The Edna EXPERIMENTS and Ben Pranger @Gallery Aferro




The Edna Experiments: Blithe Riley

New Media Room and Liminal Space
May 7 – June 3, 2011
Opening Reception May 7, 6-9 PM

The Edna Experiments is a multi-media installation project based on the found diaries of a rural housewife named Edna. The diaries span approximately 15 years—covering the late 1950′s to early 1970′s— and are full of meticulous everyday details but no emotions whatsoever. The books are records of an edited life, where what is preserved is terse, systematic and rooted in domestic and rural labor. Insight is gained only through repetition of action (washing, ironing, mending), as very few entries stand out above the others. In addition, Edna’s writing forces us to interpret and imagine what we assume are the missing details. That act of interpretation is a key point of interest in the project.

The diaries not only represent records of personal discipline (Edna wrote almost every day), they are also archives of banal moments that rarely get memorialized. Edna’s diaries question what constitutes a lived life. They reveal how the things we leave behind frame our lives after we die.

Blithe Riley works in video, performance & installation. Her practice investigates systems that regulate human behavior, including self-induced structures as well as those inflicted from external sources. Riley received a BFA from Alfred School of Art and Design in 1999, and an MFA from Carnegie Mellon University in 2005 where she taught courses in video and performance. In 2009 she was a resident of Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and an Aferro Studio resident in 2010. Her work has screened nationally & internationally at venues such as the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, The Kitchen, Roulette, Broadway 1602 Gallery and Monkeytown in New York City, The Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh and The European Media Arts Festival in Germany. She has taught classes at Columbia College Chicago, Parsons, and George Washington University. She lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Riley also makes site-specific video and performance work with artist Mary Coble. Together they have made work in an abandoned spring house in Maine, and in a soon-to-be demolished housing project in Northeast London. Their collaboration is represented by Conner Contemporary Art in Washington, DC. (MORE.)

Ben Pranger

Tumblecities: Ben Pranger
Project Room
May 7 – June 3, 2011
Opening Reception May 7, 6-9 PM

The work for this exhibition is made from fragments of previous sculptures and drawings. One of the perils of a mid career artist is the accumulation of stuff– boxes of failed experiments, broken and unfinished work filling the studio. After several moves, I decided to break down, reuse and cannibalize this work. I am interested in combining and transforming materials and ideas not intended to go together.
The emerging structures often suggest organic or dystopian architectural forms. Some have no up or down orientation and suggest tumbling cities adrift in the wind. Others start with a structure that is saturated and overwhelmed with poured plaster and paint like buildings exposed to extreme conditions. Sometimes the sculptures are more like paintings in the way that success emerges from failure. I work on the constructions until they become lopsided or collapse and have to be propped up or tied together. Some structures are simply intended to hold and display fragments of an idea.
Ben Pranger has shown his sculpture, works on paper and installation nationally, including recent group shows at City Without Walls and Tiger Strikes Asteroid. His work has been reviewed in publications such as Artforum, Art in America, ArtNews and Art Papers. He has participated in artist residencies at Kohler Art/Industry, Fine Arts Work Center of Provincetown, the Marie Walsh Sharpe Program,Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Aferro Studio Residency. He has received sculpture grants from the Virginia Commission for the Arts, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation. He has taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Hollins University, and currently teaches at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. (MORE.)

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