Friday, May 6, 2011

Elaine M. Erne at Nexus

For the last few years Jim has been doing all the blog posts. We have decided to trade off a bit. So you will get to read my blog musings from time to time. I will start by telling you about Elaine M. Erne's new exhibition opening up this month at Nexus, Foundation for Today's Art.

Elaine M. Erne’s art exhibitions over the years -- at The Center For Emerging Visual Artists (CFEVA), Abington Art Center, BahdeeBahdu Gallery, Westby Art Gallery, Wind Challenge Exhibition at the Fleisher Art Memorial, and Nexus Foundation for Today's Art -- have depicted a serialized drama told through large scale drawings and prints.  The narrative would appeal to any Grimm’s Brothers fan.  Stuffed animals give voice to children who are locked into a situation they cannot control and have little power to escape from.   Ms. Erne says, “I have found that using humor, however dark, is an important part of dealing with past as well as present dilemmas. The stuffed animals are used as an allegory for children. Often a child becomes like a doll, always smiling, in order to survive a continuing abusive childhood.”  Ms. Erne’s most recent chapter in the Lives and Traumas of Stuffed Animals this month at Nexus, Mr. Bunny Misses His Friends asks you, the community, to get involved and help the protagonist, Mr. Bunny. Mr. Bunny’s friends, other stuffed animals, are lost in the Center City area of Philadelphia.  Anyone who finds one of these stuffed animals and brings it to NEXUS, Foundation for Today’s Art at the Crane Building in Philadelphia during the month of the show will receive a reward from the artist.

I have known Elaine for years. I find her work beautiful, dark in both value and narrative, and powerful. Elaine creates richly layered graphite drawings over a period of months, sometimes even a year. She takes her original idea from a small 4 x 6 inch sketch and develops it into a 6, 8 or 10 foot drawing. If you visit her studio you would find her standing on a scaffold to reach the top of her drawing that is tacked to the studio wall surrounded by the debris of pencils and graphite sticks worn down to nubs. I have seen her erase whole sections of drawings if she finds a problem (if it had been my drawing I would have started over on new paper). Elaine makes the work bend to her will. 

I had not seen Elaine in a while because we were both busy working on our own exhibitions. I wanted to catch up and ask Elaine about the new work for the exhibition. 

KM: What is this show about? 

EME: Being lost and hoping someone will help you find your way, not just pass you by. 

KM: How do the lost/kidnapped stuffed animals relate to the drawings? 

EME: The drawings have always been about being lost in a situation that you cannot change or control hoping that someone will save you.  I want to see how many bunnies get saved from their fate of being stuck in the elements. The bunnies are tagged with return instructions, numbered, each number correlates to a print number and I am keeping track of their locations.  When a bunny is returned the returner will sign-in the bunny, get a print from the wall and the real bunny will be hung in that spot. After the show ends I will know what bunnies were returned.  I will then go out and see who was taken down and not returned and who is still duct taped to a post.
This exhibition will feature 90 x 60 and 90 x 72 inch drawings.  There may be some of the new postcard sized drawing but I have not decided whether to include them .

KM: How does one win a prize and what will the prize be? 

EME: In order to receive [an original, hand-pulled] 5x6 inch relief print, you must return one of the bunnies that is lost in the city to Mr. Bunny. There are 400 hundred bunnies duct taped (well, some are still being put up!) to poles throughout Center City.

KM: Are the stuffed animals lost or kidnapped? 

EME: They all have their own story of how they came to be where they are and it is up to them to tell it.  

Find some of Mr. Bunny’s friends and see if they will tell you their story. Visit the exhibition at Nexus to see the latest chapter in the Lives and Traumas of Stuffed Animals: Mr. Bunny Misses His Friends.

Elaine M. Erne is exhibiting at Nexus, Foundation for Today's Art this month. 

Exhibition details:
Mr. Bunny Misses His Friends   

May 12th through June 3rd, 2011

Opening reception on the second Thursday of the month: May 12th, 6:00-9:00 PM
Closing reception on First Friday: June 3rd, 6:00-9:00 PM

Gallery hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 12:00–6:00 PM

Nexus Foundation for Today's Art
The Crane Building, 1400 North American Street

1 comment:

  1. From what I am hearing most of the bunnies have been found. Will they make it back to Mr. Bunny?


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