Mend Thine Every Flaw work by Shawn Creeden, Marshall Elliott and Rachael Starbuck

Friday, December 5, 2014 - 7:00pm to 11:00pm

Mend Thine Every Flaw work by Shawn Creeden, Marshall Elliott and Rachael Starbuck

ACRE has partnered with Heaven Gallery to host MEND THINE EVERY FLAW: works by SHAWN CREEDEN, MARSHALL ELLIOTT, & RACHAEL STARBUCK, the next installment in ACRE's year-long series of exhibitions by 2013 ACRE summer residents.

Mend Thine Every Flaw
An individual’s experience of the world is filtered through human scale and limited by human perception. In her work, Rachael Starbuck looks to the landscape as a site for understanding oneself and one's place. Our relationship to the natural environment can feel intimate because that relationship is based on our sensory experience, the touch, sounds, sights. However, the magnitude of the natural environment, the size of a mountain, or the vastness of an ocean contradict that perceived intimacy. Starbuck employs manageable, tactile moments in order to understand the world at large. Her work is often subtle and relies on humble, familiar materials. In her installation Starbuck presents two videos projected opposite one another in the gallery. In the first, Starbuck handles a sun made of plaster and paper pulp, rubbing it repeatedly and holding it in place of the actual sun. In the second, she handles a rock made of calcium carbonate, acrylic paint and glue, this time against her floral print skirt over grass. The positioning of these projections, the former high to the ceiling, connoting the sky and latter closer to the floor, connoting the earth, further connects each surrogate to its real life counterpart. Starbuck’s hands on these surrogates are an effort to physically hold or contain these monumental elements of nature in an attempt to close the distance between herself and the place they belong. Ultimately this gesture toward creating an intimacy in order to comprehend what is too large or too distant to comprehend is futile, however, Starbuck’s often repetitive, meditative process, and her presentation, in which subtle details are revealed with time, encourage contemplation from the viewer. A contemplative relationship with the environment, rather than a sensory one, may be a more intimate relationship after all.

While Starbuck revels in poignant experiences of our relationship to the landscape, Shawn Creeden’s work is occupied with the tools and techniques that humans employ in effort to control their surroundings and their experience of the world. In Creeden’s work there is an underlying question about how far humanity has gone to shape its surroundings and to what ends we understand the effects of that manipulation. Like Starbuck, Creeden also plays with scale, bringing the overwhelming travesties of pollution and the manipulation of the natural world to an uncomfortably intimate size. Utilizing traditional craft techniques and tropes of domestic spaces, Creeden’s approach opens up for a complex read on humanity’s struggle to define itself against the backdrop of its landscape throughout the ages. In his aquarium installation, Creeden creates objects that appear to be a formal exercise in minimalism or a dazzling color study. Their material components, however, include living algaes, some of which flourish dangerously in the runoff of industrial agriculture, while others are threatened by pollution and human activity or are exploited to our benefit. Similarly, Creeden’s embroideries present as gentle abstractions but take their lines and shapes from the original borders imposed on to the landscape of the American West. These borders, which seem innocuous in Creeden’s delicate abstractions, were a key part of the doctrine of Manifest Destiny and the conquest of the indigenous people, wildlife and land itself. Using the techniques of formalism and abstraction, which historically incorporate ideas of masking the author or master, Creeden highlights the keen manipulation of material by a human and uncovers the hidden histories and unseen destructions that come as the price for mastering the landscape.

Marshall Elliott’s use of the classical symbols of Heartland America hints at the ideology of self-identification through a relationship to place. Patriotism is a cultural attachment to one's homeland or devotion to one's country. Human’s have long expressed their devotion to their place through objects and symbols. National flags are probably the most universal symbol of this relationship and the American flag is a recurring motif in Elliott’s work. The traditions associated with the flag and the particularities of its use and handling are indicative of the way these symbols of patriotism are embedded in a sense of national and personal identity. In Retired Flag, Elliott dissects a retired American flag, taking each element and separating it from the whole. It is a gentle, reflective deconstruction, viewed as more of an investigation by the artist than an act of destruction. His process could be seen as very similar to the actual process of decommissioning an American flag in which the flag is disassembled and then incinerated, yet it differs in that he presents the disassembled flag for contemplation, standing in as a placeholder for a much larger concept of the country it stands for. Another recurring motif in Elliott’s work is the windmill. The American windmill played a major role in the ability for Western Expansion in the settling of the United States. Elliott plays with its history and significance by subverting its function in the video animation The American Windmill. Through his manipulation of symbols and objects that are considered truly American, Elliott’s work explores the strong human desire to take ownership of their place and the manufacture of that desire.

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MARSHALL ELLIOTT (born Eglin, Florida, 1976), lives in Oakland, CA and recently completed his MFA at the San Francisco Art Institute, where he won the Anne Bremer Memorial Prize. In addition to Bay-area galleries, he has shown work in Colorado, Oregon, and Nebraska with upcoming shows in San Francisco, Chicago, and New York.

More information about Marshall Elliott can be found at www.marshallelliott.com.

RACHAEL STARBUCK is an interdisciplinary artist from Miami, Fl working primarily with sculpture and video. Rachael received her BFA in Sculpture + Extended Media from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2011 and is currently living and working in Austin, TX. She has attended residencies at the Contemporary Artists Center at Woodside, ACRE and The Wassaic Project and has shown work in Richmond, VA, Chicago, Miami and Austin. She is currently enrolled in the MFA program at the University of Texas at Austin.

More information about Rachael Starbuck can be found at rachaelstarbuck.com.

SHAWN CREEDEN (born Newport, RI 1981) received his BFA from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2003. His work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally, including at The Headlands Center for the Arts (Sausalito, CA), Artists Space (NY, NY), Fontanelle Gallery (Portland, OR), The Filippo Gallery (Randolph-Macon College, Ashland, VA), Lamp Gallery (Tokyo), Grotto Gallerie (Brooklyn, NY), and The Manuel Izquierdo Gallery (Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland, OR). His books and multiples are held in the collections of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University, The Museum Library at MOMA, and the Cary Graphic Arts Collection at RIT. He has participated in artist residencies including Signal Fire (Portland/Gila Wilderness, NM), ACRE (Chicago/Steuben, WI), and Epicenter (Green River, UT). Creeden currently lives and works in Portland, OR.

More information about Shawn Creeden can be found at www.shawncreeden.com.

HEAVEN GALLERY established in 1997 is a non-profit arts space in Wicker Park that presents emerging artists and musicians. The gallery host 8-10 art shows and over 40 music shows a year. Heaven strives to make exhibitions and music shows accessible to the artist community by widely promoting its open proposal process. The visual art exhibitions are devoted to contemporary art, primarily sculpture painting and photography with a preference for simple smart art.

More information about Heaven gallery can be found at heavengallery.com.

ACRE (Artists’ Cooperative Residency and Exhibition) was founded in 2010 with the ambition to provide the arts community with an affordable, cooperative, and dialogue-oriented residency program. The residency itself takes place each summer in rural southwest Wisconsin and brings together artists from across disciplines and levels of experience to create a regenerative community of cultural producers. Over the course of the following year ACRE endeavors to further support its residents by providing venues for exhibitions, idea exchange, interdisciplinary collaboration, and experimental projects.

More information about ACRE can be found at www.acreresidency.org.