Join us for two exhibitions on Saturday, January 18, 7 – 11 PM
“Now Can You See the Monument?”* and “Heavy and Loaded”
Index Main Space:
“Now Can You See the Monument?”*
Concrete Sculptures from the Cast Container Series
A solo exhibition by Donna Conklin King curated by Sarah Walko
* Exhibition title inspired by “The Monument”, a poem by Elizabeth Bishop
“Break a vase, and the love that reassembles the fragments is stronger than that love which took its symmetry for granted when it was whole.” – Derek Walcott
Plastic food package designs are often transparent and more often, ignored. But when artist Donna Conklin King casts them using white Portland cement we see the latticework for salads, smooth surfaces and beaded edges for cakes, undulating ribbing or bulls eye relief on muffin lids. These strangely designed but suddenly substantial visible forms reveal recognizable architecture and are presented as wall hanging and floor sculptures, playing off the architecture of the spaces they inhabit as well.
“I am fascinated with the designs of food containers and their potential to symbolically speak about the body as well as the environment and its influence on our food sources: the decline of the honeybee populations and polluted water are examples. I pour concrete into the containers, sometimes carving the resulting forms or adding elements. I’ve recently been manipulating the containers, combining patterned elements to create unique molds. I pour concrete into the containers, sometimes carving the resulting forms or adding elements, or breaking them and put them back together in a *Kintsugi way. I like to evoke a certain presence of the human body or body part, its emptiness or entrapment.” – Donna Conklin King
Kings work points to how our food is packaged so beautifully that we most definitely are not called to think about the source, ingredients or production of it. More and more evidence is emerging of processed foods with addictive and unhealthy ingredients such as sugar, flour and preservatives, adding to our individual and collective health problems. Add to this conversation that the manufacturing of plastic packaging requires excessive waste water during production and when not properly disposed of, does a lot of damage to the environment. Using the container of our daily consumption of plastics is not only pointing to our physical consumption of what’s within it which then ends up within us, but the environmental consumption and destruction within it as well. And perhaps the most disheartening realization is that these structures are so large, that we ourselves are active participants in this consumption cycle.
King specifically chooses to work in cement because it resembles bleached bones and fossils, alluding to history and archaeology. It also is not a medium typically associated with women’s work and her work is often mistaken for plaster. She explains, “I let the material and shape of the container influence the resulting form, sometimes manipulating, combining, bending or cutting the containers before casting in them, to emphasize or obliterate the original shape and memory of its contents. I’ve begun adding pattern and texture to the work through lace and crochet impressions. The juxtaposition of masculine and feminine is exciting to me.” Concrete is the material used in pouring the foundations of buildings, it is inherently masculine work, and also carries the weight of the building that is built on it. This is a parallel to women’s work, always behind the scenes, always supporting the architecture of the family or social structures.
This aspect of the work brings in the conversation on the centuries long struggle of the feminine and women’s work to be recognized and respected. And this layer of the conversation is also on the rise as we seek to balance out the patriarchy with the long overdue and missing gap of the feminine and how these issues don’t just affect women but are a reflection of the rise of the feminine we so desperately need for balance.
This solo exhibition of King’s work is aptly titled after the first line of the Elizabeth Bishop poem The Monument. King’s exhibition asks the same of the viewer as the poem:
Now can you see the monument? It is of wood
built somewhat like a box. No. Built
like several boxes in descending sizes
one above the other.
We are at a turning point. This is what the work of Donna Conklin King asks us to participate in. Her work asks us to consider what legacy do we wish to leave behind? On our current path, there are the self-destructive idols we worship and the monuments of these we will leave behind, the archaeological consequences of our society if left unchecked.
Now can you see the monument?
*(Translated to “golden joinery,” Kintsugi is the centuries old Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with a special lacquer dusted with powdered gold.)
Index Side Gallery:
Heavy and Loaded
works by Danielle Scott
curated by Luisa Pinzon
*I’m a mixed-media assemblage artist and my work expresses politically and socially
Danielle Scott is a mixed-media assemblage artist and grew up in Jersey City, New Jersey. She graduated from Newark’s Arts High School in 1997 where she received the “Congressional Art’s Award” and her first oil painting was placed in The Capital of the
United States for a year. Danielle holds a B.F.A. from the School of Visual Arts in New York, graduating with a triple major in Fine Arts, Art Therapy and Art Education (Honors Fine Arts). Danielle has taught Art at the Academy of the Art’s at Henry Snyder High School in Jersey City for seventeen years. A soft-spoken artist, Danielle has begun to use her art as a conduit to explore bold; fearless,thought-provoking work – work which draws its inspiration largely from her own
journey and life experience. Her latest pieces are brazen offerings conveying the intense beauty and wretched pain the artist absorbs from the world around her. She creates using photo montage, found objects, paint, raw materials, old books and collage. From vivid paintings to piercing photography to striking sculptures, all of
Danielle’s artistic offerings aim to arrest the viewer and transport them away from the pretentious and into a realm rooted in truth.
With heavy influence from a few of the art world’s most activated and unapologetic such as Gladys Barker Grauer, Ben Jones, Betty and Alison Saar and Renee Stout, her work is created to enrich and push the needle forward. She chooses to explore and connect the intertwining relationships between social justice, equality, human and
women’s rights, police brutality, femininity, and culture. As a woman, a mother and self-identified lesbian, Afro-Cuban, Polish-Jew in America, Danielle Scott’s perspective has been shaped with merciless hands yet has not been tainted by apathy. Her perspective gives way to audaciousness of hope.
Exhibition on view thru February 21, 2020
Admission is free and open to the public.
This event is sponsored by our neighbors 27 Mix and Kilkenny Alehouse.
Index Art Center
233 – 237 Washington Street
Newark, NJ 07102
Gallery ph. 862-218-0278