MINING FORM + MEANING
Sep 1 – Oct 29, 2022
Mining the Robischon Gallery archives and including newly exhibited works, the select artists pursue and reflect upon cross-cultural global connections in myriad ways. Featuring the carved and gold/platinum-leafed figures and symbolist abstractions of Montana artist John Buck and the exotic ceramic heads of Colorado artist Scott Chamberlin, alongside the gleaming bronze and resin sculptures by Beijing artists Fang Lijun and the Luo Brothers, the many large and small works upon entry are integral to the overall exhibition. In the adjacent gallery, overtly abstracted nature and pattern-based works take hold in both two-and-three-dimension. The light-filled abstractions shift within their environment, from the opalescent fish scale-like painting by New York artist Barbara Takenaga, to the large-scaled grouping of layered metallic and elaborately printed works by New York artist Judy Pfaff. In tandem, the dramatic curvilinear, chromed sculpture by Colorado/California artist Linda Fleming, alongside Seattle installation artist and sculptor Katy Stone and California textile and science-inspired artist Mary Ehrin present their silver-hued wall works. Exalting in a reflective materiality and a broad and varied connection to historical or ancient forms and traditions, the nine contemporary artists offer a luminous bridge from the familiar to the unexpected.
*A special thank you to Tom and Michelle Whitten for lending the works by the Luo Brothers and Fang Lijun.
“My sculpture is inspired by contemporary issues, as well as primitive and folk art from many cultures. Wood carving and assemblage are found in practically all cultures, and I find the connection inspiring. My approach to sculpture is a combination of figurative and abstract compositions which represent the imagination as physical forms and that combine the properties of balance and tension.” - John Buck
John Buck received a BFA from Kansas City Art Institute and School of Design, Kansas City, MO, an MFA from the University of California, Davis, and attended the well-known Skowhegan School of Sculpture and Painting. He has been the recipient of numerous honors including a National Endowment for the Arts Individual Artist Grant; a National Artists Award; an Outstanding Nationally Recognized Alumnus in Sculpture award from The Kansas City Art Institute, the Governor’s Arts Award from the Montana Arts Council; and Artist of the Year at the Yellowstone Art Museum; among others. Buck’s work has been exhibited across the US and is in many permanent collections of note, including the Museum of Modern Art; Whitney Museum of American Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Denver Art Museum; Boise Art Museum; Brooklyn Museum; Blanton Museum of Art; the University of Texas at Austin; Contemporary Art Center, Honolulu, HI; Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA; de Cordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, MA; Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Fort Wayne, IN; Holter Museum of Art, Helena, MT; Library of Congress, Washington, D. C.; Milwaukee Museum of Art, Milwaukee, WI; Missoula Art Museum, Missoula, MT; Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C.; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL; Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, CA; Joslyn Art Museum; Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City; Seattle Art Museum; Yellowstone Art Museum, Billings, Montana; San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D. C.; Snite Museum of Art, University of Notre Dame, IN; Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, WA; University of Arizona Museum of Art, Tucson, AZ; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT; and additional museums, among others.
“China’s cultural imagery of the past placed in dialogue with the Western commercial advertising of the present are both controversial and universal in methodologies. This calls into question the totalitarian approach of both Chinese and American product sponsors.”
Born in the southern province of Guangxi during China’s cultural revolution, the three Luo Brothers, Luo Wei Dong (1963), Luo Wei Guo (1964), and Luo Wei Bing (1972), trained at art school before embarking on their collaborative career in 1986. Luo Weidong attended the Guangxi Art College, Luo Weiguo studied at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, and Luo Weibing at the College of Art & Design in Beijing. The brothers have participated in the Sao Paulo Biennale (1998), New York Times Millennium Exhibition (1999), and the Sydney Art Biennale (2000), among others. Their work has been shown worldwide, including at prestigious museum venues such as the Beijing Arts Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Nanjing, and The State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, and are included in the permanent collections at many institutions including the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Fukuoka Art Museum, and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among others.
