New York, LAMINAproject is pleased to announce The Immeasurable Space, an exhibition of mixed-media works by Atlanta-based artist Amie Esslinger. On view through April 30 in the gallery’s Online Viewing Room (OVR) on ARTSY, the exhibition marks the artist’s first solo show with LAMINAproject. Most of the works in the show are from 2020 and 2021 and several were created especially for this exhibition.
Esslinger is equally accomplished as a painter, sculptor, ceramist, and textile artist and that is evident when looking at the dazzling mixed-media works on display. Many are constructed layer by layer and have a very sculptural and tactile feel to them. All are incredibly complex and detailed. The artist uses a wide range of media, from more traditional materials such as acrylic, ink, paper, canvas, felt, and wood to more unusual ones, such as polymer clay, burnt elk leather, false eyelashes, magnifying lenses, artificial sinew, copper crimps, mica glitter and more.
Like the other artists exhibited by LAMINAproject, Esslinger’s practice is situated at the intersection of art and science and the works in this exhibition are inspired by microbiology. Esslinger’s art is beautiful to look at, but goes beyond the visual in terms of meaning and message. Her work is not strictly representational, yet the artist’s references to microbiology are suggestive of the complicated parts and systems that compose and surround us, but cannot be seen by the naked eye. The forms found in microbiology are visually beautiful and are governed by uniform laws, yet influenced by chance and opportunity.
In her artist statement, Esslinger explains, “As scientific methods increase our knowledge of the world, they concurrently expose the vastness of our ignorance; deeper knowledge yields deeper mystery. Nature reveals that which appears orderly is deeply chaotic, while deterministic laws of nature yield diversity and uncertainty. By exploring and expanding upon the hidden elements of the physical world, I attempt to illuminate the apparent contradictions between order and disorder, observable and unobservable, beauty and monstrosity. In doing so, I hope to emphasize the richness, potential, and threat of the physical.”
She adds, “Using motifs from microbiology, I experiment with material, scale, and replication to create abstract biomorphs of vivid color, hyper-texture, and dedicated detail. I stress the physicality of the world through a labor-intensive process of painting, drawing, cutting, stacking, and aggregating a variety of materials. By mimicking cellular and microbial structures and processes, my practice conflates randomness and mutation with order and life-generation. I attempt to generate an aesthetic that echoes the complexity inherent in natural systems, while creating new mysterious organisms, both alluring and repelling.”
The ten works in the exhibition all reference microbiology and each is distinctive visually and conceptually. A Quiet Loud (2019), for example, explores the concept of a biological predator functioning as both a threat to a family and the remedy to a family problem, which for the artist is indicative of the nature of microbiology in general as threat and cure. A Small Swath (2021) looks at rogue cells that hold the potential to wreak havoc yet could be wiped out by the body’s immune system. Before the Split (2020), an impressive installation measuring 84 x 77 inches seems to “grow” on the wall, as the artist explores the tension between being and becoming, gain and loss. One of the strongest works in the show, Leaving the Crash (2021), captures an immeasurable moment when a mutation determines a future course of events. Mother and Colony (2017), a 64” x 96” work illustrates how the cooperative behavior of bacteria enables them to thrive in adverse conditions. Point of Impact (2020) arranges cellular and capillary-like structures to mimic the anatomy of destruction similar to a bomb explosion.
As the artist explains, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, her work now has an additional level of relevance and meaning that was perhaps less understood before: “I want to illuminate the seemingly invisible worlds inside and around us because they are underlying giants in their influence on us, yet routinely ignored. With the present situation, no one is going to ignore the hidden world of microbiology for a while. Right now, we’re witnessing the social, economic, and health effects of ignoring the invisible. In a sense, my work has become more political than it was just a few months ago, but not because of any intention on my part.” (As quoted in Idea Capital, Interview with Amie Esslinger, May 25, 2020)
TO VIEW THE ONLINE VIEWING ROOM: https://www.artsy.net/viewing-room/laminaproject-the-immeasurable-space?utm_content=viewing-room-gallery-share