Press Releases

August 2009

Uncharted
Featuring work by Radcliffe Bailey, Olaf Breuning, Anna Conway, Mark Essen, Adam Frelin, Valerie Hegarty, David Herbert, Emre Hüner, Matt Leines, and Cameron Martin.

On view at the University Art Museum
September 15 through December 13, 2009
Artists’ reception: Tuesday, September 15, 5-7 pm

Art & Culture Talks (ACT) Program: Lecture by Sarah Thornton, author of Seven Days in the Art World (2008)
Thursday, November 5, 7 pm
University Art Museum, Fine Arts Building
Co-sponsored by New York State Writers Institute

Free and open to the public.

ALBANY, NY--- The University Art Museum is pleased to present Uncharted, featuring ten contemporary artists whose work considers the potentialities and perils of navigating unfamiliar waters. The featured artists are Radcliffe Bailey, Olaf Breuning, Anna Conway, Mark Essen, Adam Frelin, Valerie Hegarty, David Herbert, Emre Hüner, Matt Leines, and Cameron Martin.
Transcending geographic exploration, the artists in Uncharted propose an imagined world of discovery and adventure that often parallels the artistic process itself.  They deploy various media including photography, painting, drawing, installation, sculpture, film, and video games in artwork that is rife with possibility, fraught with anxiety, and ultimately, tempered by absurdity. Such are the results of beginning any new venture without a map.

The success or failure of any journey is often predicated on the bullheaded optimism and hubris of the traveler. In Olaf Breuning’s film, Home 2 (2007) the transformative power of travel is called into question through the superficial gestures of a globetrotting narrator who wants to meet and get to know the natives of the countries that he visits. David Herbert uses unheroic raw materials such as Plexiglas, wood, Styrofoam, and cardboard to create skewed versions of American icons. For this exhibition, he will build an old style wooden ship based loosely on the USS Constitution and crewed by a gang of Scrooge McDucks. Matt Leines multifaceted installations of sculpture, drawings, and banners are replete with mustached men, wild beasts, and boats. Leines’ creates a meticulously rendered fantasy world in which he asserts himself as both artist and storyteller, while his characters become protagonists in an imagined world of adventure and discovery.

Nature’s unlimited power exerts its psychic weight in the work of several Uncharted artists. Adam Frelin’s project titled DIVINER includes a combination of photographs, sculptural props, and a new short film. Frelin weaves a complex narrative that ostensibly deals with the impact of tumultuous weather on specific locales in the US Midwest; upon closer reading these fictional and documentary components form an affecting portrait of human desire run amuck. The potential for disaster also looms large in Anna Conway’s painstakingly crafted paintings. Depicting darkly humorous vignettes, her paintings possess a cinematic quality that slowly reveals the unexpected glitches that occur when man attempts to tame the forces of nature. Defying the conventions of traditional landscape painting, Cameron Martin distills images of luminous mountains and rock formations. Through a complex layering of paint, built by masking and spraying, he achieves seemingly impenetrable surfaces that are as alluring and foreboding as the terrains they embody.
Valerie Hegarty’s illusionistic installations are part historical recreation, part anthropological display. Using well-known American landscape paintings as a point of departure, she fragments and distorts their familiar components into sculptural tableaux. Pushed and mutated into unpredictable new forms, it appears as if the masterpieces themselves have undergone a ruptured experience. 

Other Uncharted artists examine the complexities of moving forward in the face of predetermined conventions and societal constraints. In his emblematic critiques of African and African-American themes, Radcliffe Bailey combines drawing, collage, sculpture, and bookmaking to explore the accuracy of recorded history within the larger context of travel and discovery. Emre Hüner’s animated film, Panoptikon (2005) brings together a richly layered archive of hand drawn objects, plants, and architectural components that form an imaginary post-apocalyptic world in which mechanical and human forms are inextricably linked in their rudderless journey into the unknown. Mark Essen breaks open the conventional mechanics and aesthetics of video gaming by distilling their most basic elements. Set amidst flat, low-resolution color forms, his games recall the formalist and structural sentiments of avant-garde cinema. His short action game Flywrench (2007) involves the use of cursor keys to navigate a ship through a series of mazes that thwart even the most adept of players.

Curators: Janet Riker, Director, University Art Museum and Corinna Ripps Schaming, Associate Director/Curator, University Art Museum. The exhibition will be accompanied by a full-color brochure.

The exhibition and publication have been made possible with support from the UAlbany Office of the President, the UAlbany Office of the Provost, University Auxiliary Services, Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial, and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. This exhibition is held in conjunction with theHudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial and UAlbany’s Hudson 400 Theme Semester(for more details visit http://www.albany.edu/outreach/).