Muscle Memory at Athen B. Gallery
Opening Reception | April 15th at 7pm
Showing Through | May 5, 2017
Athen B. Gallery is excited to announce the opening reception of “Muscle Memory” a group exhibition featuring new works of Alexandra Levasseur, Kate Klingbeil, Lynnea Holland-Weiss, and Winnie Truong on April 15th at 7pm. The exhibition will feature all new works by each artist ranging from paintings on canvas, framed paper cutouts, ceramic sculptures, and works on framed wood panels.
We’re conveniently located at 1525 Webster St. just off both 12th and 19th Street Bart Stations in Downtown Oakland. To be added to the collectors preview being sent out next week contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Art is for me a way to study Nature. Biology, physics and astrophysics, are an infinite source of inspiration. It's my starting point to intend understand and illustrate the mystery of existence which is the central concern of my statement.
In the expression “Muscle memory”, I find an analogy to the concepts of body/spirit, matter/energy and life/death, which are key words in my work. The marble figures portrayed in this series symbolize the survival of human beings throughout eternity. These representations serve me to further my research on the movement vs the stillness of an image, explored in my previous work (painting and animation). This movement comes with the need to strengthen ideas of transformation, temporality, rhythm, and the augmentation of the senses. These moving statues travelling the time in between two worlds are existing forever in the memory of the Universe.
Born in Mauricie (Québec) in 1982, Alexandra Levasseur earned a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts and Graphic Design at the University of Costa Rica in 2006. She then moved to Barcelona and completed post-graduate studies in Illustration and Techniques of Visual Communications at the EINA School of Art and Design in 2008. Since her return to Montreal, she has spent the past few years focusing on her painting, creating animated films and furthering her studies at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema, at Concordia University, in Montreal.
Levasseur’s work enjoys worldwide recognition. Invited to collaborate during the Fashion Week in Milan (2013) by Nick Knight of SHOWstudio, London, she created drawings of the most renowned fashion shows. For many years now, numerous magazines have devoted articles and publications to her work: Juxtapoz, Decover, 24 images, Hi Fructose, Ignant, Supersonic Art, Booooooom, and Exhibition-ism, among others. Her film Table d’hôte was programmed in at several international festivals (Netherlands, Greece, Ukraine, Brazil, France). Her works have been exhibited in prestigious museums and galleries: The Victoria and Albert Museum, London (2014-2015); The Picasso Museum, Barcelona (2009); and The Barra de Ferro Space, Barcelona (2008)
For Muscle Memory, I have created a series of ceramic sculptures that tell the narrative of a woman who exists in multiple forms; as horse, as unicorn, and as flower. With this work I am interested in an emotional current that lies below the surface, what we know and what we think we know. I want to make real magic out of dirt. Muscle memory is a physical knowledge, a movement that is second-nature because it has been practiced many times over. I grew up riding horses, and have been reflecting on how that experience has made me who I am, and how I will carry that in my body forever. In a culture that is increasingly interested in out-of-body experiences, I have been thinking more and more about activities that keep us grounded to our physical beings. The work I have contributed to Muscle Memory honors self love as self care, the importance of vulnerability in the pursuit of happiness, and the sacred nature of the ordinary horse with the soul of a unicorn.
Kate Klingbeil (b. 1990) is a multi-disciplinary artist currently living and working in Brooklyn, NY. She grew up on a farm in the suburbs of Milwaukee, WI where she spent her childhood surrounded by animals and riding horses. Her work spans the mediums of painting, sculpture, ceramics, and animation, and investigates sexuality, feminine power, memory, personal experiences, animal/human communication, secrets and movement. Kate received a BFA in printmaking from California College of the Arts in Oakland in 2012, and has attended residencies at Kala Art Institute, ACRE Projects and The Venice Printmaking Studio. Her work has been published in Fresh Paint Magazine, Vice The Creators Project, and she has shown work internationally in Japan and Glasgow, as well as across the United States in the bay area, Milwaukee, Portland, New York and Los Angeles, among other US cities.
In my work, Muscle Memory is about the physical manifestation of our experiences. Our entire perception of the world is held within our bodies. Society tends to focus on our mind, but often forgets to acknowledge the body, somehow creating a hierarchy and treating the two as if they aren’t entirely connected. Coming from a dance background, “muscle memory” refers to a moment in learning choreography, when the brain stops actively engaging and the movement is entirely retained within the muscles. This is profound to me because, whether we are aware of it or not, our bodies are holding onto our experiences, retaining and storing these memories physically.