“Although the image of a bald man as an individual is distinctive, yet when they appear as a collective, the individual personality will vanish. This is for me a strong and compelling vision. For a man like me being brought up against my Chinese cultural background, the feeling of one as being neglected and ignored as an individual within the society is an intense one."
Born in 1963 in Handan, China, Fang Lijun received his formal training at the Fine Art Academy of Beijing where he studied printmaking. Fang Lijun has held exhibitions in major art museums Internationally including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; CAFA Art Museum, Chaoyang, Beijing, China; the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara, Jakarta, Indonesia; the Seattle Asian Art Museum, Seattle, Washington; the National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan; He has been featured in both the 1999 Venice Biennale and 1994 Sǎo Paulo Biennial, and his works are included in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, USA; the Centre de G. Pompidou, France; The National Gallery of Australia; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst, Germany; the CP Foundation, Indonesia; Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Japan; Shanghai Art Museum, China; the Guangdong Art Museum, China; and the He Xiangning Art Museum, China; as well as other major collections.
“The depiction of the head is the most important part of the body throughout art history. One sees the head depicted more often than the entire figure. It is where the mind resides and it is the center of intellect, thought, memory, understanding, emotional control and more. The representation of the head/face has much potential for the viewer. It is often perceived to be the mirror of the mind. It is where magic and mysteries are located; it is where our imagination resides.” - Scott Chamberlin
A professor at the University of Colorado, Scott Chamberlin has an MFA from Alfred University, Alfred, New York, and a BA from San Francisco State University. He has been the recipient of numerous honors and fellowships including a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, Creative Faculty Fellowships, the University of Colorado at Unitec in Auckland, NZ, The European Ceramic Work Centre in s’-Hertogenbosch, Holland; two National Endowment for the Arts Visual Arts Fellowships; a Colorado Council on the Arts & Humanities Visual Arts Fellowship; as well as several grants for his continuing topiary projects in northern Portugal. He has been exhibited both nationally and internationally in solo and group exhibitions including the Denver Art Museum; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver; Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art; CU Art Museum University of Colorado, Boulder; Aspen Art Museum; the Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; Taiwan Ceramics Biennale, Taipei, Taiwan; Pewabic Pottery, Detroit, Michigan; and other venues in Portugal, Sweden, New Zealand, London, and the Netherlands. Chamberlin is a sought-after visiting professor and artist-in-residence, and his work is included in the permanent collections of the CU Art Museum, University of Colorado, Boulder, International Museum of Ceramic Art, Alfred, New York, Denver Art Museum, Dordrecht Museum, Dordrecht, Holland, Everson Museum, Syracuse, New York, Museum Het Kruithuis/European Ceramic Work Centre, s'-Hertogenbosch, Holland, and Daum Museum, Sedalia, Missouri.
“I’m interested in the shared place where one can hold two seemingly opposing views at the same time in a space between naming something and having it be non-verbal. Clearly, it’s a very old idea that comes up in many philosophies and religions. I like this idea of unspoken possibility that becomes a kind of visual tolerance. At the same time, there is a willfulness in the works themselves. I love that the paint asserts itself through gravity, density and motion, and often tells me what to do in a collaboration where I am urged to relinquish my tendency to control. The familiar is upended by change and circumstance seemingly in a personal parallel with our current times.” - Barbara Takenaga
Barbara Takenaga obtained both her BFA and MFA from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Takenaga’s most recent awards include the prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, the FOR-SITE Foundation’s Wauson Fellowship, and the Eric Isenburger Annual Art Award from the National Academy Museum. Her work has been exhibited at institutions including the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Omaha, NE; MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA; Brattleboro Art Museum, VT; Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, CO; National Academy Museum, New York, NY; Philadelphia Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA; Asian Arts Initiative, Philadelphia, PA; the Huntington Museum of Art, Huntington, WV; American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, NY; and the International Print Center, New York, among others. Takenaga’s most recent professional engagements include an extensive solo exhibition at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center in Brattleboro, VT, as well as the first in-depth survey of the artist’s work mounted by the Williams College Museum of Art in Williamstown, MA, and a large-scale commissioned public project in the Neuberger Museum of Art SPACE / 42, New York, NY. She is represented in the permanent collections of The Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; The Library of Congress in Washington, DC; The Auckland Art Museum, Chapel Hill, NC; Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock; CU Art Museum, University of Colorado, Boulder; The Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA; the Fine Art Program at the Federal Reserve Board, Washington, DC, The Henry Art Gallery, Seattle; Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA; The San Jose Art Museum, CA; the Sheldon Museum of Art, Lincoln, NE; Museum of Nebraska Art, Kearney, NE; Federal Reserve Board, Washington, DC; Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA; The DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, MA; and Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation, Los Angeles, CA, among others.
