Artist Jesse Bransford, known for installations that playfully and provocatively unite iconic images from science and popular culture will create one of his unique, site-specific paintings in Carnegie Museum. Bransford's painting will cover the walls of the Forum Gallery from floor to ceiling and incorporate images of objects from the collections of Carnegie Museum of Art and Carnegie Museum of Natural History.
Where from Here? (????????)
Artist Jesse Bransford, known for installations that
playfully and provocatively unite iconic images from science and popular
culture will create one of his unique, site-specific paintings in Carnegie
Museum of Art's Forum Gallery. The exhibition will be on view March 16
through June 15; and before the opening of the show, visitors can observe
Bransford creating the work during his two-and-a-half week residency at the
Bransford's painting will cover the walls of the Forum Gallery from floor to ceiling and incorporate images of objects from the collections of Carnegie Museum of Art and Carnegie Museum of Natural History. The altered scale and arrangement of the images in the finished work-unmoored from chronology and context and mingling freely with each other-is intended to challenge our notions about the status and role of the museum in our culture. Bransford titles the work "Where from Here? (?Âµf?ÃŸ???)." The Greek word ?Âµf?ÃŸ??? (um FEE vee ee) means "amphibious," or "of two worlds." It refers to the divergent and sometimes difficult-to-reconcile spiritual and material realms of human existence.
To design "Where from Here? (?Âµf?ÃŸ???)," Bransford photographed hundreds of objects in the collections of the two museums and evaluated each as a possible source for the painting. After exploring connections and narrowing the field to images with the potential to generate meaning linked to several themes, he worked out a design. In the finished work, the choice and arrangement of visual elements will encourage associations that range freely over history, art, and science, touching on subjects from the ecological drama of human vs. nature to the cultural evolution of New Age mysticism.
Among the images Bransford selected, visitors to Carnegie Museum of Art may recognize Athena, from the Hall of Architecture, a cast of an ancient Greek sculpture depicting the goddess of wisdom and the arts; details from John White Alexander's The Crowning of Labor (1907), a massive, dramatic mural that allegorizes the contributions of industrial workers, as well as those of Andrew Carnegie, to progress; the floating mountain of ice from Frederic Edwin Church's painting, The Iceberg (1891); and the high-arched footbridge from La Villette (c. 1895), William Glackens's impressionistic painting of a working class Parisian neighborhood. Images of objects from Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Bransford's work include skeletons of two dinosaurs, Apatosaurus louisae and Diplodocus carnegii, a species discovered on an Andrew Carnegie-funded dig and named for him, as well as beetles from the Hall of Insects, a diagram of an isometric crystal formation from Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems, an African wild dog from the Hall of African Wildlife, and a cluster of Destroying Angel mushrooms from Botany Hall.
According to Elizabeth Thomas, curator of the exhibition and Carnegie Museum of Art's assistant curator of contemporary art, Bransford's work purposely ignores conventional boundaries between disciplines in order to test cherished assumptions. "Jesse manipulated this rich material, isolating the images from their original context, and recombined them in ways that elicit narrative and compositional relationships," she explained. "Rather than offering a single narrative of his own making, Bransford sets up a proposition for viewers to make meaning for themselves by considering the multiplication of symbolic associations."
During the artist's residency, which begins February 27, visitors will be able to watch Bransford at work in the Forum Gallery and compare his progress with a layout of the finished painting. A small team of assistants, comprised of a member of the museum's exhibition staff and students from Carnegie Mellon University, will help Bransford paint the finished work onto the wall. At the close of the exhibition, "Where from Here? will be painted over to prepare for the next exhibition.
Programs A Lunch & Learn program, where visitors can meet the artist, examine the work in progress, and discuss Bransford's art and methods is scheduled for March 7, when the artist will be midway through the process of painting. The fee for the program includes lunch in the Carnegie CafÃ©. Call 412.622.3131 for more information. The exhibition will also have a special gallery guide directing children to the images that inspired Bransford, as well as a series of family-oriented gallery activities planned for Saturdays.
Twenty-nine year old Brooklyn artist Jesse Bransford graduated with honors from Parsons School of Design with a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in Painting, received a Bachelor of Arts degree in History of the Sciences from The New School for Social Research, holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Columbia University, and currently teaches at New York University.
Image:Jesse Bransford, American, b. 1972, "Where from Here? (????????) ," 2002, detail
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