Felice Koenig: Drawing Together
A Collaboration with CS1 Curatorial Projects
Hosted by Big Orbit Gallery
April 24 – May 16, 2015
OPENING: April 24, 7-10pm CLOSING: May 16, 7-10pm
In Drawing Together, Felice Koenig gathers the central tenets of her meditative artistic practice - process and connection - and extends them to collaborative drawing. She expands the loving gesture of her resonantly layered paintings to co-create works with others. Her interest is in exploring the nature of creation. Over three weekends in the spring, Koenig will draw in real time with a series of participants, using the simple tools of youth – paper and colored markers. Sitting opposite one another and working simultaneously on the same piece of paper, the goal is to play as a means of creating news bonds. In this way, drawing becomes social practice.
Koenig will be available for 90-minute sessions for the first three weekends, April 24 to May 10, Friday to Sunday, during Big Orbit’s open hours from 12 to 6PM. The public is welcome to visit or to set up an appointment in advance on-line. Everyone is encouraged to participate, especially non-artists. This practice celebrates the simple act of engaging with color and line.
Big Orbit is located at 30D Essex Street, Buffalo, NY 14213. Open Friday to Sunday, 12-6PM and by appointment.
We have had a wonderful response to this project and all previously scheduled slots are full. We will be adding more sessions and there is a possibility of cancellations. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to be put on the WAITING LIST. Include your name, email, phone number, address, occupation, age, and availability 3 to 6PM Thursdays, April 30, May 7, May 14 as well as Friday, May 15. (For cancellations, 12 - 6PM Friday to Sunday, April 25 to May 10). We are going to do our best to accommodate everyone that wishes to participate.
For questions contact: claire@CS1projects.org
About Big Orbit
Since its inception in 1991, Big Orbit Gallery has been an artist-run arts center dedicated to transcultural, multidisciplinary explorations of contemporary art issues, with its primary focus being the promotion of the art and artists of Western New York. Through programming that ranges everything from painting and performance art to architectural installations and live sound sculpture, Big Orbit extends the legacy of artistic innovation historically associated with Buffalo, providing a basis for the creation of new boundary-pushing work. The gallery encourages the under-represented, emerging and established artists in the community through solo exhibition opportunities, and curated group exhibits promoting social awareness. Big Orbit takes great pride in establishing a creative dialogue between artists and community.
About Nova Benway
Nova Benway is a curator and writer. She is assistant curator at The Drawing Center in New York, where she co-curates Open Sessions, a two-year program of experimental exhibitions and public programs co-organized with more than fifty local, national and international artists. Open Sessions incubates new ideas about drawing, providing a rare, extended opportunity for artists to work together in creating their own context around the medium. At the free education platform The Public School, New York, Benway hosts Between Who, a series of events exploring the intersections between pedagogy and artistic research and artists’ communities.
In creating a site of possibility with members of the community, Koenig weaves together socially engaged art practices with the spiritual tradition of abstract painting. Emphasizing connection over skill and encouraging non-artists to participate, she celebrates the power of drawing to create space. Here we find the opportunity to visualize and manifest. Drawing Together joins the contemporary art world’s renewed interest in the restorative potential of art. This project is a hybrid of recent conceptual and mark-making practices. Like Pedro Reyes’ Sanatorium, which debuted at the Guggenheim, it provides unexpected therapy-inspired encounters “in an effort to cure ills associated with urban living.” Like the body energy maps of Guo Fengyi, recently celebrated in the Carnegie International, it heralds the individual’s ability to channel healing through inscription. Koenig’s project counters the rush to virtual connection, by grounding interaction in space and time and material.
Time-lapse video will document the process-like nature of the drawings, offering visitors visual insight into past encounters both on-site and on-line. The final drawings will be displayed as they are finished. Each piece will also be digitally documented, to archive the piece and create a print edition that is available as a set and individually. Every participant will receive a virtual copy. An artist book designed as an instruction manual for How to Draw with Friends, Friends of Friends, and Strangers will serve as a catalogue. An interview between Koenig and curator Claire Schneider will be included as well as an essay by Nova Benway, Assistant Curator and Curator, Open Sessions program, The Drawing Center, New York, NY.
This exhibition is made possible with support from Barbara Baird and an anonymous donor.
If you've drawn with Felice, we would love to hear how it was. Please consider leaving a reflection of your experience. Just a quick comment or something more considered. There is the possibility of being published in the artist's book How to Draw with Friends, Friends of Friends, and Strangers. Either way your feed back will help us do this project again.
I have been drawing with cheap non-archival markers for my entire life. One of the ways I have connected with people has been through doing collaborative drawings with people who do not consider themselves “artists” in this medium. The basic nature of this creative process and the collaborative aspect has regularly proven to provide a freeing environment to play in creation together. The drawings that come out of this endeavor more often than not surprise and delight me, but more importantly they reflect a place that has been tapped into that is removed from the voice of aesthetic judgment. This serves as an important release for me as an artist and an empowering experience for those who might like to draw but think they have not got the talent for it.
The questions I want to explore include what kind of drawing, bonds, and other surprises it will manifest in this wider community of collaboration? What can come out of this social practice – will participants be more inclined to create on their own, how will this change audience reaction, can the gesture grow in other ways beyond the paper? How open will a wider range of people be to the idea of visualizing and manifesting (spiritual practice) through drawing? How can we do something good together that moves beyond the walls of the gallery and the constraints of the traditional art world using a traditional practice?
About Felice Koenig
Felice Koenig graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with an MFA in 2003, where she studied under Francis Colpitt. Koenig’s work is a loving meditation on obsessive gesture. Many of her pieces are made from more than a fifty layers of paint. The persistent marking of swaths of tiny dots produce seductive, tactile surfaces that despite their artificial nature achieve a sense of organic growth. Her work has been shown widely in the USA and internationally in Germany, China, and Canada. In October, Koenig’s work was highlighted at Renann Issacs Contemporary Art at Art Toronto. This February, it is included in the exhibition Materials Girls, an exploration of material process and notions of excess as they relate to the feminized body, gendered space, and capitalist desire, at the Dunlop Art Gallery in Regina, Saskatchewan. Three of her works are in the collection of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY. She teaches painting and drawing at Daemen College.
About CS1 Curatorial Projects
Founded by Claire Schneider in 2013, CS1 facilitates creative art projects in unexpected spaces. Through commissioning and producing new work and collaborating with a wide range of artists, individuals, and institutions, CS1 is dedicated to expanding the audience for contemporary art. Recent and upcoming projects include Chris Barr’s thought experiment and bartering service Meaningful Offers for the Echo Art Fair. For FinnFest 2015, Pia Lindman will unearth a forgotten aspect of the Kalevala by performing an ancient healing treatment in concert with new music ensemble Wooden Cities. In 2013, Schneider organized the traveling exhibition More Love: Art, Politics, and Sharing since the 1990s for the Ackland Art Museum at UNC-Chapel Hill. Accompanied by a 240-page catalogue, More Love won an American Association of Museum Curators Award for Best Exhibition. A long-time museum curator, Schneider was Associate Curator of Contemporary Art, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 1998-2008, and Senior Curator at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, 2008-2010.