EXCAVATIONS: A Conversation on Fragments

Part Two

 

Ellie Krakow, Artist in EXCAVATIONS

in conversation with

Sarah Madole, Fragmentist and Professor of Art History at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, NYC

 

 Ellie Krakow "Arm Armature #2" (detail), 2016 Glazed ceramic, photographs on aluminum, and wood

Ellie Krakow "Arm Armature #2" (detail), 2016 Glazed ceramic, photographs on aluminum, and wood

Ellie Krakow: How do you think about articulating or rebuilding the missing forms or missing narratives between fragments in your research?  How do you perceive those spaces being filled, addressed, or contemplated in the artworks in Excavations?

 

Sarah Madole: People who work with fragments need a strong foundation in what is -- what is known, what is whole-- in order to grapple with more ephemeral traces in a meaningful way. In my research I have to navigate between the known and unknown, from complete entities to fragmented pictures. I try to stay close to the evidence (of what is) yet to explore the bounds of what ultimately can only be recreated through a fragmented lens. 

 Julie Ann Nagle, "Excavation Group", 2015, Carved National Geographic Magazines, glue

Julie Ann Nagle, "Excavation Group", 2015, Carved National Geographic Magazines, glue

In Excavations I see pieces evocative of broader narratives, such as your fragment stands and hand photographs - through our conversation I have a clear image of your process in my mind, but I can't prove it, I can only begin to reconstruct the missing forms, as you say, by staying close to the objects themselves. The specimens. This also goes for Julie Ann's series of displayed objects. I keep thinking the words "lost worlds" when I encounter her works in the show. There's something primal, geological, reminiscent of the way marble is formed over thousands of years in her National Geographic transformations. I'm more interested in generating questions than answers, and the works in this exhibition reflect this kind of process, too. 

 

EK: Do you deal with the concept of time in your work as a fragmentist? Are there elements in the artworks in the show that resonate with your notion(s) of time? 

 

SM:  For me Susan's pieces in the show reflect temporal aspects that resonate with the body of material I work with: Part of a wheel -- where is the rest of it? What moments in its history led to this one? That wheel had both a lived life and now we're participating in its afterlife. Who is to say which is more important? Time works for me in such a way. There's the initial creation of a monument and its relevance to the person or people who owned it, then there's its next phase as an heirloom or hand-me-down, a secondhand discount purchase, a castaway repurposed and given a new relevance to the next owners. There's both a short and long view of time in this sense. I would say Arthur's repurposed materials bring this question of the evolution of an object's relevance through time to our attention. 

 Susan Metrican, detail of "Lang Wandered this Way", 2016, Acrylic on canvas

Susan Metrican, detail of "Lang Wandered this Way", 2016, Acrylic on canvas

EK: What role does materiality play in your research?  Are there connections you make between the kind of materiality do you deal with and the way we each handle materials? 

 

SM: Materiality is such a joy for me; there's a dynamic, almost sensual draw for me toward sculpture, mosaics and textiles in a way that I find more challenging to conjure with dry, plaster wall paintings from the Greco-Roman world. The color and texture of a piece - either of an organic material such as a stone, or of a crafted object such as glazed terracotta - brings a lived time, physicality to an object. There is indeed a consonance between what attracts me to material culture and the show in that every artist represented in Excavations crafted pieces with a strong sense of materiality, from metal, wood, terracotta, textiles and more. 

 

Part One