The title of the exhibition takes its cues from Zakic’s multi-layered and many-surfaced contributions to this exhibition. These two installations – which take on new meanings when encountered in new settings – consist of oil panel paintings and an oil on linen installation.[1] Using the term “context” as a starting point, I selected “contexture” as the binding thread among the works on paper, sculptures, paintings, found objects, and installations that each of the three artists has contributed to this exhibition.

Contexture literally means “the process of weaving together separate strands…to form a complex but coherent whole.”[2] This is precisely the method employed in curating this exhibition. While artworks are frequently selected one-by-one for exhibitions that are often grounded upon a theoretical premise, theme, or discursive argument, here each artist has offered works that are chosen for personal, artistic reasons. However, there was an additional need – to install works that, while remaining individual and distinct, also contributed to the larger gallery experience. As opposed to an entirely pre-determined display, the artists considered the phenomenological gallery experience: how the works relate to one another, how they relate to the space around them, and how they confront the viewer’s space. This, of course, means “curating on-the-spot” to determine what might stay in the show or be removed to the artist’s studio. However, the end result yields an assemblage of works that become, by virtue of their placement in the gallery and inclusion in this exhibition, a crucible of artistic talent – a place where works and the individuals who created them are shifted, contained, restrained, and balanced by others.

By italicizing the term “text”, the word’s root and relationship to other word forms becomes apparent; text is literally embedded between a prefix and suffix. I wanted to emphasize the extent to which “text” forms the basis of three words: context, text, and texture. Each artist employs “texture” in such a way that we look to their works as structures that push the boundaries of the surface material to the fullest extent that each media allows. Siobhan Byrns, Stacey R. Chinn, and Boris Zakic also address “context” in the spatial and cultural senses. The contexts of the works become the references from visual and social culture as well as the immediate context surrounding the works in the exhibition gallery. Each artist also addresses text implicitly or explicitly. For Byrns and Zakic, text forms a part of the aesthetic discussion through the presence of fonts that have been created, manipulated, and mutilated. Chinn suggests text through a title that responds to her reading of Sylvia Plath’s poetry.[3] [1] Context Project, oil on 12 panels, 24”x6” each, 2004 and Translations #30: From Text to Texture, oil on linen, 72”x90”, 2003.

[2] Microsoft Encarta Dictionary, accessed 12/8/04.

[3] I Am Not the Baby in the Barn (Portrait of the artist in Stage 1), pigment-based archival print, 2005. This print was inspired by two events: Chinn’s reading “Ariel” Poems by Sylvia Plath and, in particular, the poem “Nick and the Candlestick” and the verse “You are the baby in the barn” .