The Siege of the Flying Mermaids, Stefana McClure
Opening reception: Thursday, November 12, from 6 to 8pm
November 12, 2015 – January 9, 2016
Josée Bienvenu Gallery is pleased to present The Siege of the Flying Mermaids, Stefana McClure’s fourth solo exhibition with the gallery. Translating, transposing, and decoding the synesthetic structure connecting text and image, Stefana McClure unveils the layers of embedded information to which we are constantly subjected. Fragmentation, obliteration, and reconstruction of information characterize her work.
A series of comic books, sliced and rejoined as continuous lengths of paper yarn, are knitted back into their original panels and strips. Spiderman faces off against a villain with near-impenetrable skin, Captain America clashes with the embodiment of Nazi intimidation, Tintin and his friend Captain Haddock embark on an expedition to the Caribbean, while Wonder Woman, in the 1947 DC comics release that gives the exhibition its title, battles an evil group of mermaids created from tiny sharks. Astérix and Obélix, and vintage Sunday funnies also appear in the multi-paneled hand knit reconstructions.
The Simpsons: The Complete First Season is a group of thirteen Films on Paper. The bright yellow drawings embody the closed captions to each episode, capturing the subversive cheerfulness that underpins the entire Simpsons cartoon series. Made of transfer paper mounted on cotton rag, the drawings are minimal compositions of two blurred lines at the bottom of a monochromatic field. Each drawing consists of the superimposition of the subtitles of an entire episode. The dimensions match those of the screen of the MacBook Air on which the season was viewed. McClure traces scene after scene of spoken dialogue, removing pigment from the paper with each transcription, ultimately condensing the entire text from the full season so that it can be viewed at once, impossible to decipher.
Kurt’s Kerouacs is an ongoing project deconstructing a friend’s Jack Kerouac library and reconfiguring each book as a continuous ball of string. Dennis McNally’s Desolate Angel: Jack Kerouac, the Beat Generation, and America, Victor-Lévy Beaulieu’s Jack Kerouac: a Chicken Essay and Baby Driver: a novel about Myself are among the volumes included in this group of sculptures.
In the project room, Mini Market comments on corporate blindness to colorblindness, highlighting the predicament of the colorblind shopper. Many manufacturers doggedly continue to rely on color-coding to differentiate their products, often employing red and green, despite the fact that red-green colorblindness is the most prevalent form, effectively hiding their message from 8% of the population. Here supermarket shelving is stacked with color-coded packages: Swiss Muesli (the green one has no added sugar), Apple Jacks, Froot Loops and Miracle-Gro (red and green for tomatoes, purple and blue for acid-loving plants like Azalea, Camellia and Rhododendron). Tide liquid laundry detergent, Dixie everyday and heavy duty plates, classic red Coca-Cola cans and their eco green “healthy” Coca-Cola Life counterparts, and various potted plants, including small Bird’s Nest Ferns and a six foot Weeping Fig, are also featured. The products have been riddled with thousands of handmade holes, a pointillist pattern of circular dots based on the iconic form of Ishihara colorblind tests.
Born in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, in 1959, Stefana McClure lives and works in New York. Recent exhibitions include: Possible Side Effects, Arróniz Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City, MX (2015); Redacted: connecting dots in a shifting field, curated by Janet Goleas, Islip Art Museum, East Islip, NY (2014); Art=Text=Art at UB Anderson Gallery, University at Buffalo, NY (2014) which travelled from the University of Richmond Museum, VA, the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University, NJ, and The Hafnarfjör∂ur Centre of Culture and Fine Art, Iceland (2013); Contemporary Monochromes, Contemporary Galleries, Museum of Modern Art, New York (2013); Science is FICTION, Bartha Contemporary, London (2013), Terrible Beauty: Art, Crisis, Change & The Office of Non-Compliance, Dublin Contemporary, Ireland (2011); Wünsche und Erwerbungen, Zeitgenössische Zeichnung, Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany (2010); ALL OVER THE MAP, John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI (2009); BLOWN AWAY, Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, IL (2008); Uncoordinated: Mapping Cartography in Contemporary Art, Contemporary Art Center, Cincinnati, OH (2008); Leaded: The Materiality and Metamorphosis of Graphite (traveling to 7 University Museums) (2008-2009). Her work is included in numerous public collections including: The Museum of Modern Art, NY; Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, MA; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; The Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT; Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Germany; Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany; Baltimore Museum of Art, MD; and Seattle Art Museum, WA.