THE FRONT

September 10- October 2, 2011

September 10- October 2, 2011

Opening Saturday September 10th, 6-10 pm

Room 1:

Clay Blancett
More Than the Residue of My Story

 Regarding his work, Clay writes: At some point I decided I wanted to be a conduit. As an artist I figure it’s my job to report on the world around me, the beautiful as well as the grotesque. However, being the person I am, realized I could never attain the perfect impartiality of a mirror. My daily vision is clouded with worries, fears, minor resentments, and various physical urges.  So I figured the best I could shoot for was to be a conduit, and just let the world move through me, allowing what I saw to frighten me, to inspire me, to stoke whatever memories they may. 

You become an adult and have kids and a mortgage and dysfunctional relationships and then one day you wander into a large open space at the Bronx zoo and there’s an elephant. It’s busy walking on its huge elephant feet, waving its trunk around, and you realize somehow you’d forgotten all about elephants.  How could you forget such a thing? Suddenly you want to write about the elephant. Ideally it should be about the elephant, but shouldn’t you acknowledge that your anxiety about how close the children are to this beast is partially based on the hangover you haven’t been able to walk off? Also, how can you shake off the comment your mother-in-law made to you back in the dark halls of the reptile house? As a conduit for the real world, shouldn’t all this inform your elephant?

Clay Blancett grew up in Chattanooga Tennessee, studied Sculpture in Richmond Virginia, and Writing in New York City.  These places are often at the center of his art. He now lives and works in Richmond, Virginia where he takes care of frequent drawing collaborators, his two children, Henry and May.

More of Clay can be found at http://blancett.blogspot.com

Room 2:

Tod Seelie
Keep Calm and Carry On
 
What truly stands out about Tod Seelie’s photography is WHAT he chooses to document. Often featuring ‘renegade’ or runaway-like characters, his visually stunning images document the outskirts of a generation raised on continuing for-profit wars, bubble economies, and globalization. His life has been affectionately referred to as "one Tom-Sawyer-meets-DIY-art-vandal adventure after another."
 
Traveling frequently, Seelie is actively engaged in living a life we hope is happening somewhere — if not safely removed from our own (at one point he was kidnapped during a day of shooting in Brazil.) From building shelters in Haiti with the artist Swoon to bloody punk shows highlighting the early years of bands like Japanther and Matt & Kim, to Black Label bike kills or trips down the Mississippi upon found object rafts with a band of artists and performers— Seelie is there with a camera and a talent for creating vivid, baffling images.
 
Among other places, Seelie’s photos can be found online at the four web sites he maintains: the.everydayilive.com, the.ofquiet.com, suckapants.com and todseelie.com.
 
“The first [series of photographs] he describes as a ‘crazy kind of place  for burning cars and naked people’ where, indeed, you are likely to find photographs of long-haired men on stilts and bare-breasted women against a backdrop of mud pits or graffiti. The second consists of landscape photographs: the broken roads and decaying industrial structures Mr. Seelie describes as what might result if ‘William Eggleston took photos of Detroit.’ The third is mostly a concert site, containing Mr. Seelie’s shots of bands like Parts & Labor or Team Robespierre. Todseelie.com is ‘the professional site,’ he said, designed to sell the images he produces to newspapers, publishers and magazines.” (“A Chronicler of the Art-Vandal Underground”, NYTimes, 6/5/2011)

Room 3:

Megan Hildebrandt, ReDevil, 16 x 20 in, acrylic on canvas, 2011

Megan Hildebrandt
Tunnel Visions
 
Megan Hildebrandt will read excerpts from her upcoming graphic novel, "Tunnel Visions" at the gallery at 5:30 pm Saturday, September 10th.
 
Artist Statement: Being diagnosed with cancer and experiencing chemotherapy at age 25 dramatically changed the priorities and course of my work. The stories in my current work emerge directly from my own history and memory. I am making images that express my fear of death. The visions I am putting on paper have been invented to escape personal trauma; they are both truth and complete fantasy. It is important to me that the way I draw is inclusive and open, even childlike. I feel no need to make the drawings seem realistic. I want the variation with which I render myself to differentiate the moments I remember and invent.  Storytelling is my driving force, and I embrace tangents and non-linear narrative in this imagery. The drawings envision moments of my childhood and adult life, with nature often at the forefront, simultaneously comforting and ominous. Just as my own body and nature became the enemy in cancer, animals and natural elements threaten and support.
 
Bio: Megan Hildebrandt received her BFA in 2006 from the University of Michigan. She then traveled as an artist-in-residence aboard the Artrain USA, an art museum housed in railway cars. Hildebrandt has also been awarded residencies at the Centrum Foundation, Vermont Studio Center, the Creative Alliance, and Starry Night. Her past exhibitions include New American Paintings, the Anna Kustera Gallery in New York City, The Museum of Contemporary Craft in Portland, Gallery Project in Ann Arbor, the Arlington Arts Center, and the 2010 Miami Independent Thinkers Art Basel Fair. She has recently received an artist grant from Hampton Arts Management in Tampa for the self-publication of her graphic novel about young adult cancer. In 2011-12, her work will be shown at the Creative Alliance and the USF Contemporary Art Museum. She will receive her MFA in Studio Art at The University of South Florida in the spring.
This is her first solo exhibition.
 
meganhildebrandt.com

Room 4:

Valorie Polmer
Blight

Blight, my most recent body of work, takes the viewer on a journey through the windows and doors of forgotten, abandoned, and neglected properties in New Orleans. These buildings that were once homes embody sadness and beauty of what was, what could have been, and what is.  

Valorie Polmer is a New Orleans born Artist. She attended the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts 1999-2001, studied abroad at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology 2005, Melbourne, Australia, and received a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Photography from Parsons The New School for Design 2001- 2006, New York, NY. Valorie lived in New York City for eight years where she worked as a freelance photographer. She retuned to New Orleans in October of 2009 and is working as a fine artist, freelance photographer. Valorie was recently award The Jeunes Talents Award sponsored by the French Tourism Development Agency.

valoriepolmer.com