In 2013, Slinko travelled to native Ukraine, in order to reconnect with her Soviet heritage through forgotten Vladimir Lenin monuments. Instead, she found her motherland in the middle of a civil war crisis. She began to explore the old monuments, feeling a sense of nostalgia for her Soviet past, and found them toppled by protesters. Through humor and satire, she has transformed the inside of the Goat Farm’s Shoebox Gallery into an installation with large text-based drawings, and videos inspired by daily headlines and events tied to the turmoil.
“Her enthusiasm and work ethic in her practice is unparalleled, and her energy contagious,” says We curator Rachel Reese. “Slinko has a way of injecting optimism and enigma by working within site-specific contexts so I knew immediately that the Goat Farm site would be a perfect fit for her new body of work, collectively. The Shoebox Gallery and outlying sites on the Goat Farm seemed to both of us an excellent fit in terms of providing some of the Post-Soviet landscape that could reference the current turmoil in Ukraine. A lot of this work is romantic in that Slinko is reckoning and reconciling with her Soviet past through the lens of the present.”
While politically charged, the exhibition shows optimism in the visual arts mix of past and present imagery. New York City-based Slinko talks to Creative Loafing about using the drawings as a coping mechanism, bringing awareness to the current political situation, and what We means to all of us.
You went to Ukraine looking for reconnection with your heritage. Tell me about what you found and how it inspired We.
I travelled to Ukraine to document existing Lenin monuments to understand why they remained and what purpose they were now serving. My primary interest was apathy, not nostalgia. But during my trip, I encountered numerous expressions of longing for the Soviet past, especially in Donbas [Southeastern Ukraine]. I made an itinerary for documenting as many Lenin monuments as were on my way from Kiev to Mariupol. Since my return, protesters toppled some of the Lenin statues in Kiev, Kharkiv, Pereiaslav-Khmelnytskyi, and Mariupol to name a few. But some places showed resurgence of Soviet sentiments. It is always baffling to me how selective historical memory can be.
Most of the posters inside the Shoebox are humorous yet politically charged. What was your creative process behind injecting humor into these drawings?
I have been following the news closely for the last year, because I still have family living in Donbas. I was hopeful about the Maidan Revolution and Ukraine being able to leave Kremlin’s grip, but my hopes turned into disillusionment. I could have never imagined that civil war would put my hometown, Dontesk, on the global map. It is extremely hard to be connected to friends and relatives, and not being able to change their situation. The drawings started as a coping activity, if you will, something where I could unload my anger, fears, and worries. Michael Taussig speaks of drawing as an act of drawing out, out of oneself and the world, something that doesn’t quite fit within worlds. I realized that to give drawings any kind of power, any kind of meaningful existence beyond therapy they had to have a bite. Cartoons are very effective and eloquent form of critique and resistance, many drawings in the show borrow that visual language. Every day I would wake up, read the news, and just draw. The text pieces use this upside down logic of advertising and politics language. I just went with it, even though I have a big question regarding relationship between politics and art, I even asked Dan Levenson to write an essay about it.
You spread your work throughout the Goat Farm. How did the abandoned campus inspired you?
Goat Farm is an interesting place. I was immediately attracted to the idea of showing this work there. It looks like an apocalyptic industrial wasteland, but the more you explore it, the more signs of life you can find. There’s a coffee shop, there are goats, roosters, there are hairy hipsters taking care of the land and buildings. It looks like an anarchist paradise. I decided to wheat paste some black and white copies of the drawings throughout, on the rusted doors, broken windows, and an old truck covered by weeds. On one hand, I wanted to put clues on the way to the Shoebox Gallery. On the other hand, I wanted to see these politically driven drawings in an economically depleted landscape. Symbolically, there is a relationship between this kind of landscape and the body of work.
Who is the We you referring to in the exhibition? Is it the viewer and you as the artist or you and your heritage?
[Curator] Rachel Reese and I have chosen this title, "We," because it is both inclusive and divisive. It’s problematic. One can say "We" and mean [all of] humanity, or "W"’ as in "us," not them. "We" is used at large here, but in ways that are entangled, relational, inseparable. ... I embody several mindsets: one as an ex-pat Ukrainian, one as ethnically Russian, and one as an American. It’s a bit paradoxical. Whether we like it or not, we are all bound to the same planet, we were all somehow touched by flames in Kiev. I hope that these drawings and videos give ways to relate to something underneath the headlines, to something deeply human, like solidarity.
We. Through Oct. 25. Free. By appointment. The Goat Farm Arts Center, 1200 Foster St. N.W. 404-213-5891. www.v-for-v.com.
More than 900 feet of photography has come to the Atlanta Beltline.
Currently installed along the Eastside Trail through November, "The Fence" is a juried exhibit featuring works from 40 international photographers. Now in its third year, it's displaying simultaneously in Boston (at Rose F. Kennedy Greenway) and Brooklyn (at Brooklyn Bridge Park). But this is the first time "The Fence" has come to Atlanta, thanks in part to a partnership between Atlanta Celebrates Photography and United Photo Industries of NY.
For a full preview of the photographers included and their works, check out "The Fence" online. If you're trying to catch it IRL, the exhibit is located on the Eastside Trail between Kevin Rathbun Steak (154 Krog Street) and North Highland Ave., according to Jenny Odom of the Atlanta Beltline.
A quiet driveway in suburban Decatur might seem like an unlikely spot for the construction of a 21st-century pyramid. But for Fabian Williams it's only natural.
We're standing under his carport on a Monday afternoon as he points out the details of his months-in-the-making monument, designed to pay tribute to one of Atlanta's most treasured cultural exports.
