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Re:res: Contemporary Interpretations of the Cravens World Collection

Nov 12 - Dec 12 2015

UB Art Gallery

Taking impetus from specific objects in the collection as well as the open storage display methods used to house the Cravens World Collection, 8 artists produced new work that manifests concerns of cultural appropriation, utility, value and subjectivity. Artists include Skylar Borgstrom, Caitlin Cass, AJ Fries, Kristine Mifsud, Carl Spartz, Marc Tomko, Kurt Treeby and Necole Zayatz. The title is derived from prefixes re (with reference to) and res (a thing, matter or object).

While still retaining their individual artistic practice, each artists’ work makes reference to the Cravens World Collection as their resource. The Cravens World Collection includes nearly 1,100 objects and is an astonishing amalgam of archaeological and ethnographic objects spanning the globe and dating as far back as 4,500 BC. Donated to the UB Art Galleries in 2008 by Annette Cravens, objects are housed in an open storage display at the UB Anderson Gallery. For this exhibition at the UB Art Gallery at the Center for the Arts, select objects from the Cravens World Collection will be on view alongside the artists’ work as this exhibition.

Skylar Borgstrom, a current MFA student at the University at Buffalo and originally from Alberta Canada, is calling into question the fault lines connecting museum display tactics and the values prescribed by them. Her work brings to the surface the way presentation reveals the manipulation of perceptions.

Caitlin Cass, a Buffalo-based artist, has more than a knack for inscribing idiosyncratic interpretations of history into pictorial narrative. For Re:res, Caitlin presents a series of gouache drawings featuring an object from the Cravens collection that she refers to as “the woman with the worried, lonely, sunken eyes…through the historic dreamscape of the Cravens collection”.

Buffalo artist AJ Fries takes his signature gray scale palette to implant images of Cravens artifacts on a second hand store painting in order to comment directly on the persistent nature of cultural appropriation.

Kristine Mifsud, an artist working in Toronto, Canada, has built her practice out of an intuitive fascination with small found metal objects she refers to as Unidentified Metal Objects (UMO). For this exhibition Kristine has reengaged a lost value for these objects by mimicking the Cravens World Collection display of currency.

Carl Spartz, a current MFA student at the University at Buffalo and originally from Texas, has built a digital environment, taking the viewer on a tour of economic artifacts through a possible futuristic gallery of the hyperreal.

Mark Tomko, a Buffalo based artist, presents “a selection of idiosyncratic anomaly objects” from his own archive as floating in an abyss.

Buffalo native Kurt Treeby works primarily as a fiber artist replicating historically significant artworks. For this exhibition the artist has replicated, by way of crocheting, an early 19th century French metalsmith hammer. The mallet holds specific import in that it marks for the artist a link to a like-minded craftsperson and that it was used in the same country and time period that crochet developed.

Necole Zayatz, a Buffalo based artist, offers an interactive experience with her Artifacts from the Future. These artifacts retain techniques present in the Cravens Collection yet they are given fictitious futuristic narratives.

This exhibition is curated by Katherine Gaudy, 2015-16 graduate curatorial assistant for the UB Art Galleries and MFA student in the UB Department of Art. The Curatorial Graduate Assistant for the UB Art Galleries is a competitive annual position within the Department of Art that provides MFA students with experience working alongside museum professional as well as the opportunity to propose and curate their own exhibitions.