“Shadow of the Gradient” Exhibition

Ortega y Gasset Projects @ The Old American Can Factory

poster for “Shadow of the Gradient” Exhibition

This event has ended.

curated by Clare Britt

Ortega y Gasset Projects presents Shadow of the Gradient, a group exhibition with works by Devra Freelander, MaDora Frey, Rachel Guardiola, Roxanne Jackson, Taryn M. McMahon, Kat Ryals, Shelley Smith, curated by Clare Britt.

An astronaut drifts across the galaxy in a red convertible Tesla.

A backcountry hiker lingers on a trail watching the Brown Mountain lights flicker.

A group of scientists try to conquer and control nature while sealed inside Biosphere 2.

A Yogi climbs to the top of Cathedral Rock to get lost in an Energy Vortex.

UFO chasers await the sun to set and witness the Marfa lights in the distance.

A team of documentary filmmakers board a boat and set sail to the Plastic Island in the Pacific Ocean.

These are realties where humans chase the unknown, explore the depths of space, and face the monsters that haunt them. This is the Shadow of the Gradient.

Humans create and use technology while searching for a connection that feels authentic and enduring, giving meaning to existence. Technology is used to solve problems and - in the process - a whole new set of problems arise that need to be wrangled. This creates a constant circle of never ending solutions. The artists share a longing to see nature integrated into contemporary technological experiences. Their work uses photographic, sculptural and painterly languages to ask the questions such as: Will technology redeem us? Or eventually choke us out and suffocate us?

The artists in Shadow of the Gradient use imagery of nature and associations with sci-fi aesthetics that trigger emotional responses. The exhibition is an immersive experience with large scale art objects that blend mediums to create a neoteric tableau. Ryals, Smith and McMahon create a flattened out landscape with lenticular photographic prints, digital imagery printed on embroidered textiles and large scale banners. Freelander and Frey create a landscape in the gallery with the use of sculptural elements on the floor and on the wall. Jackson’s creatures are fauna that inhabit this portal of existence. Guardiola’s work creates flora and another perspective of the dimension.

No one wants to see reality, we only want to see a better version of ourselves and create a new truth. When every image (motion or still) can be doctored, every word can be twisted and taken out of context a new phenomenon emerges. We become primed and ready to believe the fantasy whenever it is colorful and shiny and seductive.

Together, these works evoke events or phenomena that are beyond the scope of normal scientific understanding. A common thread is an anticipation of time passing with some hope for a reconstructed future where new biologies and organisms exist beyond technology on the other side of human existence.

Devra Freelander makes sculptures and videos that explore climate change and geology from an ecofeminist and millennial lens. She received her MFA in Sculpture from Rhode Island School of Design in 2016. Freelander has exhibited with Times Square Arts, CRUSH Curatorial, the New York Design Center, the RISD Museum, Zoya Tommy Contemporary, and the Fjuk Arts Centre. She is a founding member of MATERIAL GIRLS, and a recipient of the 2016 St. Botolph Club Foundation Emerging Artist Award and 2018 Women’s Studio Workshop Residency Grant. She is represented by CIRCA Gallery in Minneapolis, MN.

MaDora Frey creates sculptural paintings using neon, LED lights, wood and glass. Frey contemplates how environment psychologically impacts and determines one’s emotional orientation. Frey is currently serving a residency with the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center’s Studio Artist program. Frey was recently commissioned by the Katonah Museum of Art to create a large-scale outdoor public work on the museum campus. She has also exhibited at the Newark Airport in New Jersey. Accolades include the Prince of Wales Fellowship in Normandy, France, publication in New American Paintings, and two-time grant recipient at Vermont Studio Center. She is a founding member of NYC art collective Future Present.

Kat Ryals is a southerner who completed a Masters of Fine Arts degree at Brooklyn College, followed by a certificate in Museum Education in 2016. Ryals has shown her work nationally, and was included in recent group exhibitions with the Holocenter on Governor’s Island, Temporary Storage Gallery at Brooklyn Fireproof, and the Wassaic Project. She has also completed several artist residencies, including the Vermont Studio Center Fellowship in January 2018, the Wassaic Project in January 2019, and she will be an upcoming resident at ChaNorth in August 2019. She is the co-founder of the curatorial project and art space, Paradice Palase, based out of Bushwick, Brooklyn.

Rachel Guardiola is an interdisciplinary artist and naturalist. Her practice utilizes lens based technology to investigate the human relationship to wilderness through the construction of fantastical other earth mythologies. Rachel is a Studio Resident at School 33 Art Center and is a recipient of the 2016-18 Hamiltonian Gallery Artist Fellowship. She has exhibited internationally with List í Ljósi Festival, Sydney College of the Arts, Dakar Biennale de l’Art Contemporain. Currently she is participating in The Studios Residency at MASS MoCA. She is Adjunct Faculty of New Media at George Mason University and Photography at the Corcoran School of the Arts & Design, GW. She received a MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art and BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design.

Roxanne Jackson is a ceramic artist and mixed-media sculptor living in Brooklyn, NY. Her macabre works are investigations of the links between transformation, myth and pop-culture. Press for her work includes The New York Times, Whitehot Magazine, Beautiful Decay. She is the recipient of residencies at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Socrates Sculpture Park, the Ceramic Center of Berlin, and the Pottery Workshop in Jindezhen, China, funded by an NCECA fellowship. Jackson has exhibited widely with recent exhibitions at The Hole (NY), Cob Gallery (London), Anonymous Gallery (Mexico City), Kunstraum Niederösterreich (Vienna). Jackson is the co-founder of NASTY WOMEN, a global art exhibition and fundraising project.

Taryn McMahon received her MFA from the University of Iowa and is currently an Assistant Professor of Studio Art at Kent State University. Her work has received numerous awards and residencies including a Denbo Fellowship at Pyramid Atlantic, Vermont Studio Center, Anderson Ranch, Anchor Graphics, Women’s Studio Workshop, and the Lawrence Arts Center. She has had solo exhibitions at The Print Center, Philadelphia, PA and Lexington Art League, Lexington. Her work has been included in numerous group shows at venues such as Whitdel Arts, Detroit, MI; Artist Image Resource, Pittsburgh, PA; Trestle Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; and the International Print Center, New York, NY.

Shelley Smith is interdisciplinary artist whose practice addresses such universal themes as memory, identity, myth, and the feminine. Her work often explores conceptual self-portraiture through methods of digital collage, video, hand-embroidery, and drawing. Smith combines traditional hand techniques with contemporary tools to create work that reflects how identity is formed over a lifetime. Shelley Smith holds a Master of Art & Design from the North Carolina State University College of Design. She is the Creative Director of Anchorlight, an artist led space that is home to artist studios, exhibition space, and a residency program in Raleigh. N.C.

Clare Britt is a photographer working in Chicago, IL. She digitizes collections for cultural institutions like the Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University, The Chicago Public Library and The Museum of the Art Institute of Chicago. She received her Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is a founding member of Ortega y Gasset Projects and travels the country documenting landscapes for her Claremerica Series. Her camera captures proof of nature fighting with and taking over what man has created.



from June 15, 2019 to July 21, 2019

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