Blog

Lucy Puls: [just you]

Curated by Dena Beard

Opening reception:
Thursday, September 10, 6-9pm

September 10 - October 25 

For the past three decades, Lucy Puls has been turning unwanted objects and photos of abandoned domestic environs into insignias of the consumer world. Lucy Puls: [just you] encompasses over 40 objects from 1987-2015, with the past decade being a particular focus. During that time, she has refined her interest in found objects and collage and created several new bodies of work. These works, which range from smaller, diorama-like floor sculptures to complex wall pieces, incorporate photographs, stubbed out cigarettes, kitschy souvenirs, home stereo systems, pop culture cast-offs, and household products.


Although relatively obscure, Puls has created an immediately recognizable aesthetic that, alongside artists like Eva Hesse and Isa Genzken, challenges definitions of how female artists work. By impressing her own rigid self-imposed set of treatments and rules upon discarded objects and environments, Puls transforms how we perceive their value. Often this involves covert investigations, toxic substances, and aggressive treatment of materials usually associated with male sculptors. While flipping this cliché on its head, Puls interrogates these abandoned domestic spaces and castoff objects, and infusing them with a system of values that critiques patriarchal consumerism.

A fully illustrated catalog accompanies the exhibition with an in-depth essay by curator Dena Beard.

Puls received her M.F.A. from Rhode Island School of Design. Her work is represented in numerous collections including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Oakland Museum, the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, and the Jewish Museum in New York. Puls is a Professor of Art at the University of California at Davis. She lives in Berkeley, California.

Exhibition dates: September 10 - October 25, 2015

Artist talk: Thursday, October 22, 2015, 6-9pm

Where:​V​erge Center for the Arts,​625 S Street, Sacramento, 95811 

Sacramento Meditations

June 11 - August 16, 2015

Opening Receptions: 

Verge Center for the Arts, Thursday, June 11, 6pm-9pm  
Robert T. Matsui Gallery at Sacramento City Hall, Tuesday, June 30, 4:30-6pm

Sacramento Meditations is an exhibition exploring the complex nature of California’s ongoing water crisis as it relates both to the implications of the recent drought, as well as to long standing political conflicts throughout the state. At the nexus of these issues is the San Joaquin River Delta, and it is for this reason that we have selected bodies of work from each of the participating artists that deal specifically with that geography. The show gets its name from “Sacramento Meditations, 1977” Helen and Newton Harrison’s largest and most extensive body of work regarding the California water crisis. Commissioned by the Floating Museum of San Francisco for the SFMOMA, the prophetic nature of “Sacramento Meditations, 1977” places the exhibition within a historical context both artistically and geologically. Verge is excited to be the first institution in Sacramento to show this important work by The Harrison Studio in its entirety.


Susannah Sayler and Edward Morris (Sayler / Morris) of The Canary Project collaborated with Brett Snyder to produce the first iteration of their American River Archive project.  This project imagines how historians in the distant future would understand the ideology and culture of Late-Extraction-Age California by focusing on a single flow of water: the American River. The project consists of original photography, historical images, maps and other visual material. In “Behind the Levees,” photographer Jeff Enlow was commissioned by National Geographic in 2011 to document the community and landscape of the Delta, telling the story of the unique community that lives amongst the sloughs and farmland in that region. Through photography and film Jenny Stark seeks to investigate the parallels that have been made between Sacramento and New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina. Stark’s work draws surprising parallels between these two landscapes, infrastructurally, geologically, and culturally.  


Sacramento Meditations will be exhibited at two venues, Verge Center for the Arts and Sacramento City Hall. The two venues have staggered opening dates and individual opening receptions with the exhibition at Verge opening on Thursday, June 11th and at City Hall Tuesday, June 30. Sacramento Meditations is produced in partnership with the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission.

 


 

Tracy Pumping Station, medium format photographic print, Jenny Stark, 2012

 

Jeff Enlow - Is a New York based photographer, editor, and writer. In addition to his work in photojournalism he is an editor with Corbis Images. Enlow has worked on projects and commissions for Wired, the Wall Street Journal, Vice Magazine, NPR, SF Weekly, and the National Geographic Explorers Program.


Helen and Newton Harrison - Among the leading pioneers of the eco-art movement, the collaborative team of Newton and Helen Mayer Harrison (often referred to simply as “the Harrisons”) have worked for almost forty years with biologists, ecologists, architects, urban planners and other artists to initiate collaborative dialogues to uncover ideas and solutions which support biodiversity and community development. The Harrison’s concept of art embraces a breathtaking range of disciplines. They are historians, diplomats, ecologists, investigators, emissaries and art activists. Their work involves proposing solutions and involves not only public discussion, but extensive mapping and documentation of these proposals in an art context.

