Exhibition Review: Provenance at Ground Floor Gallery
Ai Campbell, Sara Jones, Anne Mourier-Falco Provenance June 09 - July 09, 2017
Ground Floor Gallery, 343 5th Street, Brooklyn, New York 11215
Written by Adriana Kidon
Provenance, currently on exhibition at Ground Floor Gallery, features three female Brooklyn based artists with a common thread underlying their work: unearthing severed or unfamiliar familial connections and histories in their lives.
With strong black and white references, Ai Campbell remains true to the monochromatic roots she adopted after discovering the black and white landscape drawings her grandfather created while serving in the war. Because he died before she was born, these drawings are the only interactions she shares with him. The organic study of dark and light contours and shapes displayed in her art brings forward the central theme of her work: interacting with the most simple forms of life in order to analyze the most complex.
Sara Jones’ on-going project aims to recreate the journey two of her ancestors took through Europe in 1844. She utilizes passed-down journals and artifacts from this journey as inspiration while exploring the many different ways of remembering – letters, journals, photographs, souvenirs, relics, homes – and how these pieces affect our memories. Further, she questions the various forms of economic privilege. What factors were involved in allowing for her ancestors’ journey in 1844? How can she link her that journey with her own privilege as a white American traveling through Europe today? Jones’ project generates a dialogue between the historical past and her own engagement with it in the present with meaning emerging from the political and social changes that have taken place during the vast margin of time between the two.
Finally, Anne Mourier’s diptychs on view in the gallery are portraits based on her mother. Using biblical symbolism, The Marys diptych alludes to the opposing archetypes of the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene – one maternal and serene and the other adventurous and bold. Upon speaking with Mourier at the opening, guests of the gallery learned about her mother’s continued attempt at suppressing her naturally free spirited nature in order to conform to the typical female role of the time. In her series, the use of pairs serves to construct a mirror that explores the dual conceptions of feminitity, the individual, and the human condition as whole.
By exploring their unique individual identities and backgrounds through the means of intimate speculation, Ai Campbell, Sara Jones, and Anne Mourier create profound mixed-media pieces that interact beautifully as a collective installation. Each artist’s work brings blurred ancestral ties to light and affixes them with a clear sense of meaning they were previously missing.