Pushing Buttons

January 24th – March 10th, 2018

Opening reception: Wednesday, January 24, 6-8pm

Curated by Benjamin Wright

Featuring work by:
Ian Burns
Jim Campbell
John Roach
Lili Maya and James Rouvelle
Paul DeMarinis
Sunita Prasad
Sarah and Robert Beck

The expanded use of glass as an artistic medium emerged in the late sixties, roughly coinciding with the rise to prominence of New Media, a movement that explores advancements in technology through artistic innovations. Since then, New Media and glass developed in a similar trajectory: their nascent periods of direct (if somewhat sloppy) material experimentation were followed by increasingly slick expressions of skill for skill's sake. And in their current midlife iteration, both have landed in realm of mature introspection, where craft is deftly applied to concept.  

Pushing Buttons explores the work of contemporary artists who are utilizing glass in conjunction with New Media. Featured works include Jim Campbell’s “rhythmically distorted” photographs: Portrait of my Mother, 1996, and Portrait of my Father, 1994–1995. In each piece, Campbell presents an image of one of his parents encased in glass and connected by metal wire to an auditory recorded of the artist’s heartbeat. The glass surrounding the images becomes opaque in time with the rhythm of the heartbeat. Also shown in the exhibition is Paul DeMarinis’s sound piece for de forest, 2016–17, in which a heating element forces air through wall-mounted glass tubes tuned to neutral thirds, creating an array of rich tones.

The artists presented in this exhibition hail from myriad backgrounds, yet all share an inherently hybridized and inquisitive approach to making and thinking. Their intuitive and exploratory artistic practices have allowed them to integrate the endless creative and conceptual possibilities of combining glass with New Media, resulting in works that maximize the potentials of each.

About the Curator: Benjamin Wright is an artist and curator based in Brooklyn. His background in evolutionary biology figures strongly in his artwork, which delves deeply into the ever-evolving relationship between humans and their environment. His work has most recently been exhibited at the Center for Book Arts, WPA Architects Gallery and The Shelburne Museum. Curatorial projects included The New Classics at the Islip Art Museum, the 2017 New Glass Review published by Corning Museum, and the forthcoming Symbiotic Spheres at the Museum of American Glass at Wheaton Arts. He has taught his unique approach to artmaking at numerous schools including Pilchuck Glass School, Penland School of Craft, Ox Bow School of Art and the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and abroad in Germany, Turkey, Australia, Denmark, Poland and Japan. Wright is currently the Director of Education at UrbanGlass.

Event Schedule
January 24th – March 10th, 2018
Agnes Varis Art Center
647 Fulton St
Brooklyn, NY 11217