The Utah Museum of Contemporary Art is pleased to announce a new exhibition in the Locals Only Gallery, "The Sublime Is Light and Easy-to-Assemble" by Venessa Gromek. The Locals Only Gallery is one manifestation of UMOCA's commitment to the local art community, ensuring that Utah artists always have a presence at the museum. Drawing on notions of the sublime in both nature and design, Gromek's "Tents" series addresses the intersection of the outdoor industry with the aesthetics of modern sculpture. Gromek reorients the purpose of a portable shelter by complicating its basic function, as these forms are neither enterable nor protective. Rather these porous and impenetrable structures elicit ideas revolving around abstraction, experimentation, and materiality, providing an innovative way to conceptualize how the great outdoors can influence contemporary art practice. "Tent design has advanced drastically in the outdoor industry what used to be tepees and simple triangular forms are now turning into complex shapes that are pushing the boundaries of the materials used," said Gromek. " creating sculptures constructed of tent poles and lace, I am countering the traditionally heavy and masculine sculpture seen in art history.
"Each sculpture's inherent relationship to a tent contextualizes them with landscape issues, while their form with issues related to modern sculpture; all of which are focused on providing a level of the sublime to the viewer," she said. Not only do these sculptures conflate the line between utility and creativity, but also between masculinity and femininity. The stretchy lace fabric, smooth curvy lines, and delicate weightlessness of these tents challenge the density and rough geometric forms often seen in modernist sculpture and design.
In this way, Gromek continues in the vein of a nonfigurative style that is reminiscent of twentieth-century artistic production, yet her sculptures also harken back to the dichotomy between craft and fine art. Stitched pieces of colorful fabric stretched across bending metal poles confuse the seemingly opposing contrast of needlework and workmanship, which is also a defining element of the artist's work. "Gromek invites new ways of imagining spatial relations that intersect histories of radical architecture with Unabomber couture," said Aaron Moulton, senior curator at UMOCA. "Confusing heavy-metal formalism and the ability to pick up and go, these deceptive forms detach a viewer from any sense of easy assembly or protection leaving a poignant address of our own fragility in the landscape." The UMOCA will host an opening reception for "The Sublime Is Light and Easy-to-Assemble" by Venessa Gromek on Friday, Jan. 4, from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. There will be a question-and-answer session with the artist on Fri., Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. Both events are free and open to the public. The award-winning Utah Museum of Contemporary Art exhibits groundbreaking artwork by local, national, and international artists. Four gallery spaces provide an opportunity for the community to explore the contemporary cultural landscape through UMOCA's exhibitions, films, events, classes, and presentations. Founded in 1931, the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art has been recognized as Best Museum in the State of Utah for 2011 and 2012 and is a four-time recipient of funding from the Andy Warhol Foundation. Located at 20 S. West Temple; open Tuesdays through Thursdays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Fridays from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m., The museum is closed Sundays and Mondays. Admission is free. For more information call (801) 328-4201 or visit www.utahmoca.org.