“I've been involved in making as compact visual structures as I could handle; weaving many different languages in and out; two-dimensional, three-dimensional, architectural, metaphorical, allegorical, literal and abstract. I want a density in the work to have things going on in layers. I used to think that most art is kind of stingy. There is a demand in much of art to read the text panel to understand what you are experiencing. Generosity and openness are important to me, so that the viewer is not intimidated, threatened, or belittled. There’s no coming to school and feeling like you didn’t get the homework done. You can enjoy it, even if you don’t know everything about it. - Judy Pfaff
London-born artist Judy Pfaff received an M.F.A. from Yale University, a B.F.A. from Washington University, St. Louis, and an honorary Doctorate from Pratt Institute. She has been the recipient of some of the highest honors in her field including a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship, two National Endowment for the Art Grants, a Guggenheim Fellowship, International Sculpture Center Lifetime Achievement Award, Anonymous Was A Woman Award, National Academy Award for Excellence in Sculpture, a Hirshorn New York Gala Honoree, Barnett and Annalee Newman Foundation Fellowship, Nancy Graves Foundation Grant, the Dean’s Medal from the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts, Southern Graphics Council International Conference Lifetime Achievement Award, and is a member of the American Academy of Art and Letters, NY. Pfaff was invited into the Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1975. In 1998, she was selected as the US representative to the Bienal de São Paulo. Her work is included in prestigious public collections such as the Museum of Modern Art, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Whitney Museum of American Art, Albright-Knox Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Denver Art Museum, High Museum of Art, Detroit Institute of Art, Elvehjem Museum, Madison, WI, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Sun Hwa Art and Culture Foundation, Seoul, Korea and the Sammlung Ludwig, in Aachen, Germany, among many others. Pfaff has exhibited extensively in both the U.S. and abroad including solo exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; the P.S. 1 Museum, Long Island City, NY; and the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC; among many others.
“My works hint at the co-existence of the mundane and the cosmological where two realities simultaneously exist – including the possibility that the past is also present. The structures are diagrams of thought that provide a glimpse of the strangeness beyond the everyday world; opening a place where thought becomes tangible, history leaves a trace, and information exhales form. Physical sensation and perception are interdependent, and I sometimes wonder if what I am seeing is an indication of something outside of what I know or a sudden awareness of the blood vessels coursing through my eyes. Material can never fully communicate thought, which makes these elaborate constructions more poignant in their attempt than they would ever be in their articulateness.” - Linda Fleming
Linda Fleming attended the San Francisco Art Institute and Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. She was a professor at California College of the Arts from 1986 – 2017 and held the position of Sculpture Department Chair from 1988 - 2000. She has received numerous prestigious recognitions including those from the International Sculpture Center, Peter S. Reed, Adolph & Ester Gottlieb, and Pollack-Krasner foundations. Her work is in the permanent collections of Santa Clara University, the Berkeley Art Museum, Laumeier Sculpture Park, Oakland Museum of California, University of Wyoming, Stanford University Museum, and Albuquerque Museum along with additional collections both public and private. Recent noteworthy exhibitions include: Fleming’s “Confluence,” exhibited at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs and “Making Places,” exhibited at the Center for Contemporary Arts, Santa Fe, as well as her touring exhibition showcasing the artist’s extensive and intricate maquette series entitled, “Linda Fleming: Modeling the Universe” originating at the Nevada Art Museum and “Drawn To/Drawn From: A 45 Year Survey” at Oats Park Art Center, Fallon, Nevada; “Glimmer,” a site-specific sculpture for the Oakland Museum of Art, exhibited in the OMCA’s iconic sculpture gardens; and Robischon Gallery’s 2016 exhibition “DECLARATION,” in which Fleming’s work was exhibited alongside other historically-important and esteemed artists: Louise Bourgeois, Ruth Bernhard, Helen Frankenthaler, Ann Hamilton, Jae Ko, Yayoi Kusama, Joan Mitchell, Alice Neel, Shirin Neshat, Judy Pfaff, Lorna Simpson, Mickalene Thomas, and Kara Walker.
