Steel Stillman, Sally Webster, and Joke Schole
January 31 – February 24, 2013
Opening reception, January 31, 2013, 6 – 8 p.m.
DREAM OUT brings together three artists whose enigmatic work draws on the lingering power of images from our collective past. Rooted, in part, in wistful reflections such as those that unfold in the intimacy of childhood bedrooms, each artist has developed a rigorous practice to conjure psychological presence and surprising beauty.
Their work is intimate in scale and varied in effect. The fragile whimsies of Joke Schole's fairy-tale-like porcelain tableaux counterpoint the soft, graphic tactility of Sally Webster's paintings, and both play against the shadow-like obfuscations of Steel Stillman's photographs. The three artists are fascinated with secrets and obscurities, with whatever lurks behind the scenes.
Joke Schole's fragile, humorous worlds simultaneously disclose complicated issues. Childhood dreams, imaginary schemes, and stuffed animals contribute to constructions that recall Roald Dahl's stories. Reanimating cherished found objects—whether old toys or specimens from nature—with her porcelain molds, Schole transforms each incorporated element. Spontaneous choices, fine details, and medium-specific constraints combine to propose unexpected relationships.
Steel Stillman's altered photographs, from the ongoing series Untold Facts, derive from snapshots of everyday life that he began taking in the 1970s. Returning to source images from sometimes long-ago moments, he adds hand-drawn, digitally scanned shapes that hide underlying subject matter and crack open photography's once-presumed lock on space and time. European New Wave cinema and novelists from Virginia Woolf to Alain Robbe-Grillet inform the descriptive textures and elliptical perspectives in his work.
Sally Webster's labor-intensive paintings assimilate influences from pop culture in their generally indirect portrayals of human relationships. Her diptychs, pairing furry, abstract creatures or faceless blondes and brunettes, hark back to kitsch paintings of wide-eyed girls she pondered as a teenager in her best friend's bedroom. Webster investigates what is and what isn't, painting incongruous abstractions that are at the same time peculiarly representational, using tiny brushes to render her inventions.
Joke Schole lives and works in Amsterdam. After a successful early career in textile and jewelry design, she began making porcelain works in the Amstel tradition. Since the mid-1980s her pieces have been exhibited in numerous galleries and museums throughout Europe. She has had a solo exhibition at the Museum of Textiles, Tilburg (1990), and her work was exhibited in the COLLECT fair at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (2007 and 2008).
In addition to making art, Steel Stillman is a writer and a contributing editor for Art in America. Based in New York, he has had solo exhibitions at Mandarin, Los Angeles (2008), Galerie van Gelder, Amsterdam (2008), Envoy, New York (2006), and elsewhere. Recent group shows include The Bigger Picture, curated by Haim Steinbach at The Artist's Institute, New York (2013); and The Best of 2012, Soloway, Brooklyn (2012).
Before moving to New York, where she now lives, Sally Webster was well-known in the 1970s and '80s art-punk scene in San Francisco as a founding member of The Mutants. She had a one-person exhibition at Adam Baumgold Fine Art, New York in 1999, and has been in more than two-dozen group shows, including those at The Drawing Center, New York (1993; 2002), Feature, Inc., New York (1990; 1991; 1992), and Pierogi, Brooklyn (2010).
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