ADAPT (Iteration 1)
Jun 13 – Jul 3, 2020
Marcelyn McNeil · Deborah Zlotsky · Ted Larsen · Lloyd Martin · Wendi Harford
Robischon Gallery presents “ADAPT (Iteration 1),” a group exhibition of new and recent work by artists Marcelyn McNeil (TX), Deborah Zlotsky (NY), Ted Larsen (NM), Lloyd Martin (RI) and Wendi Harford (CO) who are known to approach abstraction in ways both improvisational and systematic. As society’s vanguards, artists routinely embrace the unexpected and transform it, while seeking and accepting challenges in visionary ways. Transmutation is a matter of course within an artist’s studio practice, as flux is the malleable visual language furthered by each artist’s chosen media. Through sculptural and painted means, this first installation of the gallery’s two-part evolving summer exhibition, provides a look at the artists’ individual ongoing investigations in abstraction which inherently reflect the act of problem solving. During this period of rapid change around the globe, the revelations of artists may provide a respite as well as a glimpse into the restorative nature of intuitive engagement. In consideration of the phrase Art-as-metaphor, the work of the five artists in “ADAPT (Iteration 1)” offers the viewer a new way to see. Creating in symbolic parallel, each artist within their vibrant mark-making, conveys a kind of personal resolve to adapt – one that recalls the very human aspiration to move toward a shift in perspective during tumultuous times.
“My work is rather idiosyncratic and there is a good deal of not knowing in my creative process. As a painter I conflate modes of abstraction from hard-edge form to thinly veiled stains. My experimental approach to making merges improvisation, intuition and control. The work relies on my ability to be resilient and adapt. It has always been a conscious decision to keep social politics separate from what’s happening in the studio, as I believe materials and form can have other things to say and teach us. Outside the studio I will endeavor to be part of positive change, as I care deeply about recent events and the inequity the Pandemic and Black Lives Matter have further illuminated.”
– Marcelyn McNeil
Marcelyn McNeil has an M.F.A. from University of Illinois at Chicago and a B.F.A. from Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland, OR. A recent recipient of A Zeta Orionis Fellowship, a Vermont Studio Center Residency, a 100 W Corsicana Residency, Corsicana, TX as well as a Milton and Sally Avery Fellow at MacDowell Colony, Petersbourough, NH. Additionally, McNeil has been a Sharps- Walentas Studio Program Fellow, Visual Artist of the Year, Decorative Arts Center, Houston, TX and a Hunting Art Prize finalist multiple times, awarded a CAAP Grant, The City of Chicago, Department of Cultural Affairs, a fellowship from The University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, and the Purchase Award, The Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR as well as being a repeat artist in New American Paintings (Western Edition).
“In my paintings, I embrace the way accidents shift relationships and produce unexpected proximities and alignments. During a long process of painting and repainting, I continually adapt, respond, and reassess. On a broader level, I'm fascinated by the way history evolves through the accumulation of actions and reactions—in the way complexities are built over time through the coincidences and unrelated events that get baked in. In these new paintings, I limited my focus to include only two connecting shapes. I was thinking about my elderly parents in particular and the happenstance of one’s DNA. The unique configuration of scale, shape, color, and space in each painting refers to both the unlikelihood and the generative intricacy in even the simplest of unions.”
– Deborah Zlotsky
A 2019 recipient of a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship in the Creative Arts, Deborah Zlotsky received her MFA from the University of Connecticut, and her BA from Yale University. A recipient of the Bogliasco Foundation Fellowship, two time New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Artists’ Fellowship in Painting, First Place Award, SACI International Art Competition, Studio Art Center International (SACI), Florence, Italy, and Juror’s Award, Mohawk Hudson Regional, The Albany Institute of History and Art, Albany, NY juried by Stephen Westfall, are among many prestigious recognitions that Zlotsky has received throughout her career. Her work is housed in the permanent public collections of Rutgers University, NJ, Borusan Contemporary Art Collection, Istanbul, Waldorf Astoria, NY, New York Palace Hotel, NY, William Benton Museum of Art, Storrs, CT, Albany Institute of History and Art, RISD Museum, Rhode Island School of Design, Polsinelli Collection, University of Iowa Health Center, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Loomis Chaffee School, Windsor, CT, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA, Sioux City Art Center, Sioux City, IA, Nebraska-Wesleyan University, Lincoln, NE, Southwest Texas State University, and Eastern Oregon State University.
