02 Jul THE IRIDESCENT YONDER- SUE WRBICAN
The Iridescent Yonder will open First Friday, July 2nd, 2021.
Exhibit run: July 2nd – August 19th, 2021 in the Craddock-Terry Gallery at Riverviews Artspace.
SUE WRBICAN – THE IRIDESCENT YONDER
FEATURING CLAIRE MCCONAUGHY AND MATT WRBICAN WITH PHIL ROSTEK AND JAMES NELSON
FUNDED IN PART BY THE SCHOOL OF ART AT GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY
The Iridescent Yonder is a reimagining of elements from artist Sue Wrbican’s prior installations integrated with paintings made by family and friends. The new configuration of sails will act as viewing stations for a painting forecasting a different world Fragile Rainbow, by Claire McConaughy (2021) and a sculptural relief comprised of discarded plastic, Oil Tanker, originally created by Matt Wrbican, Phil Rostek and James Nelson (1991).
This exhibition is supported in part by the School of Art at George Mason University, the Gillespie Research Fellowship with Michelle Smith and additional assistance from Adrian Scalzo, Liz Kartchner, Annie Chen, Sisc Johnson, Emily Fussner and Harry Mayer. The artist would also like to express gratitude to Helen Frederick and Reading Road Studio in Silver Spring, Maryland.
See more of Sue Wrbican’s portfolio on her website: www.suewrbican.com
In 1990, my brother, Matt Wrbican, created Oil Tanker, a mixed-media relief work composed of consumer grade plastic objects. Matt’s fellow artists Phil Rostek, painted the sea with tar, and James Nelson, the sky. The work was part of their collaborative exhibition The Labyrinth at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. Afterwards the work went safely into storage until 2020. Today, over 30 years later, the critique they made then is still relevant with regard to oil, war, capitalism, consumerism and the environment. Throughout Matt’s life these concerns remained with him. As the archivist for the Andy Warhol Museum, he once curated a group show for the museum entitled 6 Billion Perps Held Hostage! Artists Address Global Warming (2007).
In 2019, Matt passed away from a lengthy battle with brain cancer and 6 weeks later my mother, Annabell, passed as well. I made small sculptures from shipping detritus and shredded medical bills and processed my compounded grief. During the Covid-19 winter of 2021, I cast hundreds of fishlike forms in my kitchen with handmade paper that contained bits of my mother’s sensitive information. Working in this quiet, repetitive, meditative process opened more possibilities. I then formed clay fish to be photographed as if they were swimming. Thinking of my brother, his work, and his now and forever absence, I imagined the fish turning into a comet.
Expressly for this exhibition, Claire McConaughy, Matt’s lifelong friend, created Fragile Rainbow in response to Oil Tanker and my intended installation. Matt’s and Claire’s two works face one another and continue their conversation regarding an artistic response to environmental problems. Fragile Rainbow reflects the turbulent time of climate change and loss, and offers a glimmer of hope in the rainbow that protects a troubled waterscape, while also navigating the overall nautical installation.
Sue Wrbican is an Associate Professor and Director of Photography at the School of Art at George Mason University. She has an MFA in Photography from the Rhode Island School of Design and a BA in English Writing with a concentration in poetry from the University of Pittsburgh. Her studio is in the Monroe Street ArtsWalk in the Brookland neighborhood of Washington, DC. Wrbican has held artist residencies at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation in Captiva, Florida; Kala Art Institute in Berkeley, California; The Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach, Florida; and STUD Residency in Catlett, Virginia. She is a founding member of the Floating Lab Collective whose projects have been exhibited widely in venues such as ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany, and the Nathan Cummings Foundation, New York.
View IRIDESCENT YONDER here