Susannah Sayler and Edward Morris (Sayler/Morris) - work with photography, video, writing, open-source projects, curation and installation. Of primary concern are contemporary efforts to develop ecological consciousness and the possibilities for art within a social activist practice. In 2006 they co-founded The Canary Project - a studio that produces visual media and artworks that deepen public understanding of ecological issues, principally climate change. In 2014, Sayler and Morris were awarded the Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship. In 2008-2009 they were Loeb Fellows at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. They have exhibited and produced projects at both science and art institutions internationally, including MASS MoCA; Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum; Nevada Museum of Art; Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago; Kunsthal, Rotterdam; Walker Art Center, Belvedere Museum; Exit Art; Cleveland Museum of Natural History; Denver Museum of Contemporary Art; and others. They currently teach in the Transmedia Department at Syracuse University.

Brett Snyder - works at and researches the intersection of architecture and media with a particular interest in developing vibrant urban spaces. Snyder is a principal of Cheng+Snyder an experimental architecture studio based in Oakland, California and an Assistant Professor of Design at the University of California, Davis. Snyder’s hybrid background in architecture and graphics have resulted in an array of projects from the scale of watches to urban scaled design interventions. Much of Snyder’s work has focused on the way that mobile media has changed the way that we navigate, understand, and experience the urban landscape. Recent projects include Smart Sidewalks, a winning entry to the NYC Reinvent Payphones competition, Museum of the Phantom City an architectural iPhone app to view visionary but un-built architecture, and S.Alt City an interactive building mural in Syracuse, New York.

Jenny Stark - Jenny Stark was born in Bellaire, Texas.  She received her BFA in Photography from the University of Houston and went on to receive an MFA in Film/Video from the California Institute of the Arts. She is an Associate Professor of Communications and Film as well as the Film Coordinator at Sacramento State University. Her films and videos have shown at South by Southwest, Austin; The New York Underground Film Festival, Chicago Underground Film Festival, The Viennale, Vienna; LA Film Forum, The Aurora Picture Show, Houston; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The British Film Institute and Image Music Text, London and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Mexico City.  She recently completed a photography series of the California Delta for an exhibition at The Crocker Art Museum and will also be showing her films and photography at Unite, an exhibition of Sacramento State faculty work also at The Crocker.  




SUPPORT VERGE! On the Big DoG!

https://bigdayofgiving.org

It's nearly here! In less than 24 hours, the BIG Day of Giving will begin, and there's no better organization to give to than your favorite contemporary art center- Verge! 

 

Beginning at 9am, Verge's classroom will be set up phone-bank style to accommodate a day-long effort to rally support. Want to help? Bring your laptop, iPad, or smartphone and help us spread the word about Verge. We'll be making social media updates, and sending personal emails to meet a goal of fifty total donors on the Big Day of Giving. As a tribute to the hardworking women of Verge, there will be a marathon screening of "9to5" in the classroom to entertain volunteers and donors through the tedium of sending all those fundraising emails. 

 

Throughout the day we'll be offering refreshments, entertainment, moral support, and high fives to volunteers and donors, beginning with Marie's donuts and coffee in the morning. Like any good phone bank, pizza and soda will be provided during the lunch hour. And because every hard days' work deserves a happy hour, we'll be concluding the challenge with Verge's first annual Big Day of Giving SAC TREAT HAPPY HOUR from 5-7pm.

 

Check in at the front desk tomorrow if you're stopping by to help, or if you're a donor who wants to hang and eat donuts with us!

Posted in

On View: Las Cosas Que Pintan / Painting in an Expansive Field

Works by Miguel Arzabe & Juan Sorrentino, curated by Aimee Friberg
April 9th - May 17th

