Surface Tension — a group show featuring Samuel Branden, Amanda Martinez, Amanda Valdez, and Rahcel Mica Weiss, curated by Christina Papanicolaou and Kelly Worman
On View: 6/7 - 7/1
Opening Reception: Thursday June 7, 2017, 6-8pm
E.TAY Gallery is pleased to present Surface Tension, a group show featuring the works of Sam Branden, Amanda Martinez, Amanda Valdez, and Rachel Mica Weiss, curated by Christina Papanicolaou and Kelly Worman. The exhibition is a marriage of minimalism, abstraction, illusion, and ritualistic process, creating an optical sensation of materiality and its power of suggestion. The form of each work is dictated by the inherent properties of the chosen materials, ranging from marble to sportswear.
But the show also focuses on texture and the space between two dimensions, triggering various dualities of thought. Heavy objects feel weightless on the wall; three-dimensional materials are reimagined as flat; and repeating manufactured patterns build personality through their quiet imperfections. And while many of these works could be considered “paintings” based on their conventional form, their very nature slips into an uncertain territory between painting, collage and sculpture.
Sam Branden deconstructs thrifted clothing, then hand-sews it into vibrant compositions and collaged forms. Swathes of fabric as his palette push and pull themselves together into compact gestures that are suggestive of Color Field painting. From afar, a recognizable medium that should be worn on a body becomes considerably flattened and nullified. But upon closer investigation, logos, closures, and stitching begin to reveal a familiar time and place.
The material used in Amanda Martinez’s work undergoes a dramatic transformation from its raw state until completion. She describes her process as an “assembly of many small ‘parts’; a secret, self-disciplined endurance performance.” Sheets of polystyrene are hand-carved in repetitive rhythm, creating the illusion of uniformity. Subtle changes in shape reveal a meditative practice based on a single form to create uniqueness as opposed to a machine-made commodity. The result, coated with a single synthetic color, reads as emotionally complex, yet minimal in its stability.
Amanda Valdez reimagines traditional shape and form through her works made of paint, fabric, and embroidery, finding new spaces to explore with each stitch. As her hand intuitively guides her compositions, shapes take on a sense of the in-between. They are familiar yet unrecognizable, symmetrical but slightly askew, literally flat but dimensional through her utilization of color and gesture. Valdez builds texture by weaving multiple depths into each piece, forcing the viewer to contemplate meaning.
Rachel Mica Weiss builds architectural portals that invite the viewer to examine the oppositional states of the materials at play. For example, the fluidity of fabric freezes in time, the fragility of a thread holds massive weight, and the drapery of stone lays softly over wood. Additionally, hand-woven thread against copper mesh demonstrates an element of ritual — a meaningful meditation assigning even more consideration and value to the works than the maple frames that define them. But it’s her sleek craftsmanship that convinces us to believe our own eyes.