A Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts Alumni Exhibition
Somewhere in a space between Ithaca and Lansing is Corners Gallery, so named because of the intricate (and confusing) intersections converging on Corners Community Shopping Center in Cayuga Heights, or perhaps so named for the corners that make up a picture frame of which the gallery/studio is also known.
Whatever the naming convention, the gallery welcomed October showing 15 pieces by three artists with a million things to see, and can be seen until the end of November. Between the three artists there are no more than seven colors expressed.
The three are Saltonstall Foundation alumni – Thea Gregorius (2018) creates intersecting circles with pinpoint perforations, Jayoung Yoon (2017) harvests her hair to create knotted, net-like vessels, and Paula Overbay (2015) plots a multitude of dots on black paper and panel to create a fluid and dynamic galaxy.
Their works alternate along the long wall of the gallery with two sculptural hair pieces on view behind a pedestal display case and one six-foot funnel projecting from a corner and floating above the floor as you walk in. At a distance the whole show is subdued, almost mute, but on closer inspection things start to happen.
Thea Gregorius (perforations)
Although the work did not give me goosebumps, Gregorius’ circles and semi-circles have the look of goosebumps that rise out of a sheet of heavyweight cold press paper. The sheets range in size from two feet square and a smaller diptych all on cold press art paper with a deckle edge on all four sides. ‘Halo Relief’ is a 22” x 22” circular onslaught who’s geometric patterning gives it an economy of structure. As tedium goes, Gregorius’ works are defined by pin-pricking paper from a pattern diagrammed on the reverse of the sheets.
What’s created by these intersecting circles and arcs are symmetrical patterns at once resembling a decorative colorless Moroccan motif and at once a systematic study of bisecting circles with a common radius.
Can we consider these works embossings because of their braille-like effect, or sculptural because, like origami, there is a linear manipulation of paper. Or are they drawings where pinning comprises the line? Gregorius’ creations are considered ‘works on paper’ for their combined complex geometric patterning built with the point of a pin.
Jayoung Yoon (knots)
In Victorian hair-art the locks of departed loved ones were crafted to resemble an intricate wreath lavishly looped with rosettes and other floral elements. Because of the high mortality rate these objects were primarily used to memorialize the loss of a child.
The strength and resilience of hair as art carried on the strong ties felt for the lost loved one.
Although not terribly well lit, the Cortland County Historical Society has an ornate hair wreath behind glass in their museum.
Jayoung Yoon has fabulous hair. Like Samson her strength is in her hair but more so off her head.
A lot can be said for using one’s hair as a sculptural element, but to create that sculpture predominantly out of hair which is strung and knotted into a net-like structure takes surgical patience and skill.
Keratin is extremely strong – about half the strength of steel. But a single strand of hair is very small – about 0.025 mm (0.001 in) to 0.076 mm (0.003 in) in diameter.Tensile Testing Human Hair
In ‘Sensing Thought’ Yoon’s knotted network of hair acts as an elemental lattice-work suspending a good-sized thorn with jellyfish-like tentacles trailing off at the base.
Her works currently on view at Corners Gallery are all vessels that hold. Her lattice-work holds a thorn, her bowl holds milkweed fluff and her funnel holds a column of vibrating air. All have a wispy fragility about them but look closely and the thick black hair is knotted into points of strength.
Paula Overbay (Dots)
Overbay’s ‘Wind Machine’ has acrylic dots on a dappled ultramarine background, looking like a spiral galaxy born out of nebulous gas clouds. The groupings of dots break out in sprays and bulges then are compelled to orbit back by some celestial gravitation or electromagnetic force.
The dots also have the look of markers with an accompaniment of cyan, magenta and yellow on the black paper. CMYK is at play in Overbay’s dotted universe that has the look of 3-d mapping. Think simply of a three-dimensional relief created by an 80’s toy called a pinscreen (this link is next level rickrolling) that maps the topography of what’s placed into a bed of sliding pins.
“Yellow Dot #2” is a s study of fluid dynamics. This work has an analytical look of visualized data points rendered in three-dimensions. The dots seem to be informed by some underlying energy be, a phantom entity or just good old fear and desire — a scatter plot whose proof of fleeting existence is recorded by disparate dots. The collection of dots is gestural, not in the way of action painting, but that their formation has a mysterious flow growing and migrating and spraying apart perhaps influenced solely by good old fear and desire.
On your drive home navigate your way through the intricate intersections at Corners Community Shopping Center to find Corners Gallery and three artists with a keen eye, a steady hand and the ability to take a tedious task and make a unified piece of art. All that is needed is perfections, knots and dots.