April 9 – May 17, 2015

Opening Reception: Thursday, April 9, 6–9PM

Verge Center for the Arts, 625 S Street, Sacramento, CA 95811

Verge Center for the Arts and CULT | Aimee Friberg Exhibitions are pleased to present Las Cosas que Pintan / Painting in an Expansive Field, a two-person exhibition curated by Aimee Friberg on view from April 9 through May 17 at Verge Center for the Arts in Sacramento. The exhibition features sound and video installation by Argentinian artist Juan Sorrentino and painting, video, and works on paper by San Francisco-based artist Miguel Arzabe. The works included in Las Cosas que Pintan / Painting in an Expansive Field take as their starting point a field of painting that has been thoroughly examined and expanded by numerous other artists since the advent of Modernism. Rather than attempting to push these boundaries further for the sake of ambition and innovation, Sorrentino and Arzabe investigate the existing landscape of the medium to look for space in which poetic gesture and thoughtful intention combine to reveal truthful contradictions of human experience. The artists’ sensibilities draw from diverse sources––ranging from Modernist painting and conceptual art to indigenous crafts such as weaving and storytelling––while resisting rigid boundaries and literal translations. In Sorrentino’s single-channel video Untitled, the camera follows the artist carrying a blank canvas through a field with trees, pausing briefly at certain locations so that the canvas frames branches, grasses, shadows, and other elements of the natural landscape. These moments of arrested motion create temporary “paintings” that last only a few seconds before the canvas moves on, continuing its search for new content, much like the creative brain ceaselessly pursues novel sources of inspiration. As if moving through an infinite “forest of ideas,” the canvas seeks restful moments of sublimity, and then moves on again in search of new revelations.

In the sound installation Cuadros Sonoros (California), Sorrentino explores concepts of visual language, poetic context, and collective imagination. The piece features a grouping of blank canvases of varying sizes, each with a circular perforation containing a small speaker from which emanates the voice of a person describing a particular painting. The size of each canvas is identical to the painting being described. The voice reveals only the physical attributes of each painting, without providing the artist’s name, the painting’s title, or any other contextual information. In Cuadros Sonoros (California), the viewer/listener is invited to use his or her imagination and memory to construct a mental image of the picture, an image that is inevitably informed by subjective experience, so that each individual interpretation of the work becomes deeply personal and utterly unique.

In contrast with Sorrentino’s conceptual exploration of painting, which foregoes the use of the material itself, Miguel Arzabe’s work focuses on the ways in which the physical substance of paint holds meaning. In Tubes, a large abstract oil painting by the artist is suspended from the ceiling. Its reverse side functions as a projection screen for a series of stop-motion animations, composed of close-up photographs of paint tubes squeezing out their entire contents amidst digitally rendered color fields. The paint tubes, which were given to Arzabe by other artists who ultimately decided to stop painting, embody a sense of anxiety surrounding potential creative failure. Here, Arzabe confronts this anxiety by forcibly releasing all of the paint from each tube in a single continuous motion. The emptying of these tubes, symbols of thwarted creative endeavors, becomes a cathartic act, immediately activating empty space through color and form and yielding a dynamic flow reminiscent of bodily functions.

In a new series of single-channel videos entitled Not Painting, Paintings, Arzabe focuses the camera on observed elements of his everyday life outside the studio. The content of these seemingly random images––ingredients found in the kitchen, such as buttermilk and water, or a flock of birds noticed while the artist was jogging––visually reference formal abstraction in traditional painting practice. As hidden physical forces cause the liquids to swirl and coalesce, and unknown factors induce the birds to flock together anxiously, the possibilities of these organic flows are allowed to play themselves out to their inevitable conclusion without intervention. Here, the artist cedes a measure of control over the image-making process, rejecting the confines of conventional narrative-driven presentations. Also on view is a series of handmade paper tapestries by Arzabe made from postcards, brochures, catalogs, posters, and other printed ephemera collected over the years from art exhibitions [around the world] that the artist has attended. These tapestry pieces reference the “cultural fabric” of specific regions, making use of indigenous craft techniques to reinvest oft-discarded materials with new value by highlighting the collective, yet dispersed, creative labor involved in producing the exhibitions that they originally promoted. Arzabe worked without a final design in mind, cutting the paper into strips and gluing and weaving them together in a spontaneous act that evokes an element of chance in creation, a theme that is also present in his oil paintings.

The definition of what a painting is or can be has been challenged throughout modern history and continues to be a rich topic of debate. Through different means, the artists in Las Cosas que Pintan / Painting in an Expansive Field take advantage of this ever-expanding space of painting not to conquer new territory, but to use its own internal language to pose existential questions about its purpose. By working in relation to traditional modes of painting without actually creating paintings, Sorrentino and Arzabe bring the concerns of the medium closer to the contemporary human experience.

