June 28 - August 2, 2019
41st Annual Members’ Showcase
Artlink is pleased to present the 41st Annual Members’ Showcase, celebrating the individual artists that help make Artlink possible through their continual member support of the organization for over forty years. This exhibition features artists working in all mediums at all stages of their artistic careers. The Members’ Showcase provides immediate access to a gallery exhibition for our artist members.
Realism, like nature, persists. All visual art is based in the observed. Nature and perception are the minimally required precepts if one is to “make art”. On a grander scale, realism is fugitive, with the maker towing an ever confusing line between control and chaos not dissimilar from the lines walked by the abstract expressionists of the mid 20th century or even that of contemporary painters of all “isms” attempting to organize the natural world into a cohesive statement on a surface.
With realism the natural world is directly coded into the dramatic narrative of the work, and in nuanced ways abstraction is coded into the unfolding of the painted image. Each of the artists are keenly aware of both their surroundings as subject as well as the nuanced efforts that make for interesting marriages of form and content contained naturally in the painted or drawn surfaces as an expression of both intention and improvisation. Formulas, in other words, will never do. Each of these artists is attempting to make realism new, a way to discover the purposes of the image. What is the place in our mechanized, mass-produced, digital world for such hand-crafted, one of a kind, fiercely analog work. Unlike televisual media (film, television, and social media/net-channel) realism has remained relatively quiet. All of the artists represented seek to find balance inside of the quiet place that realism occupies while acknowledging its historical, social, political, and cultural contexts.
September 20 - October 25, 2019
Humanimals in Precarious Positions: Melanie Cooper Pennington
Melanie Cooper Pennington was born in LA, raised in Boston and now teaches sculpture in Bloomington at Indiana University. After 12 years of running an interior design firm in Chicago, she transitioned to graduate school to focus full time on her sculpture practice. She received her MFA in 2016 from Indiana University where she is now full time sculpture faculty. Melanie’s recent exhibitions include: Act 1 Play as Production exhibition at ACRE Gallery curated by Lucy Stranger, and Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana Juried Regional Show at Manifest Gallery in Cincinnati. Melanie has shown at the Grunwald Gallery of Art, Indianapolis Art Center, and was part of Chicago Parks District year long sculpture in the parks exhibit. Residencies include; Vermont Studio Center Fellowship, ACRE residency, Haystack Mountain School of Craft, and Anderson Ranch.
By embodying forms in the likeness of whales, bison and elephants (animals that we keep our distance from because of their physical power and intimidating size), Cooper Pennington’s large-scale sculptures immediately trigger curiosity and wariness. Her ‘Beasts’ are, however, frequently soft and touchable, placed in precarious positions or engaged in a struggle with an opposing force, consequently probing the viewer’s capacity for empathy. The visceral materials by which Cooper Pennington constructs her work range from ceramic and steel to fur and wood. She uses her knowledge of human anatomy to anthropomorphize the beast - incorporating human signifiers that make the imagined creatures feel knowable.
November 8 - December 6, 2019
Unreal Empire: Robert McCann
Robert A. McCann is a Midwest-based artist and educator. Born and raised in the Ozarks of southwest Missouri, he developed as a studio artist through his studies at Missouri State University, Indiana University, and as a Fulbright scholar based in Berlin, Germany. In the fifteen years since that time, McCann’s paintings have frequently dealt with the potential for metaphors in our byzantine mass media culture, and the overwriting of epic and intimate events in the particular artifice of painting.
In the summer of 2017, he mounted the exhibition “Staged Revolt” at the South Bend Museum of Art in South Bend, Indiana. He will have a new solo exhibit at Amos Eno Gallery in Brooklyn, New York, in September 2019. McCann is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Art, Art History & Design at Michigan State University, where he heads the Foundations Area of studio art fundamentals and teaches painting.
McCann describes his paintings as “elaborate fictional spaces”. He utilizes characters from pop cultures and subcultures to stage human drama. These visual threads spiral outward into the shared universe logic of Marvel blockbusters and Pinterest pin boards, and inward to personal mythologies and autobiographical fragments. The paintings use larger-than-life-characters from the world of wrestling, rock & roll history, or educational film reels to evoke a fuzzy boundary between fantasy and reality. His works incorporate staging of affiliated subjects in fragmented narratives plays on a viewer’s incomplete grasp of sublime subjects like memory, future-forecasting, or knowledge of society at large. The subsequent paintings bring together elements of landscape, portraiture, history painting, and improvisational abstraction.
Transparency & Toxicity: Meganne Rosen
Meganne Rosen graduated from Drury University with a Bachelor of Arts with Honors (BAH) in Art History with minors in Fine Art and English in 2006. She completed her Master of Arts (MA) in Studio Art and Theory at Drury University in 2011. She currently resides in Oakland, California, where she recently graduated with a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) at the California College of the Arts (CCA) in San Francisco. During her first year at CCA, she was the co-director of the Graduate Student Alliance, a graduate teaching assistant for three art history courses, and a gallery assistant for the exhibitions department.
Through the investigation of and experimentation with different kinds of materials, Rosen’s works express discontent with the current political climate while reflecting on her experiences growing up in the American Midwest. Her art explores entropy, artifice, consumerism, and her place in the lineage of abstraction in contemporary and modern painting and its relationship with installation art. Using found matter, fiber works, oil and acrylic painting, remnant fabrics, and photography, Rosen composes mixed media pieces which are layered in visual dialogues. The work evokes an intimate recollection of garments worn, skins shed, and packaging discarded. Each assemblage or installation is a partnership between the materials she works with and the sociopolitical, cultural context of our times.