Spotlight on Intersections@5: Vesna Pavlovic

The Phillips celebrates the fifth anniversary of its Intersections contemporary art series with Intersections@5, an exhibition comprising work by 20 of the participating artists. In this blog series, each artist writes about his or her work on view.

Pavlovic_Untitled Swiss

Vesna Pavlovic, Untitled (Swiss Peasant art exhibition, 1957.4), 2014. Archival pigment print, 40 x 50 in. Gift of the artist, 2014. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC

While exploring The Phillips Collection’s archive, I came across a group of black and white photographs and negatives taken in 1960s. These included images of an exhibition of Giacometti’s sculptural works, Mark Tobey’s paintings, and images of the former Annex façade, among others. The materiality of these large format negatives and their inevitable photographic obsolescence became the starting point of my exploration. I overlaid found analog negatives and scanned them digitally to create new photographs. Physically bringing layers of images together turned negatives opaque and ghostly looking. The study of the archive exposed the sensibility of the collection and aesthetic choices of image and text display in the museum. For me, this was an opportunity to examine photographic representation of specific political and cultural histories of the America’s first museum of modern art.

Vesna Pavlović

Spotlight on Intersections@5: A. Balasubramaniam

The Phillips celebrates the fifth anniversary of its Intersections contemporary art series with Intersections@5, an exhibition comprising work by 20 of the participating artists. In this blog series, each artist writes about his or her work on view.

Balasubramanian_Hold Nothing

A. Balasubramaniam, Hold Nothing, 2012. Cast from artist’s body, fiberglass and acrylic, 42 x 24 x 7 in. Purchase, The Dreier Fund for Acquisitions, 2014

Hold Nothing is an effort to bring form to the formless—to realize the potential of the unseen. It is a cast from my own hands, the distance between the two edges of the work the actual distance from my body’s left and right outstretched arms. Skin, the outer layer of the body, is also revealed as an edge where the individual self ends and everything else begins. In this work, the inside (of my hands) becomes the outside (of the work). Our respect and awareness for material reality is often more than that for the non-material or the non-visible; we usually think of “nothing” as negative. I am attempting here to show that even nothing is something—even nothing has its own unique form. The result is Hold Nothing.

A. Balasubramaniam

Spotlight on Intersections@5: John F. Simon Jr.

The Phillips celebrates the fifth anniversary of its Intersections contemporary art series with Intersections@5, an exhibition comprising work by 20 of the participating artists. In this blog series, each artist writes about his or her work on view.

Simon_Heat from the Core

John F. Simon Jr., Heat From the Core Raises Mountains and Opens Oceans, 2011. 30 color water-based screenprint on Coventry Rag 335gsm, 30 x 36 in. Edition of 42

My original drawing for this large 30-color silkscreen print was made during a visit to Kailua, a small town on the windward side of the island of Oahu, where my wife was born and raised. The Hawaiian islands were formed by the upwelling of lava from a volcanic hotspot originating in the Earth’s mantle. Inspired by the surrounding geology, I used my imagination to peer deep into the Earth’s core; a metaphor for the way I daily peer down into my own core and allow my drawings to erupt.

Starting in 1999 and continuing to the present, I have created at least one drawing every day as a meditative self-inquiry and artistic practice. When I sit down to draw I have no image in mind and use spontaneous and improvisational movements of my hand to suggest form and content. This image was drawn on January 2, 2010 and then scanned and uploaded to my online archive. The title of the print is the text I wrote to accompany the drawing online.

John F. Simon Jr.