Jen Aitken and Margaret Priest
Material Matters: Investigations into Place and Placement
Opening Reception: Thursday, November 30, 2017, 6-8pm
December 1, 2017 – January 27, 2018
Georgia Scherman Projects presents Material Matters: Investigations into Place and Placement a two-person exhibition featuring Jen Aitkenand Margaret Priest. This pairing is both oppositional (flat and in the round, descriptive and abstract) and comparative or akin (material driven, built world driven, cool and reserved).
Jen Aitken is an emerging artist of considerable promise; Margaret Priest has exhibited for almost half a century. Aitken strives after obscuring the particular. Priest is heavily invested in evincing the particular.
Aitken courts revelation slowly through a three-dimensional encounter, both personally in her initial response to place and then professionally as she endeavours to shape her viewer’s response to the objects she constructs.
Priest acknowledges and affirms the particularity of place through acts of intensely graphic and physically repetitive mark making that allow her – and her viewer – to experience place as it lives on as a place in the imagination.
Aitken and Priest mine remarkably similar territory, but bring markedly different matter to the surface.
“My core drive as an artist is to encourage intuitive intelligence. I aim to subvert language and interpretation in order to emphasize direct experience,” Jen Aitken.
Over the last several years, Jen Aitken has developed a restricted geometric vocabulary and built up a personal visual lexicon. Aitken’s language, while having been drawn from her firsthand experience of the everyday built environment, is rigorously resistant to definitive reference.
A body of defiantly independent, persistently ambiguous and captivatingly idiosyncratic objects is the consequence of such rigour of intent. Around these works - in the absence of any overt particularities of reference - the profound meaning and value of experience is allowed to develop and accumulate.
“My work stems from a compulsion to engage with matter - both material and metaphysical - and I do so by way of the materiality of the drawing process. I am compelled by concrete and chaos, by marble and mayhem, by the real and the remembered – by their contradictions and their mutual dependence. Their yes and no is the tension at the centre of consciousness.” Margaret Priest.
Known for drawings and three-dimensional critiques of modernism and the built world, Priest works at the intersections of architecture, design, urban histories and personal memory. In investigating both the aesthetic and cognitive condition of modernist architecture, its environments, and materials, her work succeeds in capturing the complex way people interact with these spaces and portrays the human experience of them. Through black and white pencil drawings, prints and constructions - Priest challenges the relationship of the body to the spaces they describe. Questioning the dehumanization of modern society and evoking a sense of isolation in the viewer, Priest manages to shift the perceptions and articulate the interaction between the viewer and the architectural environment.