Valerie Hegarty and Shannon Plumb at Nicelle Beauchene


Valerie Hegarty’s recent work at Nicelle Beauchene Gallery can be described as “petrified relics.”  After recreating famous works of art that recall Pollock, Rothko, and LeWitt, Hegarty then skillfully destroys parts of the work  to suggest damage by natural events.  Starry Rothko appears to be a Mark Rothko painting singed beyond recognition by fire and heat, leaving only a smoldering vestige of what is considered a great American painting.  However, the mutilation is skillfully considered; it is shaped after an explosion in space that was captured by the Hubble telescope and illustrates Hegarty’s interests in quantum physics, alchemy, origami, Abstract Expressionism and cosmic imagery.

In Space Cubes, Hegarty measures the interior of Sol LeWitt’s Open Cubes (1” x 1” x 1”) and creates her own blocks of space from compacted paper to resemble images from the Hubble telescope.  The artist then arranges these paper chunks of space in a typical LeWitt building block formation which begin to unfurl as the structure grows in height.  The piece reveals Hegarty’s reverence toward rigid form and its relationship to philosophical and mathematical concepts yet it belies her instinct to admit that elements of chance, irrationality, and  chaos inspire the creation of such scientific systems.

Valerie Hegarty received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2002. She has shown internationally including solo shows at Guild & Greyshkul, New York; MUSEUM 52, London; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; and CTRL Gallery, Houston. Additionally, she has been included in group exhibitions at the Depart Foundation, Rome; The Drawing Center, New York and White Columns, New York. Her work is currently on view at the Brooklyn Museum as part of their permanent collection and at the Highline as part of their public art program. Hegarty lives and works in Brooklyn.

Hegarty’s show “Cosmic Collisions” will be at Nicelle Beauchene until April 11, 2010.

VIDEO LOUNGE:: Shannon Plumb, ‘Olympics (Track and Field),’ 2005

Shannon Plumb’s film based on the summer games of the Olympics channels the spirit of slapstick comedy and the physical humor of Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, and particularly Leni Riefenstahl’s Olympia.  Plumb portrays her version of the athletes in the Olympic Opening Ceremonies, track and field game sports, and warm up exercises. Employing a low-fi aesthetic by using Super-8 film, stationary camera shots, and hand-made props and costume, Plumb  exaggerates the emotions of heroics, anxiety, and pomp and circumstance that accompany the games..  Olympics is a one-woman show starring the artist as all of the characters and acting as the creative force behind  the film.

Plumb’s work has been exhibited in solo and group shows at the Brooklyn Museum of Art; the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence; and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City amongst others. Her films have been screened at festivals internationally. In 2007, her Ocularis at 10 was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

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