“We are living in challenging times. We have many issues to address and we must figure out the best and most reasonable solution to them. It will require all of us to come together similar to how I considered the secret boxes all joined together for each Buddha in Repose sculpture. But, purity also comes from distillation. Through a process of removal, things become more clear. What is removed can be as important as what remains. Life is about winnowing the chaff to find the good."
– Ted Larsen
Ted Larsen graduated magna cum laude from Northern Arizona University and is a recipient of the prestigious Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant Award, the Artist Stipend Award, Wichita Falls Art Council, Texas, Surdna Foundation Education Travel Grant, New York, United States Representative to the Asilah Arts Festival, Morocco Representative and the Edward Albee Foundation Residency Fellowship. His work has been exhibited in solo shows at the New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe, NM, Albuquerque Museum, Amarillo Museum of Art, TX, Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, Boulder, CO, Northern Arizona University Museum, Flagstaff, AZ, along with exhibitions at art centers and gallery venues across the U.S. and internationally. Larsen’s work is in the collections of the New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe, NM, the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, The Edward F. Albee Foundation, Procter & Gamble, Fidelity Investments, National Broadcasting Company, The Bolivian Consulate, Reader’s Digest, PepsiCo, The University of Miami, Krasl Art Center, Dreyfus Funds, JP Morgan Chase, Forbes and Pioneer Hi-Bred, Inc.
“Artists are in the business of observation, much of which fuels the work. So, paying attention is part of the process. Working is a way of channeling experiences and clearly, it’s hard to escape politics these days. As an artist and primarily a painter, I always looked at art making as a kind of political act in itself. We operate outside of accepted social paradigms. It is its own counterculture. I was always drawn to divergence as a life strategy, art making is my chosen path. My pandemic studio routine is identical to my usual routine. This sanctuary is a place where I challenge my familiarity. Often, it’s possible to avoid the turbulence. I can stumble into territories in an endless cycle of examination derived from a realized visual syntax.”
– Lloyd Martin
Lloyd Martin has a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design where he currently teaches painting. Martin’s work has been exhibited at the Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, NY, The Park Avenue Armory, NY, Bates College Museum of Art, Lewiston, ME and he has been awarded numerous Fellowships from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts and been written about in ArtNews, Art in America, Artdaily.com blog, Elle Magazine and additional publications. Martin’s work is included in both museum and corporate collections including: The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH, Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI, The Federal Reserve, Washington DC, Mead Art Museum, Amherst, MA, Bannister Gallery, Rhode Island College, Providence, RI, International Collage Center, Milton, PA, University Art Museum SUNY, Albany, NY, UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA, Fidelity Investments, Smithfield, RI, Saks Fifth Avenue, New York, NY, The Sovereign, New York, NY, MGM Grand, Las Vegas, NV and Wellington Management Company, Boston, MA.
“I have gained a new appreciation for the making of these paintings. The nature of the material itself, making its way without any intervention. The repetitive, almost ritualistic process has become more of almost meditative experience. I am fortunate to be able to experience that.
The current events that have taken place in the last few months have turned everything upside down, altering the sense of time as I’ve known it. Painting, being a personal and solitary endeavor was at first unchanged. Yet, this period of isolation feels different. As weeks passed, the isolation intensified the sense of time shifted. There is a feeling of a widening or expansion of space. This has created the opportunity to relax a bit, step back, reflect; to rearrange and adjust. I believe creative pursuits inspire and encourage hope. It is my hope art will do that, even if only for a brief moment, and offer a bit of positive relief.”
– Wendi Harford
A BFA graduate of the University of Denver, Wendi Harford also attended the Parson’s School of Design and the School of Visual Arts in NYC. Her paintings have frequently been included in exhibitions at Arvada Center for Arts and Humanities, Arvada, CO, Carbondale Center for the Arts, Carbondale, CO, Denver International Airport and Republic Plaza, Denver, CO and most notably her work was included in the Metropolitan State University’s Center for Visual Art important exhibition entitled “Colorado Women in Abstraction” which coincided with Denver Art Museum’s groundbreaking “Women of Abstract Expressionism.”