“Merging the organic and the artificial, these sculptures employ visual cues recognizable from science and fashion to create hybridized metallic forms that seek to shift perception and context, allowing for reconsideration of our environment, both earthly and extraterrestrial. The imagined objects from space are like illusions in the distance that pause or contend with reality, investigating and unearthing questions of structure, materiality, gendered patterns of consumerism, and our innate desire for understanding our origins and place in the cosmos." - Mary Ehrin
Artist Mary Ehrin obtained her BFA Magna Cum Laude from Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design and an MFA from the University of Colorado, Boulder. She is a recipient of the Getzelman Scholarship Award in Studio Arts, and a series of her luminous Molten Meteorite sculptures are permanently on display at the Art Hotel in Denver, CO and in the permanent collection of the Denver Art Museum. Her work has been exhibited at numerous museums and institutions including a solo exhibition at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, Boulder, CO; and group exhibitions at The Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO; the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, Boulder, CO; the University of Colorado Boulder Art Museum, Boulder, CO; the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, Denver, CO, among others.
“The layers of tension between substance and ethereality, growth and decay are pivotal in the work, but so is the harmony that emerges. Within each piece is the notion of the timeless, of tapping into an ongoing flow; the idea that a mark, line or shape can become a sign, symbol, or metaphor for the infinite.” - Katy Stone
Katy Stone received her BFA from Iowa State University and her MFA from the University of Washington. The artist was awarded a residency at Oxbow in Seattle, WA, and has received a Seattle Public Utilities Purchase Award, Seattle, WA; and a GAP Grant, Artist Trust, Seattle, WA; along with an Oxbow School Visiting Artist award, Oxbow School, Napa, CA; Seattle Collects Purchase Award, Seattle, WA; Missoula Trust for Artist Grant, Missoula, MT; two Best of Show awards at Pacific Northwest Annual, Bellevue Art Museum, Bellevue, WA; and many others. Stone’s work is in the collections of the Boise Art Museum; the City of Seattle; the McNay Museum, San Antonio, TX; the Missoula Art Museum; Iowa State University, IA; Michigan State University, MI; and Twin Parks, Taichung, Taiwan with large-scale installations in the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, Ann Arbor, MI; Microsoft, Redmond, WA; Twitter, San Francisco, CA; Facebook Menlo Park CA; King County Correctional Facility; Horizon House; and Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, WA; a Daniel Libeskind-designed building, The Ascent, in Covington, KY; the Federal Courthouse, Jackson, MS; the corporate offices of Conoco Phillips in Houston, TX; and the Sound Transit Light Rail South Bellevue Station, Bellevue, WA and Seattle City Light Technical Training. Stone has exhibited her work throughout the United States and abroad including solo exhibitions at the Center for Contemporary Practice, Kansas City, MO; Missoula Art Museum, Missoula, MT; and the Manhattan Beach Art Center, Manhattan Beach, CA; among others. Her work has also been featured in group exhibitions at the Sun Valley Museum of Art, Ketchum, ID; the Harnett Museum of Art; Richmond, VA; the Jacksonville Museum of Contemporary Art, Jacksonville, FL; and the Center on Contemporary Art, Seattle, WA; among others.