I am interested in human interactions, daily life and how these experiences stay within our body language. The way our limbs fold, where we hold weight, a crease in the brow, a round puckered lip – all say so much about our history. My paintings embrace vibrant colors and layering. I use bold or unusual combinations to accentuate feeling, making the emotions that much more visible, as well as a means to push ambiguity and androgyny within the figures. I am interested in dissolving our ability to disassociate ourselves from one another. Layering in my paintings is a way to explore visualizing the emotional experience, the subconscious realm, the concept of time lapsing, simultaneous moments occurring, or different interpretations of shared events. Certain pieces in this body of work are depictions of specific memories and the visceral feelings that the body held onto, while others investigate the more mundane and repetitive daily routines that become habitual almost because of muscle memory. All of the work relies on the viewers to bring their own history onto the table and into the paintings in order to understand or create narratives.
Lynnea Holland-Weiss (b. 1990) is an Oakland based artist, who is proud to also be originally from the Bay Area. She received a BFA in Painting from California College of the Arts in 2013. Lynnea is primarily a painter, with a focus always on the human subject and navigating a vibrantly emotional color palette. She is interested in charting people’s movement through space and time, and in this way her work can feel cinematic. She comes from a dance background, and occasionally her practice also explores drawing, printmaking, animation and video. In addition to her studio practice, she actively puts her work up publicly and paints murals. She wants her work to be an accessible part of the everyday experience for someone to stumble upon, in addition to being found in the gallery museum setting. Her murals currently live both nationally and internationally and her work has been exhibited throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, and in other US cities, such as Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Seattle, Atlanta, Chicago and others. Her work has also been recognized through prestigious sources, such as New American Paintings, Fresh Paint Magazine, Juxtapoz, Studio Visit Magazine, Contemporary Art Curator and The Art Blog.
Over the years, my drawing practice has generated a dialogue between the female body, hair, labour and the drawn line. Using only coloured pencil and chalk pastels on paper I’ve continued to examine our heavily coded ideas of beauty, nature and femininity through subverting the idealized female form. My ongoing body of work with cut paper embodies these ideals with a series of female figures imagined as “Wimmin creatures” poised with spontaneously emerging flora, fronds and tendrils that mingle and coalesce with the body’s flesh and folds.
The wimmin in my work embrace decay and imperfection while verging on animalistic and free. For me, the idea of Muscle Memory embodies a return to a place that is simultaneously unknown but familiar to the senses. The figures in the show are suspended in strange environments stripped of society’s trappings. They seem to thrive whether they are birthing their environments or merely interwoven with the elements of untamed nature. With their bodies surrounded by dense overgrowths and blooms, these wimmin creatures are all at once robust, sensual and shy. They exist within narratives inspired by relationship dynamics, personality tropes, the loss of youth and stories from the female experience.
My new works for Muscle Memory also reflect a nomadic year of residencies in 2016 working close to nature in Norway, Japan and lastly at VAR Program: a houseboat residency in Sausalito whose immense support has made the work in the show possible. Muscle memory is in part, the artist finding comfort in process through labour-intensive meditative drawing, precision cutting and collaging. It is finding comfort in familiar work while in a state of unease travelling and creating art in new and disparate environments.
Winnie Truong an artist who specializes large scale coloured pencil drawings on paper. In recent years Truong has developed a body of work that generates a dialogue between beauty, hair and the drawn line. Focusing on the subject of hair, she imagines it’s new possibilities beyond ornament and towards living objects and environments. Truong lives and works in Toronto, where she received a BFA from the Ontario College of Art and Design’s drawing and painting program. Truong is a recipient of the Toronto Arts Council and Ontario Arts Council visual arts grants and is the recipient W.O. Forsythe award, the 401 Richmond Career Launcher prize and the BMO 1st! Art Award for Ontario, through which she exhibited at the MOCCA. Winnie has exhibited internationally in galleries across Toronto, LA, and Copenhagen and in New York where she was featured at VOLTA, NY Art Fair. Her work has been published in numerous art publications, including the cover of Hi-Fructose, Juxtapoz, and Walk the Line: The Art of Drawing. Her work is in the collection of The Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, Kansas, Doris McCarthy Gallery at the University of Toronto, and Bank of Denmark.