You be Frank, and I’ll be Earnest

8 April – 4 June 2016

Glasgow Sculpture Studios (GSS) is pleased to present You be Frank, and I’ll be Earnest, a two-person exhibition of new works by artists Alisa Baremboym (b.1982, Soviet Union) and Liz Magor (b. 1948, Canada) for Glasgow International 2016. This is the first presentation in a UK institution of either artist, for which both have produced new works on site at GSS, taking advantage of the first-class sculptural facilities and workshops.

Of different generations and contexts, their work is not bound by a particular school of thought, location, or aesthetic, but rather by concerns that similarly permeate each practice. These interests may not be immediately apparent but run through the work of both artists—the fragile relationship between the corporeal and material; slippage between object and image; and interactions between the industrial and organic. The result, in work by both, is an uncanny presence, which can be simultaneously comforting and unsettling. In a common approach to making, both Baremboym and Magor develop their ideas through exploration and an acute understanding of their respective materials. They share a fascination with the materiality of the world, dissolving its hierarchies. Their works pose questions to the viewer, asking us to look closely, interrogating our relationship with material—both physical and emotional.

Magor has been working in sculpture since the mid-1970s. Her work examines the unstable character of objects, ideas and human beings, exploring how information is shaped and made ostensible. Selecting objects that have perhaps been loved once and then discarded—such as soft toys, clothing, accessories—she questions our desire, and sometimes compulsion, for seeking emotional and physical comfort through proximity to these material objects. However, her chosen subjects remain at a distance to us as viewers—their origins unknown—and yet we sense they possess memory. Their condition is both obscure and specific. The sculptures therefore sit in an uncertain place, at a distance from reality, or, as Magor states, ‘in a space between the mould and the cast’.

Where Magor’s sculptures may assimilate the real, Baremboym’s are hybrids of the industrial fused with the organic, which can be hard to read due to their indeterminate materiality and abstracted nature. Perforated steel, conductive gel, copper wire, unglazed ceramics and plastics all appear in her works on display here at GSS. These materials are present in the make-up our contemporary environment and yet are often unnoticed, or not considered of particular significance. Her interest lies in the inevitable leakage between our bodies and these industrial substances. The notion of heat binds this new body of work; its transfer and associated loss of energy. Heat is essential to the production processes which form each of these materials, and is again used again by the artist in the process of transforming them into art works. This process becomes an equally important aspect of the work as the finished sculpture. In her work Baremboym attempts to articulate a post-industrial or post-technological state where the boundaries between our bodies and those external (un-natural) materials are in constant flux.

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Alisa Baremboym (b.1982 in Moscow, Soviet Union) lives and works in New York, USA. Solo shows include: Conflict (Process), 47 Canal, New York, USA (2015); Vitrine: Alisa Baremboym, JOAN, Los Angeles, USA (2015). Group shows include: Künstlerhaus, Graz, Austria, and the Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin; Taipei Biennial, Taiwan (2014); Hessel Museum Bard CCS, Annandale-on-Hudson, USA; UCCA, Beijing; Beaux-arts de Paris, Paris; Fridericianum, Kassel; MoMA PS1, Queens; Sculpture Center, Long Island City.

Liz Magor (b. 1948, Canada) lives and works in Vancouver, Canada. Since the early 1970’s Magor has had numerous solo exhibitions, most recently Six Ways to Sunday #06, Peephole, Milan (2015); Surrender, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (2015); Liz Magor: A Thousand Quarrels, Presentation House Gallery, Vancouver (2014); No Fear No Shame No Confusion, Triangle, Marseille (2013). Recent group exhibitions include MashUp: The Birth of Modern Culture, Vancouver Art Gallery (2016), Walks and Displacements, Andrew Kreps, New York (2015), A view believed to be yours, Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver (2015). Magor exhibited at documenta 8, Kassel, Germany (1987) and represented Canada at the Venice Biennale (1984). Upcoming exhibitions include le Crédac, Ivry-sur-Seine, France and a retrospective at Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (2016) touring to the Migros Museum of Contemporary Art, Zürich and the Kunstverein in Hamburg (2017).

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This exhibition is generously supported by Glasgow International 2016, The Henry Moore Foundation and The Elephant Trust.