We are pleased to present drawings by Jim Toia, paintings by Blanche Nettles Powers, and videos by Peter O’Kennedy. In addition to referencing nature, all three artists share a common bond in their methodologies. O’Kennedy’s videos record the serendipitous traces of his subject; just as Toia and Nettles Powers record traces of mushroom spores and Spanish moss. They all rely partially on chance occurrences.
Over the past decade, Toia has cultivated his interest in mushrooms and the physical capture of their spores. His spore drawings are unique examples of his partnership with nature. Decades ago, he saw his first scientific spore print. In a controlled environment, a mycologist allows a mushroom to drop its spores for the purpose of scientific study. Toia’s spore drawings are deliberately executed under less controlled conditions. His manipulations combined with chance occurrences lead to surprising results and unworldly imagery. Only a few of his numerous attempts pass his rigorous standards of approval for his art.
Fascinated by Savannah’s iconic and beloved Spanish moss, Nettles Powers’ imagery is a culmination of numerous years of examinations and experimentation with this profuse flowering plant. Using a restrained palette, she successfully conveys the animate quality of Spanish moss, forcing viewers to see this ubiquitous organic material from a fresh perspective. Drenched with india ink, moss is folded into sheets of unprimed canvas. The moss is discarded and the ink process repeated until a desired effect is achieved. Employing a poetic distortion of the media, Nettles Powers removes Savannah’s iconic plant from its familiar vertical pose, strung like frazzled tinsel on the limbs of live oaks.
O’Kennedy’s work tends to be time-based and takes the form of installations and the moving image, with a chance element often activating the work. A leaning towards the philosophy of the absurd motivates the artist, leading to a precarious relationship with meaning and purpose both in the content of the work and in the production of art.
Mowing Cricky’s House (2012) Single channel HD video, 12.5 minutes.
An incredible building sits unfinished and with the appearance of being abandoned, surrounded by artificial lakes and carefully maintained gardens, in a hidden location in County Meath, Ireland. The house is the work of a man called Cricky, who has been building it for years and claims he will finish it. A gardener has been employed throughout to keep the lawns mowed.
Tracking Beacon NY12508 (2007) Single channel video, 104 minutes.
An abandoned railway track runs through the town of Beacon, New York. A miniature camera mounted on a small machine built to ride the track records an extreme close up of one of the tracks as it enters, passes through, and leaves the town. As the machine carries the camera along the track (as the track tracks itself), the sun goes down and the piece ends in darkness.