Make Ends Meet; Jonathan Brilliant, Mathew Curran, Olek
Flanders Gallery, Raleigh NC
From the exhibition Catalog essay by Lauren Turner:
Henry Moore is credited with saying, “There’s no retirement for an artist; it’s your way of living, so there’s no end to it.” Moore’s words outline art making not simply as profession, but as compulsion. Make Ends Meet is an exhibition that celebrates the repetition of a daily grind, as it features the incredibly inventive, yet remarkably labor-intensive works of Jonathan Brilliant, Mathew Curran, and Olek. Only compulsion could inspire these artists to employ the countless connections, cuts, and knots necessary to create their works.
Jonathan Brilliant’s oeuvre appropriates the throwaway accessories of the coffee shop – the wooden stirrers, the cardboard sleeves, and the plastic lids – to create tension-woven installations and an assortment of prints inspired by those installations. His large-scale forms, utilizing thousands of these often overlooked items, thread, engulf, and cocoon space. His concentration on such materials speaks not only to his personal attachment to the coffee shop; as he writes, “In my vision [of the installations as the “Goldsworthy of the coffee shop project”], the coffee shop is my natural environment and source of inspiration for materials.” It also demonstrates Ray Oldenburg’s urban sociology theory that locations like coffee shops are the “third place” in an active community, following the spheres of work and home. Brilliant’s installations give abstracted form to this third place. Because coffee shops are communal locations for sustenance and socialization, their contents are immediately recognizable to a wide audience. However, in his methodical, excruciatingly exacting constructions, Brilliant combines these items in such a fashion that he negates their seeming familiarity and insignificance. Their resulting beauty instead appears sublimely foreign.
The Flanders Piece, 2012
Site-specific installation with 50,000 wooden coffee stir sticks woven in place and held by tension and 4,500 coffee cup sleeves stacked one inside of another to forma series of endless loops
The GR Haze, 2011 – One color lithograph printed from aluminum plate with spray paint ground
The GR Impression, 2011 – Woven stir stick embossing on cotton rag
The Milledgeville Impression, 2011 – Woven stir stick embossing on bfk rives cream
Sleeve Mandala, 2010 – Coffee cup sleeve collagraph on BFK Rives cream
To The Center, 2010 – Coffee cup sleeve collagraph on BFK Rives cream