Resist the Urge to Press Forward (2017)
Brent Fogt and Stacia Yeapanis: Resist the Urge to Press Forward
March 5 – April 15, 2017
Opening Reception: Sunday, March 5, 3 – 6pm
Closing Reception, Artist’s Talk and Sculpture Garden Installation Unveiling: Saturday, April 15, 3-6pm
“As the ordinary directness of line in town-streets, with its resultant regularity of plan, would suggest eagerness to press forward, without looking to the right hand or the left, we should recommend the general adoption in the design of your roads, of gracefully curved lines, generous spaces, and the absence of sharp corners, the idea being to suggest and imply leisure, contemplativeness and happy tranquility.”
–Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, Preliminary Report on a Proposed Design for Riverside, Illinois
The precise balance of Brent Fogt’s assemblage sculptures and the repeated tangles and scribbles in Stacia Yeapanis’ floor-based installation echo the ideas foregrounded in Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmstead’s curvilinear landscape design for Riverside, Illinois—a design that invites locals and visitors alike to slow down and contemplate their surroundings. Fogt creates objects that interact precariously with the wall and ceiling, while Yeapanis explores groundedness by arranging tangled thickets of material that blanket the floor. For both artists, making art is a way to escape the clock and pursue an alternate system of time, where discrete, repeated actions in the present take precedence over the looming expanse of the future. Each uses discarded, undervalued materials and meditative processes to encourage viewers to become more aware of their bodies and of the present moment. Rather than pressing forward, they ask us to be still for a while and attend to what’s right in front of us.
Yeapanis’ materially dense installations self-consciously echo the anxiety of “constant doing” that defines contemporary life, while simultaneously offering us an antidote to this pervasive busyness. They are improvised arrangements of thousands of distinct parts—byproducts of non-goal-oriented, repetitive gestures—that will be reconfigured in future installations. For this exhibition, Yeapanis has reduced her material choices and palette to colors found in three, regularly discarded types of material: tan-colored cardboard boxes and shipping tubes, multi-colored plastic dog waste bags, and the ivory tones of raw hand-spun wool. Her work’s ephemerality is pivotal to its content, which speaks to the presence of impermanence in everyday life and the possibility of responding to it with a sense of wonder and play rather than unease.
Fogt’s research and artwork focus on how small, discrete actions—additions, subtractions, divisions—accumulate over time. He creates slender, off-kilter sculptures by assembling fallen tree branches, discarded furniture, worn-out clothing, and other cast-off materials he has rescued from the streets and dumpsters of his Chicago neighborhood. Fogt sutures the branches and prefabricated furniture by screwing, wrapping, or crocheting them together with cotton yarn or jute. The resulting sculptures may hang from ceilings, lean against walls, or rest precariously on floors. By placing humble, weathered materials into predefined architectural spaces, his artwork points to daily activities like standing, sitting and walking that require us to physically balance ourselves and our surroundings.
Alongside sculpture and installation, both Fogt and Yeapanis will present two-dimensional works. Fogt’s collaged images from a 1960 Sears catalog hover in fields of empty space, the pieces appearing to float on the page, while the swirling cacophony of Yeapanis’s colorful ink drawings echo the unpredictably organic forms of her 3-dimensional installations. The artists will also collaborate on an installation for the outdoor sculpture garden, which combines materials Fogt collects while taking long walks along Riverside’s winding streets and parks with “tangles” cut by Yeapanis from packing boxes collected from her neighbor’s recycling bins.