By: Olivia Bonilla
Join Miller Gallery on February 8, 2019 from 6-8 PM for the opening of Alternate Dimensions. This exhibit will feature three new faces to the gallery: Elise Thompson, Mar Hester, and Angela Chrusciaki Blehm, who will debut sculptural paintings, photographs, and assemblage pieces, respectively. In addition, Miller Gallery’s own Olivia Bonilla will bring a new twist to her whimsical cupcake sculptures. In Alternate Dimensions, there are no rules. A photograph could become a sculpture while a cupcake might be a few feet tall. Alternate Dimensions is Miller Gallery’s love letter to unconventional fine art.
Oversized diamonds, Hot Wheels, and splashes of glitter adorn generous heaps of frosting. Olivia Bonilla’s cupcakes have always rebelled against the norm with a sweet and sour attitude: defiant, proud, and now a bit taller than before. Bonilla’s latest cupcakes are stacked in skyscraper fashion into a tower of cement “icing.” One might question the unconventional size and scale of her sculptures. With Bonilla’s healthy dose of whimsy, these cupcakes can’t take themselves too seriously. The artist explains, “There’s a feeling of exaggerated indulgence, playing with the theme ‘over the top.’ The kid in all of us that wants to mound their ice cream to the sky.” Gypsum cement bridges the gap between painting and sculpture for the artist. Bonilla must sculpt each quickly before the material hardens. While cement could be seen as masculine, Bonilla’s cupcakes are juicy and feminine. You’ll want to look at these extravagant confections from every angle.
Angela Chrusciaki Blehm began with a fascination for vintage signage. From there she expanded into her own wood assemblages. Each work is graphic in its use of color and line-work. Her layering of wooden forms and her use of exaggerated perspective give each piece a dynamic, dimensional presence. Blehm pulls inspiration from regular routines, the patterns of life, daydreams, and the idea of “color as antidote.” Perfected lines and use of structure reference regimentation, but are simultaneously balanced with elegant, abstract shadows. This push and pull gives each piece satisfying energy. In Alternate Dimensions, Blehm will exhibit new assemblage works that have not been exhibited to the public before.
Elise Thompson is an abstract painter. She has also been a figure skater, dancer, art handler, professor, curator, and co-directed a gallery. A well-rounded creative, the performative elements from her background explain her inclination to test the boundaries of her medium. Painting on translucent materials like chiffon and clear vinyl, her paintings exist on both the front and back of each canvas. Thompson explains, “These translucent surfaces call on the problems of transparency: both the physical and the figurative.” The tension between concealing and revealing is obvious. She juxtaposes indulgence with omission as she chooses where to lay thick pours of taffy-like paint. Other portions of the surface are left blank for the viewer to see right through her canvas. In Alternate Dimensions, Thompson will exhibit work from both 2016 and 2018 allowing the viewer to see evolutionary shifts and reoccurring threads.
Mar Hester’s sculptural photographs are otherworldly and unexpected. Her work features a range of extreme environments, having photographed a variety of places from arctic tundras to deserts. Working with digital photographs, she mounts each to a sheet of aluminum and then folds them into origami-like sculptures. Whether floating out from the wall or free-standing, these previously “flat” photographs become three dimensional objects. Hester says, “My work challenges what the viewer considers familiar – for it is only through the reconsideration of the familiar that we can truly evolve.” Furthermore, what can we consider a photograph? What can we consider a sculpture?
The great thing about art is that it can take any form. In February at Miller Gallery, Elise Thompson, Mar Hester, Angela Chrusciaki Blehm, and Olivia Bonilla carry the audience into another dimension.
Join us on February 9, 2019 from 6-8 PM. Artist talks will take place the following day on February 10, 2019 at 11 AM-12 PM. All are welcome!
Opening Reception: February 8, 2019, 6-8 PM
Artist Talks: February 9, 2019, 11 AM – 12 PM