ABOUT MIGUEL ARZABE
Miguel Arzabe (b. 1975) is an artist based in Berkeley, California. His work has been featured in numerous exhibitions globally, including Hors Pistes 2011 and 2012 at the Centre Pompidou in Paris; the Festival du Nouveau Cinéma in Montréal, Canada; Carry On in Mexico City; Summer Drift at RM Projects in Auckland, New Zealand; Wood Anniversary at Marylhurst University in Portland, Oregon, and in group exhibitions at the Berkeley Art Museum and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Arzabe has participated in artist residency programs at organizations including the Headlands Center for the Arts, the Montalvo Art Center, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Santa Fe Art Institute. His work is held in private and public collections around the world and was most recently featured in solo shows at the Center for Contemporary Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico and at CULT | Aimee Friberg Exhibitions in San Francisco, California. Arzabe holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, an MS in Environmental Fluid Dynamics from Arizona State University, and an MFA from UC Berkeley. He is represented by CULT | Aimee Friberg Exhibitions in San Francisco.

ABOUT JUAN SORRENTINO
Juan Sorrentino (b. 1978) is an artist, musician, and composer based in Córdoba, Argentina. He creates electronic, acoustic, multimedia concert works and installations. Sorrentino’s work has been presented in diverse venues across South America, the United States, and Europe. He has been the recipient of numerous awards via the UNESCO-Aschberg Bursaries for Artists; the Residence Prize of Bourges; Le Fonds national d'art contemporain (FNAC); the Goethe Institute of Córdoba; and the Ministerio de Cultural de España Reina Sofia, among others. Sorrentino has exhibited at Metronom (Modena), Espacio Marzana (Bilbao), Circulo de Bellas Artes (Madrid), MARCO (Vigo), Nau Coclea (Girona), IMAGO (Buenos Aires), the Forum Cultural Guanajuato, and the Teatro Maria Grever (Léon), among others. His work is included in the collections of the Muséo del Arte Contemporáneo in Bahía Blanca; the Museo Genaro Pérez, the Emilio Caraffa Provincial Fine Arts Museum, and the Museo de Bellas Artes Evita Palacio Ferreyra in Córdoba; the ONCE Foundation in Spain; and private collections around the world. Sorrentino holds degrees from the Media Center d’Art y Disseny (MECAD) in Barcelona and the University of Córdoba (Argentina).

ABOUT CULT | AIMEE FRIBERG EXHIBITIONS
CULT is a contemporary art gallery in San Francisco that presents work by emerging and established artists from around the world. It was founded in November 2013 by curator and performance artist Aimee Friberg. CULT bridges formal, conceptual and process-based investigations, featuring works of a variety of media, including painting, sculpture, installation, video/film, performance art and works on paper. Learn more at cultexhibitions.com.

(Header image: Miguel Arzabe, Paint Tube Close-Up #1, 2015, archival inkjet photo, 26" x 17.25", edition of 3)

TV DINNER III - TICKETS ON SALE NOW!

Verge Center for the Arts and Chef Michael Thiemann present Sacramento's favorite art party, TV DINNER 3!

The evening will kick off with a cocktail hour and live auction preview, followed by a multi-course meal showcasing dishes inspired by both Mother and the new Empress Tavern. This year's dinner will be served in an immersive, video installation drawing on color as its driving theme. A live auction will be held during dinner followed by dessert and dancing.

Don't miss this exciting evening and be sure to don your most vibrant attire as TV Dinner goes color!

WHERE: Verge Center for the Arts, 625 S Street (corner of 7th and S)
WHEN: Saturday, May 30th, 2015. Doors open at 5pm
TICKETS: $150/person. Purchase tickets here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/1360918

SPONSORS (list in formation)

Burnett & Mimi Miller
Phil & Marilyn Isenberg
Skip Rosenbloom, Adham Sbeih & John Ingoglia
Anonymous
Phil Cunningham
Gately Foundation
Golden Pacific Bank
Ravel Rasmussen
Sierra Vista Bank
Taylor's Market
3fold Connect
Westcore Properties 
HOST COMMITTEE (list in formation)
Rich Baumhofer 
Colby Campbell
Kirk Dowdell
Gayle & Scott Governar
Mary & Jason Kinney 
Gail Counts Miller
Susan & Gene Moe
Betty & John Moulds
Carlin & Jim Naify
Gloria Naify
Libby & Kevin Sanchez
David & Patti Schwartz
Glenn Sorensen
Paulette & Chuck Trainor
Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento
WestAmerica Bank
Wood Rogers  

For sponsorship or volunteer opportunities, please email: susanna@vergeart.com