“Unlike gods whose identities are defined by their ability to make something out of absolutely nothing, the nine artists in Stone Gravy make art out of nothing much or nothing special – just ordinary supplies and substances, like clay, paint and canvas, not to mention sweat, stubbornness and faith – in their own experiences and thinking, which are meticulously observed, rigorously analyzed, and constantly second-guessed.*”
New York, New York – Ameringer | McEnery | Yohe is pleased to announce an exhibition curated by David Pagel featuring the work of Polly Apfelbaum, Brad Eberhard, Annie Lapin, Kim MacConnel, Allison Miller, Richard Allen Morris, Ron Nagle, David Reed and Matt Wedel. Stone Gravy will open to the public on 31 May 2012 and will remain on view through 7 July 2012. A reception for the artists will take place 31 May, between 6:00 and 8:00 PM. The public is welcome.
When you combine the nine distinct artists and their varied mediums with a bit of David Pagel and stir it all together until well mixed, the outcome is Stone Gravy. While art most commonly is defined by its significance, materials, markets, intentions, influences, forms, contexts, histories and institutions, Pagel explains that often stories, anecdotes and parables are well suited to illustrate art’s pleasures and the essence of creativity. The origin of the exhibition’s title is derived from the folktale, “Stone Soup.” According to legend, a group of hungry travelers visit a small village where there is no food in sight. The travelers decide to build a fire; they retrieve a pot from their knapsack, boil water and throw in a rock. When a curious villager asks about what the travelers are concocting, one traveler responds, “Stone Soup,” a delicious meal that would be even better with more ingredients. The villager runs home and is able to find some carrots. More villagers feel inclined to participate and toss in whatever their pantries can allow – peas, potatoes, rosemary, garlic, the list goes on. Soon, with the collaboration of all parties, a marvelous meal is created and shared festively among the travelers and villagers. The moral of such a story is that these separate individuals through their combined efforts were able to create something out of nothing, for the benefit of all.
Bountiful and unexpected defines gravy, the second part of the title. Similar to “Stone Soup,” gravy has a something-from-nothing nature. The important thing to understand about gravy is that it does not present itself slowly, quite the opposite. It comes as if out of thin air and awes its viewers.
Bringing these ideas together, Pagel allows us to see the nine artists under a single roof. “Starting with very little, these painters and sculptors transform the basic materials into works of art that are so much more than the sum of their parts that viewers cannot help but be drawn into worlds they inhabit.” As we are all viewers of this exhibition, we hope to have a similar “Stone Soup” feast, to be awed by the gravy and communally enjoy what these artists and David Pagel have to offer.
David Pagel is an art critic who writes regularly for the Los Angeles Times. He is an associate professor of art theory and art history at Claremont Graduate University and an adjunct curator at the Parrish Art Museum. An avid cyclist, he is a three-time winner of the California Triple Crown.
*Quoted text is taken from Stone Gravy by David Pagel, published by Ameringer | McEnery | Yohe, 2012 exhibition catalogue.