March 27, 2010 - The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts - Common Jive
March 27, 2010

Common Jive

Maria Piñeres
Nascar, 2010
Cotton floss on paper
12 x 18 inches
Courtesy the artist and DCKT Contemporary

Common Jive
April 3 – May 15, 2010

Opening reception: Saturday, April 3, 6-8 pm

Artists: Scott Andresen, Karen Azoulay, David Brooks, Milton Carter, Kate Gilmore, Nate Kassel, Ai Kijima, Shana Moulton, Natsu, Brent Owens, Maria Piñeres, Tanea Richardson, Whiting Tennis, Megan Whitmarsh, Vadis Turner and Saya Woolfalk

Performance by Heather Hart, April 13
Workshop by CYA, April 27

EFA Project Space
323 West 39th Street, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10018
Gallery Hours: Wed – Sat, 12-6 PM
projectspace [​at​]

Opening April 3rd at EFA Project Space, Common Jive presents a spectrum of contemporary artists who summon up vernacular and traditional craft approaches. Organized collaboratively between curator Julie Fishkin, and artist Saya Woolfalk, the artists in the exhibition engage the dichotomy between communal pasts and the individual experience, intertwining them visually through the manipulation of common materials and re-examination of time-honored aesthetic practices.

The work in the exhibition represents strategies of both the self-taught and formally trained. Rather than making a distinction between these tactics, Common Jive argues that these artists, presenting a resurgence of dedicated artistry combined with conceptual rigor, are part of a contemporary communal discourse.

Some of the artists look to traditional approaches as means to investigate current political or cultural concerns. Brent Owens conjures the aesthetic of Appalachian woodcraft with his chainsaw carved sneakers and whittled basswood laces to comment on the generic nature of mass production, recalling the familiarity of a pair of Nikes or Air Force Ones. Nate Kassel embroiders throw pillows, utilizing the language of domestic decoration, as an unexpected platform for his sarcastic and humorous social commentary, while Maria Pineres uses the traditional craft of her Colombian origins to create intricate needlepoint “paintings” that illustrate pop culture and its icons at their most decadent.

Other artists are collectors, foraging for relics to combine with contemporary artifacts and icons. Milton Carter’s “Self-Portrait: A Hobo Pop-Up Shop” is an accumulation of the artist’s fascination with the life of “things” – a collection of esoteric ephemera found in yard sales, thrift stores, and flea markets. For Scott Andresen and Ai Kijima, scavenged material is integrated with a multitude of other materials. Andresen’s found artifacts or detritus are woven into detailed quilts, narrating a thousand nameless individual histories, while Kijima uses quilted collage to illustrate historical and contemporary commentary on the iconography of pop culture. In Megan Whitmarsh’s “Color Work Station,” the artist constructs an impression of a studio. Cheerfully quirky, the work “celebrates the process of making art” while making the often evasive artist’s workspace accessible.

Pushing the theatrical potential of hand-made elements, some artists construct backdrops for their narratives. Kate Gilmore’s sets provide her self-played protagonist with an endless array of difficult physical tasks, which she obsessively attempts to conquer. Karen Azoulay’s lush settings play more to the desires of whimsy. Although satisfyingly fantastical, her materials and labor remain transparent, reminding us of their handmade origin. Shana Moulton engages in an imaginative interplay with commonplace items, as her devised protagonist navigates possible magical properties of her home décor.

For more information on programs and press materials, contact Michelle Levy,, 212-563-5855 x 227

EFA Project Space is a Program of The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts.

A multi-disciplinary art venue, EFA Project Space, focuses on the investigation of the creative process, aiming to provide dynamic exchanges between artists, cultural workers, and the public. Art is directly connected to its producers, to the communities they are a part of, and to every day life. By contextualizing and revealing these connections, we strive to bridge gaps in our community, forging new partnerships and the expansion of ideas. Through these synergies, artists build on their creative power to further impact society.

EFA Project Space is supported in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. Private funding has been received from Lily Auchincloss Foundation and The Carnegie Corporation Inc.

EFA Project Space

The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts
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