A weekend dedicated to art began with a visit to the Larson Art Gallery on the University of Minnesota St Paul Campus. I became a fan of C.J. Renner’s art at the Art in Bloom show this spring and was happy to see more of his works at the Nowhere to Go But Everywhere show. The show included Renner and two other artists, Charlie Sisson and Jordan Rosenow. We learned that the three had not worked together before but were put together by the gallery. I’m not sure how much research went into the decision, but their work fit nicely together.
Renner’s work sets out to meticulously replicate the art of Robert Motherwell, who himself subscribed to a method more in tune with automatic drawing, a much less meticulous method of doodling to tap into the unconscious. As Renner explains it allows him to get to know each work better than Motherwell himself knew them. The paintings have an ephemeral feel, like a splatter about to be mopped up or cup-print begging for a coaster. The story behind the art adds an ironic layer of permanence.
Sisson use lines in his work to build larger structures like spheres or abstract. His goal is to momentarily trick the viewer into believing that they know what they are seeing only to realized upon further investigation the micro-level of shapelessness. My nine year old companion and I like to talk about what we think abstract art “is” when we go to a gallery. What enjoyed about Sisson’s art was that she and I saw completely different things, which true to the goal, both seem less certain the closer we looked.
Rosenow works with a range of media. Metal and charcoal, she says, have exhilarating limitations because their permanent natures bring unforeseen end results. It’s an interesting shift in perspective, where Renner focuses on exact replication, Sisson focuses on deception perceptions and Rosenow seems to open herself up to interpretation dictated by the materials. Her work seems to play with balance, open space and geometry.