Out of Bounds - From the Studio

March 10, 2022

On view in our Gallery in March and on our Website 

I’ve been reading Trickster Makes This World—Mischief, Myth, and Art by Lewis Hyde. It’s a study of the trickster figure in world mythologies, and why artists are often trickster figures. Societies require boundary-breakers and passionate mischief-makers like Coyote and Raven to bring fresh perspectives, and to break us out of all “the stereotypic likes and dislikes by which cultures perpetuate themselves.” The trickster speaks new words where language has been dammed up or gone numb and charmless—an important aspect of the artist’s job. 

So our group show theme, Out of Bounds, seems like a perfect opportunity to contemplate the role of art in generating newness. Some of our work uses unusual material, or criticizes certain cultural norms, makes use of shocking imagery to make an ethical point, or is the result of the artist using a technique new to her, going beyond her previous boundaries. Here are photos of some of the work, with the artist’s own thoughts. 

Out of the Box by Kristin Otwell, corrugated cardboard and watercolor, with ribbed leaves

This artwork features material that is literally “out of the box” and “out of the bounds” of traditional art media. By deconstructing corrugated cardboard, I hope to honor the humble utilitarian cardboard box and reveal its hidden beauty and complexity.

Earth 2.0 Ark Shuttle by Ginny Stearns, mixed media, with tiny toys

This model space ship is from a series called “Schemes for Living on a Pissed-Off Planet”. Here I’m imagining an exodus of babies and animals to another planet somewhere by space shuttle. We’re finally realizing that we’ve seriously pushed Mother Nature out of shape and She’s NOT amused. Dire consequences are upon us indeed and we all better get busy figuring out what to do. Playing around with children’s model kits, toys and HO train accessories I tried to imagine a few alternatives to meet our new reality. Maybe move into a cooler or zoom off to some other planet we haven’t wrecked yet. Maybe make home a migratory all-terrain vehicle. We’re a smart and ingenious lot capable of intriguing solutions. Terrific ideas are popping up from ordinary inventive plucky folks everywhere using familiar materials. I love that. 

Windows and Shades by Rachel Binah, handsewn constructions

Why are the shapes of most art work rectangular? I prefer to construct pieces which push common boundaries. I want my work to appear to float away from the wall, to create shadows which alter textures and dimensionality. Sometimes I use surprising materials: window screening, cardboard, twine, ribbon, paper.

War Zone Barbie by Carolyn Schneider, charcoal, pastel, pencil

I like to use Barbie in my cast of characters, she has been around so long and taken on so many personas. The persona i don’t see, that is out of bounds for Barbie at least so far, is wounded, maimed, war-shocked Barbie. So here she is, and it isn’t pretty but it is sadly common and ordinary in our world. 

Tempus Machina by Miriam Davis, found objects

Time travel, to move through chronology instead of being controlled by it, is a perennial fantasy. (Sure, we are told, with the right day planner we really can get it all done before we die, but who’s kidding whom?) To go deep into the past, or far ahead to the future, what power! What an escape from the ordinary! I read H.G. Wells and a few other writers on this intriguing theme, and thought it would be fun to construct “prototypes.” I started this one from something I had taken apart, adding things acquired just for beauty or curiosity’s sake at flea markets and garage sales, and then put things together in the way they wanted to go. Like all time machines, this one had to have a seat for the operator, and a clock.

Miriam Davis
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