Artists transform everyday objects into amazing works of art in the exhibition, Out of the Ordinary, which runs through June 15. Organized by Independent Curator Rebecca Dimling Cochran, the show includes pieces by eight internationally recognized artists who use worn and often discarded materials as the building blocks of their creations.
From items as banal as water bottles, shredded tires and bubble gum, artists Chakaia Booker, Matthew Brandt, Long-Bin Chen, Willie Cole, Mary Engel, Vik Muniz, and Guerra de la Paz (the collaborative team of Alain Guerra and Neraldo de la Paz) make two and three-dimensional works that are fantastically inventive and deceivingly simple. The materials they use, however, are not merely found but chosen specifically for the symbolism or iconography that they add to the conceptual meaning of the work. For example, Chen’s sculpted portraits of important historical figures out of used books can be seen not only as a tribute to the perseverance of history but also as an acknowledgement of the advancement of technology that now makes those bound pages worthless. Similarly, Guerra de la Paz’s works, made from clothing donated in the United States and headed for Haiti, wryly satirizes the disparity between the two countries in sculptural references to the businessmen at the heart of our economic empire. Issues of collective memory, eastern religion, and the environment are also explored in the broad-ranging works.
Rebecca Dimling Cochran of Atlanta has served as curator of the Wieland Collection since 2004. She is also a freelance art critic, writing for publications including Art in America, Art & Antiques, and Sculpture Magazine. She has worked at the High Museum of Atlanta and the Jack Tilton Gallery in New York and frequently lectures on collecting and contemporary art. Cochran will moderate a panel discussion with several of the attending artists at a reception on Saturday, May 31, from 5 to 7 p.m.
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