Thursday, March 18, 2010

Breakups R Tough

Breakups R Tough: a group exhibition

April 3– 24, 2010

Opening reception: Saturday, April 3rd, 7:00 – 10:00 pm

Regular Gallery Hours: 12-4, Saturdays

Cincinnati, OH—About now, many of those relationships that were flourishing at Valentine’s Day aren’t looking so good. U·turn Art Space is pleased to announce a group exhibition that generates a wry discourse to deflate the melodrama of failed relationships. The exhibition includes Shawnee Barton, Stephanie Brooks, Alex Da Corte, Craig Damrauer, Erica Eyres, Lynne Harlow, Peter Huttinger, Eric Lebofsky, Joetta Maue, Casey Riordan Millard and Michael J. Morris.

Artists using embroidery, drawing, installation, performance, photography, sculpture and video offer different perspectives on crisis points in the human experience. Not strictly focused on just the ‘breakup’ between romantic partners, Breakups R Tough considers how interpersonal interactions cease or mutate into something more chaotic. Grafted into the dialogue are slanted looks at other stages in the quest for love, companionship and sex, such as propositions, courtship and self-pleasure. The assembled artists will address the topic with humor, wit, sexuality, physical comfort, and suggestions for remodeling our culture’s structure for types of relationships and categories of love and conflict.

Artist Bios

Shawnee Barton is a Texas born interdisciplinary artist currently living in San Diego. She received her BFA in Sculpture and graduated with departmental distinction from Southern Methodist University. She participated in the Independent Studio Programme at Slade School of Art in London, and completed her MFA at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago. Shawnee is also an arts educator, administrator and advocate. Shawnee has taught courses in both the Photography and Printmedia departments at SAIC. She has worked as an arts administrator for The Illinois Arts Council, The Palo Alto Arts Center, and and New Langton Arts in San Francisco. During this past presidential election, Shawnee served on Barack Obama's National Arts Policy Committee. For the exhibition at U.turn, Shawnee will be contributing an installation of books that originated from her 2006 conceptual project The One That Got Away. Through various avenues of research, Barton deconstructed this common phrase and created a number of objects and installations that looked at its plural role in our culture. The element we will be exhibiting is Every Book in Print titled “The One That Got Away” which is pretty much what it sounds like. The repeated title on a set of books resonates this idea of loss across a spectrum of subjects that the books address.

Shawnee Barton's Artist Statement: Many Americans place importance on introspection, self-revelation, and creating a self-image to portray to the world. Our enthusiasm for therapists, talk shows, and emotion-regulating medications are all examples of individuals trying to better understand and live with themselves and others. My work is a manifestation of my own complex relationship with introspection, and the creation of a personal identity. While openly trying to better understand my world, I also use satire to explore sociological concerns such as dislocation, relationship and group dynamics, class issues, and the ways in which we make connections and communicate with each other.

Stephanie Brooks was born in 1970. She received her MFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL in 1997. She is in the collections of Philip Morris, New York, the MacArthur Foundation, Chicago and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Stephanie Brooks lives and works in Chicago. Brook’s contribution to Breakups R Tough is a light box entitled Metaphors for Love that appropriates the template for identifying types of candies in a heart shaped box of chocolates. Rather than the traditional flavors, the text inside the candy shapes inventory a range of romantic, sly and dark metaphors that have been used to discuss love.

Craig Damrauer is a writer and artist living and working in Brooklyn. He graduated with an MFA from the University of Arizona in 1996. His work has been shown at the MCA Denver and has appeared in the New York Times, GOOD Magazine, Mother Jones and Adbusters. Most recently, a version of New Math edited by Ed Ruscha was published by CT Editions in London. Damrauer’s New Math project, as well as many other endeavors, find skewed and humorous approaches to love and the trials and triumphs of life. For Breakups R Tough, Damrauer has conceived of a large screenprinted version of some of his New Math equations, to be accompanied by a tender piece entitled The Love Variations, in which love is mistyped, full of blinding typos and errors. We encourage you to explore his very interactive website.

Alex Da Corte lives and works in Philadelphia, PA and New Haven, CT. Born in 1980. He received his BFA from University of Arts, Philadelphia, PA and is completing his MFA from Yale University this year. Da Corte primarily exhibits meticulously crafted sculptures and sleek photographs. His work has been presented in numerous notable exhibitions, including Black Floor Gallery and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia; the Asia Song Society in New York, NY; LaMontagne Gallery in Boston, MA; Golden Age in Chicago, IL; Parisian Laundry in Montreal, QC; and most recently, an ambitious floor installation was presented at PS1 in Long Island City, in conjunction with the thematic exhibition Between Spaces.

Da Corte will present several photographs from his Activity series, in which attractive young men are documented performing various undisclosed activities. Usually stripped to their underwear and sometimes splashed with colored soda or decorated with glitter, these images capture brief interactions between the artist and men he meets in public places.

Each Activity shows its subject speaking very clearly about himself, and the choices he’s facing. They are deciding about narcissism, vanity, submissiveness, deception, guilt—the new variables in their emotional life. How carefully will they define their future, how consciously? These photographs are archetypes of the relationship between the boy and humanity, an essential reduction of everything he’s dealing with. They are basic artistic exercises, this is how they were conceived and how they are executed. …These boys are living in a moment where a relationship with a lens can be just as real as a relationship with a person, and the forum presented by the Activities is totally comfortable, totally natural. This social phenomenon is in a very advanced, sophisticated stage. Alex’s presence is increasingly invisible in these works, because these boys are very adept at relating to a lens, at a screen. The acts that Alex invites the models to participate in allow them to decide, and show off, what they can do, or what they are willing to do. The Activities are a naked, unfiltered record of the complicity question, more essential and more raw than ever before, gritty, and almost frightening, when compared to, say, Warhol’s photographic/ cinematogaphic portraiture of the 1960s and ’70s.

