham who focuses on the way a dwelling/construction manages to answer the basic human need for shelter and community.
When Jeff Konigsberg was offered a studio space on the 92nd floor of the World Trade Center he chose an interior, windowless cubicle, rather than an expansive view of Brooklyn, preferring to focus on architectural space and the memory of being in that space. Whether executed on a large (room-sized installations) or small scale (table sized works on paper), Konigsberg's meticulously rendered, layered drawings investigate the overlapping realms of architecture and landscape, inside and outside, memory and ideas.