Dec 13, 2013 — Feb 01, 2014
Reprefantasion presents two pairs of artists: one abstracts the real (Kate Abercrombie and Becky Suss) while the other depicts the unreal (Sarah Gamble and Kinke Kooi), revealing tension and symbiosis between abstraction and representation, reality and fantasy. Representational art is by its very nature abstract because any attempt to represent reality is ultimately an abstraction. Of course, some artists abstract reality more than others--there is a continuum from representation to abstraction with limitless gradations between the two poles—while others still engage in abstraction without an anchor in realism whatsoever.
In the case of Reprefantasion, the artists presented as "abstractors of the real" are not simply realists who de facto take up the position of abstraction through the gesture of painting or drawing the visible, but rather, artists who in some way abstract reality as a means to relate idiosyncratic, often highly personal narratives. Kate Abercrombie and Becky Suss (both Philadelphia-based) demonstrate this tendency. Kate Abercrombie appropriates images from historical and contemporary magazines, family heirlooms, and popular culture and transforms them into handpainted collages. Becky Suss' paintings are at first glance realistic, but abstraction undergirds her practice both formally (she loves grids, patterns, and monochromatic surfaces) and conceptually in that the reality she represents is filtered through the gray zone of memory, using her grandparents' domestic interior as her point of departure.
The other pairing features artists Sarah Gamble and Kinke Kooi, who represent fantasy, painting or drawing scenarios that are conjured in the subjective recesses of their minds. They may work representationally--even at times realistically--but they do not depict things that belong to our known world. Just as "abstracting reality" embraces abstraction and representation simultaneously, "representing fantasy" explores similar terrain. On the one hand, depictions of the unreal can verge on the recognizable, and on the other, representational imagery can meld into abstraction. In an expressionistic, loosely gestural style, Sarah Gamble (Philadelphia) creates unsettling compositions of strange characters of unknown species obscured by abstract webs and mists of spray-paint, among other fantastical yet foreboding presentations, many with paranormal overtones. Kinke Kooi (Amsterdam) plays the yin to Gamble's yang in terms of style. Her tightly rendered, subtly sexual
drawings engage with notions of the feminine. Often realized on pink paper, Kooi's drawings buzz between confectionary delights (think French macarons) and organ-like forms evoking Surrealist dreamscapes.
Kate Abercrombie has been included in exhibitions in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Vox Populi, Fleisher/Ollman, Little Berlin, and Black Floor. She has also shown at the Creative Research Laboratory, Austin, TX. In 2005, she received an Independence Foundation Fellowship in the Arts. Abercrombie has an MFA from University of Texas, Austin and a BFA from Tyler School of Art, Temple University.
Becky Suss has shown at many venues in Philadelphia such as Vox Populi, Space 1026, The Icebox, Little Berlin, Institute of Contemporary Art, Painted Bride Arts Center, and University City Arts League. Elsewhere she has exhibited at WORK, Brooklyn, NY; Front Space, New Orleans, LA; Root Division, San Francisco, CA; Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley, CA; The Hunterdon Museum of Art, Clinton, NJ; Western Exhibitions, Chicago, IL; and LUMP, Raleigh, NC, among others. Suss was a resident at Vermont Studio Center in 2012 and at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2013. Suss received her MFA from University of California, Berkeley and her BA from Williams College.
Sarah Gamble has shown extensively in Philadelphia at a range of venues such as Vox Populi, Grizzly Grizzly, Pageant Soloveev, Fleisher/Ollman, Little Berlin, Philadelphia Art Alliance, and Bambi. She has also exhibited at Edward Thorp, The Painting Center, Jack the Pelican Presents, and PS 122 Gallery in New York. Venues elsewhere include Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Omaha, NE; LUMP, Raleigh, NC; and Concordia University, Seward, NE. She was awarded a Pew Fellowship in the Arts in 2009 and is currently on a year-long residency at the Roswell Artist-in-Residence Program, New Mexico. Gamble received her MFA from the University of Pennsylvania and her BFA from the Corcoran Gallery College of Art and Design, Washington, DC.
Kinke Kooi has had one person exhibitions at Feature Gallery Inc., NY; De Praktijk, Amsterdam; Museum of Modern Art, Arnhem; and Kunstuitkijk, Deventer (all the Netherlands), among others. She has been featured in many group exhibitions at venues including the Portland Museum of Modern Art, OR; Museum Boijmans van Beunigen, Rotterdam, the Netherlands; Tracey Williams Ltd., NY; Mills College Art Museum, Oakland, CA; Tang Teaching Museum, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY; Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, CT; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA; and Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem, the Netherlands. Kooi attended the Academy for the Visual Arts, Arnhem, the Netherlands.