There are artists who incorporate this "style," if you will, into their work. Some use art as an outlet for their issues, others use the theory of obsessive or repetitive motion or imagery in their work. The Shore Institute of Contemporary Art (SICA) has made this the theme of their current show, "Obsessive Compulsive Design." The show presents "art that utilizes an abundance of repeated elements and the associated actions used in the creation process." What I expected going in was alot of repetitive drawing, visual lists, and hoarder type collections. My expectations were far exceeded by the craftsmanship, thought process, and creativity of the work in this show.
By far the star is Asha Ganpat with three sculptural pieces, two pictured here. First is "The Marys," one thousand plaster Virgin Marys cast from a nightlight, tucked under a stairwell in rows. One was cast with a diamond hidden inside, so besides the repetitive casting of Mary, one would think that would trigger an obsessive thought process of "Which one has the diamond??" in a viewer. It's not hard to picture someone buying all of them and obsessively smashing each one to find that single gem. Another piece by Ganpat is "Spells Against Strangers," a reconfigured chest of drawers with items including sand, candles and little vials of hair: "I stole hair from strangers, fallen hair right off their shoulders, bags, and seat headrests while on public transportation. I created (80) monstrous spells against them and display the alter and spells."
Joanne Schiavone has a wall display of large colorful doilies titled, "Water Doilies." Turns out they are made from plastic bags. The ubiquitous plastic bag is a modern convenience and ecological nightmare in one. Schiavone expresses an affinity for water, and bodies of water are often littered with old bags, so the connection is clear, and executed quite skillfully.
Another amazing example of craftsmanship is "Bridge" by Lisa Murch. Hanging on two walls as they meet in a corner, this piece is a tangle of large ants, dozens of them. It's a marvel of dealing with fragile materials as they are made of seed pods, wire, sticks, shellac and paper. Just the thought of transporting this delicate piece raises anxiety.
In the back is a room-sized piece by Megan Suttles, the most conceptual piece in the show and a fine example of an artist creating intriguing art out of very little, packing tape and monofilament to be exact. Lines of filament start from a small grid on the left wall and extend to a much larger scaled up grid on the right wall. On the lines are random pieces of packing tape creating delicate sparkles of light - is this a net? synapses in the brain? The left is dense and the right is not despite it having the same number of points. Does it represent urban life vs rural life? Point is, "Concealed" is wide open to interpretation (I overheard several at the opening and on subsequent visits). Suttles describes it as a "struggle between restraint and disorder" using these "chaotic forms." It completely transforms as it goes from the tight grid to the wide grid.
There's a delicate subtlety to Jane Craven Prouix's piece, "Devolution of the Natural Landscape." A long paper scroll with a continuous rendering of a coastal landscape done in ink and watercolor wraps and winds its way through several cut tree branches. The man-made mixes with nature in the drawing as does the piece itself.
Not much time is left for this exhibition, so I strongly urge you to try and catch it. Info below. Click on any of the images above to view larger.
"OCD:Obsessive Compulsive Design" is up til April 27th
at SICA, 610 Cookman Ave, Asbury Park, NJ. (732) 483-4641, www.sica.org
Artists: David Ambrose, Jane Craven Proulx, Lori Ellison, Asha Ganpat, Lisa Murch, Hyo Jeong Nam, Andrew Pawlan, JoAnne Schiavone, Yungmi Song, and Megan Suttles.