Hillerbrand+Magsamen, Abbey Ryan and Jury Smith

June 4th - June 26th, 2010

Opening Reception Friday, June 4th 2010 6 to 9 PM
Gallery is open Saturdays 12 PM to 4 PM and by appointment.

Mount Airy Contemporary Artists Space is pleased to present Affinity, an exhibition of works by Hillerbrand+Magsamen, Abbey Ryan and Jury Smith.

Abbey Ryan
Jury Smith

View photos from opening reception at flickr.

Artist couples often share ties that resonate deeply in their professional practice as well as their personal lives. This exhibition explores the work of four artists and the way their work is intertwined. Hillerbrand+Magsamen are a Texas-based collaborative team that use video and installation to explore concepts of interpersonal space, memory and family dynamic. Abbey Ryan and Jury Smith are Philadelphia based artists who share a fascination with process and layering, expressed in very different mediums.


Mary Magsamen and Stephan Hillerbrand
Hillerbrand+Magsamen - Accumulation, Video and installation, 2010

Four Place Setting is an experimental video trilogy by the collaborative team of Hillerbrand+Magsamen. Through performance, Four Place Setting interstices between art and the contemporary American family by playfully and poetically exploring perceptions of emotions, family, consumerism and media within a uniquely American subjectivity.

Hillerbrand+Magsamen will be presenting one segment of this trilogy, Accumulation.

In Accumulation, the innocence of a child dangles in a dark void and then a couple piles up tons of stuff from their garage: lawn mower, toys, tools, Christmas lights, and more into a mountain that they climb up as a means to get to another space. An auctioneer rambles away and the viewer is left to decide if the couple is buying or selling their material, physical and emotional accumulation.

Abbey Ryan

Abbey Ryan
Abbey Ryan, 524-b, 2010

Drawing from her "A Painting a Day" still life project as groundwork Abbey Ryan has been developing a body of work that explores the conceptual and visual relationship between figure and ground, contour and space. Working with ink, she chooses shapes that, to her, are reminiscent of a spiritual icon. The shapes are repeated and averaged; often, this distillation makes the shapes not visually distinct enough to define.

Each layer of washed ink is the same value and color. The multiple contours and value variations are the result of shifting layers of the image; akin to the phenomenon of studying a still life object until it glows out of focus.

Jury Smith

Jury Smith
Black Arch + Blue-green, Earthenware, glaze, 22 x 22 x 10 in., 2010

Jury Smith's ceramic forms result from of an elaborate system of building that has developed over years. Throughout the building process, the clay form is suspended in slings made of various types of material, each possessing its own unique properties (elasticity, weave, strength) to allow the weight of the clay to influence the form.

The finished object is bisque fired, placed into a large pool of water, and the waterline of the floating object is recorded onto the surface. Following this recording, the glazing delineates the object's buoyancy and density. The line embodies the space, or breadth, held within the object that prevents it from sinking. This method is opposite that of the building, in that the void within the form, rather than the clay itself, determines the object's position in space.

Added to the buoyancy record is a series of lines that denote the position of the object as it takes on water. Prior to firing, each object is given a small hole to prevent it from exploding during the firing. While submerged, water slowly enters through this hole and lowers the object below its buoyancy line and bit by bit under the water's edge.

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