He’s in the process of building a Dungeon Family Pyramid. And it’s every bit as iconic as it sounds. Inspired in part by his esoteric interests in alternative history, afrofuturism and numerology, it’s scheduled upon completion for a year-long installation in the Art on the Beltline project.
But before he can complete it, he needs to finance it.
“Turns out building pyramids are expensive,” he says with a laugh. So he’s come up with a novel idea. After coming up short of his $10,000 Kickstarter campaign, Williams has conceived a new way to finance the pyramid’s completion: He’s starting a pyramid scheme.
Atlanta-based artist Jessica Caldas says her goal has never been to shock people. Primarily a printmaker, Caldas' work typically revolves around having people share stories, connect with each other, and, in the process, spark conversations about bigger social issues.
As one of 11 artists selected for the prestigious 2014 Walthall Fellowship, Caldas' piece "Four letter word" is included in Part 1 of a collaborative exhibition at Downtown's Gallery 72, a secondary City Hall building. "Four letter word," according to Caldas' artist statement, explores her "relationship with three gendered insults, SLUT, CUNT, and BITCH and surveys the words' overlapping historical, and social contexts while acknowledging this exploration comes through the lens" of her own perspective.
The installation features life-sized letters, hand-sewn, in reds, pinks, and cream colors, on cushions wrapped in bedsheets. The fabric has hand-written messages and phrases often heard in victim blaming and slut-shaming: "Don't be a prude."; "She was asking for it."; "She lured them in."; "She was dressed such a way."
Though Caldas has received praise and positive feedback from the folks behind the fellowship (the Bernard A. Zuckerman Museum of Art in partnership with WonderRoot and the Mayor's Office of Cultural Affairs), not everyone in the community viewed her work as "art." This much was clear in the Fox 5 news package on what they referred to as Caldas' "Kama Sutra Exhibit."
Today marks the end of Part 1 of the Fellowship Exhibition's run at Gallery 72, which includes "Four letter word." Creative Loafing caught up with Caldas about the inspiration behind her piece, the somewhat slanted news coverage that followed, and what everyone can learn from her experience.
In a message to friends and colleagues, Fay Gold announced she will be closing her gallery space inside the Westside Cultural Arts Center (WCAC).
"I have succeeded in my mission to re-enter the gallery world of Atlanta and thank you for your outpouring of love and support," Gold wrote.
An accomplished art dealer and gallerist, Gold closed her Buckhead gallery in 2009, but came out of retirement four years later to run the 12,000-square-foot space inside the WCAC. The Fay Gold Gallery has shown work by art world heavyweights such as Helmut Newton and Keith Haring. In her message, Gold wrote that she is moving on to complete her book, Basquiat's Cat, and resume her art consulting business. Gold's last day at the gallery will be Tues., Sept. 16, for the end of Mike and Doug Starn's No Mind, No Thinks, Not Things photo exhibit.
At the end of her message, Gold thanked the artists who have made the gallery's last year one to remember: "Notice to my Artists...Getting to know you has been the highlight of my year. Please pick up all work by September 15, 2014. Thanks for being you!!!XXX"
Dashboard Co-op has announced that Co-Founder Courtney Hammond will become the organization's full-time creative director. Effective immediately, the news comes as Dashboard is set to announce forthcoming local exhibitions at their three North Avenue and Spring Street galleries, a winter show, and several "strange surprises over the next two months," according to a release.
Broken Window Theory's Hank Samuels rarely misses a Georgia Bulldogs game. The artist says he's been rooting for the Dawgs his entire life, so when junior running back Todd Gurley II went full beast mode against Clemson last Saturday he decided to honor the amazing performance.
"I think any UGA fan would have done the same if they could, we've been hurting for a national championship for 34 years (the last one was 1980), and I think we have the chance to do something really special again this year," says Samuels, a former CL arts intern, who painted a mural of Gurley II in an "undisclosed location."
Samuel's piece has since made the rounds on sports websites and blogs, and even got response from Gurley. Creative Loafing spoke to Samuels via email about his mural.
The Hudgens Prize visual arts competition is back, and so is that whopping $50,000 award. One of the largest art awards given in the entire nation, the Hudgens Prize is open only to Georgia residents. The last prize was awarded in 2013, to environmentalist Pam Longobardi. Gyun Hur was the first to win the award in 2011.
The High Museum of Art's folk and self-taught art initiatives got a huge boost this week.
The museum announced that is has received a $2.5 million gift from Atlanta-based patrons Dan Boone and his late wife Merrie Boone to support the initiatives, including the endowment of a permanent, full-time curatorial position to lead the department. With the gift, all seven of the collecting departments at the High have a full-time endowed curatorial position.
You have probably seen their art smeared on the sides of buildings or even popping up on your news feed: colorful cat shapes with mismatched eyes, a robot-like face. Atlanta artists Catlanta and Evereman are known citywide for their modern take on graffiti - and also for their notorious elusiveness.
Luckily for us, these two artists are collaborating on a pop-up shop happening this weekend, and this weekend only. Starting today and running through Sunday, Catlanta and Everemen will be setting up shop at 482 Edgewood Ave., and selling a wide range of pieces including apparel, art, prints, and stickers.
This is a pretty rare opportunity to not only meet the artists, but also find one-of-a-kind collaborations that will only be available at the pop -up shop. One such piece features Catlanta's quirky feline illustration, colored in vividly with Evereman-esque squares and the easily recognizable robot face.
The shop's is opening today includes a launch party at 8 p.m., which will feature art drops, screenings, and (of course) music to shop to. If you're lucky, you'll get a chance to talk with the notoriously elusive artists face-to-face. The Catlanta/Evereman pop-up shop hours are this Fri., from 8 p.m.-midnight; Sat., from 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sun., from noon-6 p.m.
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