works by Erin Zerbe and Amber Eckersley
Center for the Arts | Dalton Gallery
121 E. Main St. | Rock Hill, SC
Aug. 2 - Sept. 8, 2019
Thursday, August 15
5:30 - 7:30 PM
Amber Eckersley and Erin Zerbe's works explore the permanence of life through the transformation of objects by virtue of the imprecise reflection of memories.
This series of work explores the fragmented nature of memory, investigates the dynamism of my grandma’s kitchen, and subverts nostalgia typically associated with the South. Each image in the series represents a particular memory, set of memories, or fragment of memories from my childhood of planting, growing, and picking food with my grandma as well as preserving it and cooking it with her. The ordering and decision making of what fragments go in which image is imprecise. The imprecision is a reflection of how memory operates - fragmented, mutable, and fleeting. The markings on the pots, remnants of food processes, and used kitchen tools, are a metaphor for the fragmented memories from which the photographs are created and function as proof of a life lived. This world represented, this life, is dynamic and has a depth far beyond the quaint nostalgia associated with the South. The tension created by removing these simple, vernacular objects from their context in her home and re-presenting them on a large scale in a formal, flat, and abstract manner not only declares that this specific world is worthy of consideration, but it also forms a space in which viewers can engage with this place in a new way, beyond sentimentality and nostalgia.
Amber Eckersley, born and raised in Conway, SC, received her MFA in Visual Arts from Clemson University and her BA in History from Coastal Carolina University. Amber’s work is strongly influenced by her experiences growing up pulling weeds with her mother, hunting with her father, and canning tomatoes with her grandma under the unrelenting humidity of South Carolina summers. Her work explores themes of memory and residue, utilizing various mediums including photography, scanning, video, and audio. | ambereckersley.com
Earth. Silt. Loam.
Quartz. Amethyst. Carnelian.
Television. Pay Phone. Walkman.
What meaning resides in things? Is Earth really our Mother? Does she think of herself as a ‘mother’ or does she ‘need’ humans to give her this maternal meaning? Humans, if so, are the original alchemists, transforming the objects of reality into something more than mere material: Meaning.
My work address the meaning-making that humans are drawn to engage in. It thematizes the process and transience of our meanings, and the hybridity upon which all human creation rests. Equally, it thematizes our violent consumption of the material world that moves, hand-in-hand, with the meaning we make of earth, silt, and loam.
And, finally, crucially, it asks how we might make our meanings, if make them we must, in a manner that is more ethical.
Once upon a time, humans embraced the earth: precious stones and crystals formed part of a deep spiritual practice. In the past (and sometimes in the present) sacred object sculptures, or "talismans" were crafted with specific minerals and stones selected for the metaphysical and mystic properties. Crystals were once used to create talismans and amulets to honor the earth, and the ancient gods and goddesses of our pagan ancestors.
But that was the ‘past.’
Technology has replaced spirituality and faith in the lives of modern humans. Less citizens than consumers of this Earth, we are more likely today to fetishize our cell phones than create altars with precious stones.
This body of work seeks to explore the convergence of archaic technology and archaic spiritual practices focused on earth-based religions. These sacred object sculptures, or "talismans" combine natural and found objects paired with discarded, broken, and obsolete tech items. These specific pairings have been chosen based on the lingering symbols the natural objects held in many pagan traditions, coupled with the former use of the technology, thus creating a new, modern sacred object that straddles the liminal space between ancient traditions and modern ones. By combining objects that were discarded due to planned obsolescence or newer emerging technologies, I am calling attention to how quickly our tech transitions from treasure to trash and the impermanence it has in our lives. However, like the crystalline forms in many of the pieces, these tech objects are made of materials that will far outlive us and continue to impact our planet long after we are gone.
Erin Zerbe earned her BFA in Kinetic Sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University, received her MFA and Certificate of Post-Secondary Art Education from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Zerbe is currently an Associate Professor of Art at Marietta College, and Visiting Professor of Graphic Design at Siena Heights University. Her works have been on display in more than 40 shows including solo exhibitions at the Hermann Fine Arts Center, the Elise Munro Gallery, ARTifact, Peoria Art Guild, School 33 Art Center, and FAB Gallery; in group shows at Beaver Hall Gallery, The Factory (Italy), Montpelier Arts Center, Art | Basel, and The Gallery NOVA; and in juried shows at Fort Worth Arts Center, CORE New Art Space, Ann Arbor Arts Center, and Nine5 Gallery. Erin's work extends into the film medium, where it has been screened at film festivals including International People's Choice Film Festival (Quito, Ecuador), Scene First Student Film Festival (Salt Lake City, Utah), and Open APPeture Short Film Festival (Boone, NC). | erinzerbe.com
works by Josiah Blevins
This series plays with the phenomenon of pareidolia*, and incorporates my love of comic book colors and textures (especially from the work of Brandon Graham, Berni Wrightson, Stephen Bissette, and Rick Veitch).
I have worked intuitively and with little planning on these pieces, attempting to respond to the textures and history of the paint as it accumulates, and is alternately hidden and excavated. The editing process reveals form and depth from the expressions that begin the piece.
Thank you to my mentors Marge Moody, Seth Rouser, and Paul Martyka for their influence and knowledge in the areas of color and drawing.
*Pareidolia (/pærɪˈdoʊliə/ parr-i-DOH-lee-ə) is the tendency to interpret a vague stimulus as something known to the observer, such as seeing shapes in clouds, seeing faces in inanimate objects or abstract patterns, or hearing hidden messages in music.
BIO | Josiah Schaeffer Salinas Blevins
Eagle Scout '05
Winthrop Eagle '13
Southern Sagittarius, multimedia artist, music maker, account manager, organizer by nature, founder and HBIC of WAMA. Formally trained as a barista, printmaker, and sculptor. Informally as a mechanic and oblique strategist. Proud uncle to #yunghila. Obsessed with dissonance, textures, colors, and harmonies. I believe in folk art and trap music, and nothing else. | josiahblevins.com