Surface Tension features artworks that engage real and perceived material surfaces, point to contextual conditions and fine art traditions, and ask us to look past immediate appearances to make meaning. Ryan Klotz’ massive ‘canvas-on-canvas’ oil painting points to the minimalists’ idealization of raw materials and rejection of personal expression but embraces representation and traditional oil painting techniques. Ann Chuchvara’s sculptures consist of thin plastics first printed with wallpaper-like patterns and then shredded and loosely woven together. Ann’s material is fiber-like but clearly inorganic, both delicate and hard—like decorative Easter basket lining—they hang on the inner walls of the gallery; internal to Ryan’s external painting. This placement hints at a relationship between falsity, fibers, and the imagery of Ryan’s work. Jennifer Kaplan’s work occupies the window space and serves to push the boundary between raw materials and representation further by presenting hybrids of raw / manipulated, abstracted / figurative forms. The installation is part of a larger, on-going project titled History of Touch and is site-responsive to the space it occupies. Figurative porcelain forms, earth, vessel, salt, and mixed clay bodies take us into the territory of geological processes and quicker organic growth; the physical evidence of time and touch; dismembered and recombined bodies; parts into whole.
Together Ryan, Ann, and Jennifer share an interest in the inherent characteristics of their chosen materials—paint and canvas, plastics and patterns, earth and minerals—but the outcomes they derive go beyond those surfaces to engage external conditions including the history of modernist practices, representation versus abstraction, and the body (both personally experienced and shared). Meaning is found beyond the surface, where these characteristics and conditions collide.