-an excerpt from William Pym’s essay, “Let’s Hear It for the Boys,” about Da Corte’s Activity photographs. Essay courtesy of the artist.

Erica Eyres was born in Winnipeg, Canada in 1980. She received her BFA in Fine Arts from the University of Manitoba in 2002 and her MFA from the Glasgow School of Art in 2004. In 2003, Eyres attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. She appears in Breakups R Tough courtesy of her London gallery ROKEBY. Since 2006, Eyre’s work has appeared in exhibitions in Miami, FL; Los Angeles, CA; Berlin; Glasgow; London; New York; Toronto; Zurich; Thessalonica, Greece and Akureyri, Iceland. Eyres typically works in black and white drawings as well as video. Her 2008 video work Imaginary Girlfriend will be included in the Breakups R Tough exhibition.

Imaginary Girlfriend description from Eyre’s website: Imaginary Girlfriend is based loosely on 1980s family sitcoms, and features a boy named Steven and his imaginary girlfriend Amanda. Steven is constantly tormented by Amanda, being asked to do things that leave him in embarrassing situations. Simultaneously, the video reveals the suffocating and inappropriate relationship between Steven and his mother.

Peter Huttinger is a coworker at Homeadow Song Farm - a center for community-based education. He works with an independent group of gardeners, artists and educators developing programs that center on home-based education and urban agriculture, ethical stewardship of land and contemporary art practices. As an artist Peter has lived and worked in Cincinnati for over 30 years and has been an organic vegetable gardener for over a fifteen years. He is a graduate of the Civic Garden Center’s Community Garden Development Training program, former Project Manager of The Gardens at Village Green (a not-for-profit urban organic/sustainable community garden/greenhouse facility), and a graduate from Sunbridge College’s Administration & Community Development Program. From 2001-1993 he was the Archivist for the Robert J. Shiffler Archive (a collection of post-modern art, artist publications and performance documentation). From 1989 to 2001 he operated Volatile Art, Books and Editions a small press publisher and mail order business with a focus on artists' books, editions and performance art documentation. Peter has also worked as an Adjunct Curator with the Contemporary Arts Center (Multiple Strategies 2004, and Performing Objects 2000); Dileia Contemporary (Waste Not- Want Not: A Time Store 1999); Weston Art Gallery objects.doc (1997) and has been an adjunct instructor at the University of Cincinnati and Art Academy of Cincinnati. Peter is currently the Neighborhood Gardens Coordinator for the Civic Garden Center of Greater Cincinnati.

Because of space necessities, Huttinger recently downsized and destroyed many of his popular sculptures and installations collectively known as the Sex Machines. For this exhibition at U.turn, he will be installing a series of leftover and salvaged elements (such as plaster casts of condoms) as an installation in the space. Keeping with the spirit of the exhibition, Huttinger hopes to put together the pieces of the broken sexually charged sculptures.

Lynne Harlow lives and works in Providence RI and New York, NY. She earned her BA from Framingham State College, Framingham, MA, and her MFA from Hunter College. Though Harlow’s background has a focus on printmaking, she now traverses many disciplines and has widely exhibited her installations that use materials like chiffon, wall paintings, fluorescent Plexiglas and drawings to reduce and refine the viewer’s perception of color and space. Harlow has exhibited in the illustrious PS1 in Long Island City; Bus-dori in Tokyo, Japan; and Free Gallery in Glasgow, Scotland, to name just a few. She is represented by Minus Space in Brooklyn. For Breakups R Tough, Harlow will be presenting a reinterpretation of an installation entitled Limitless and Loneliness that was previously exhibited at White Box, New York. A delicate pink wall painting is accompanied by music by Haber/Randall/Zemelko, which is played from beneath a small bench that viewers may have isolated experiences with the field of color and ambient sound.

From the artist’s personal statement:
How little is enough? How much can be taken away before a piece crumbles? My process of reduction is ultimately intended to be an act of generosity. In each piece I’m looking for the point at which reductions give the most. It’s an appealing contradiction because it prompts one to reconsider the concept of abundance and the nature of giving.

Eric Lebofsky is a Chicago-based artist, musician and writer. He holds a BA from Columbia University, New York, NY; and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His visual art is represented by Western Exhibitions in Chicago and Sears-Peyton Gallery in New York. Along with several ambitious solo projects with both these galleries, Lebofsky has also exhibited at Miller Block Gallery in Boston, MA; Fecalface Gallery in San Francisco, CA; and Arena 1 Gallery in Los Angeles. His artwork was used in the promotion of the 2006 Lollapalooza music festival and in 2004 he created an edition of t-shirts for the Abercrombie & Fitch Company that retailed at their Ruehl stores across the country. His artist books are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Lebofsky’s contribution to Breakups R Tough is a three-piece sculpture entitled Bizarre Love Triangle. Three vertical (and phallic) forms contrast soft against hard, point against blunt edges. This piece is part of a body of work entirely made in wood, a recent addition to Lebofsky’s studio practice.

From Lebofsky’s personal statement: This is the first time I have worked with wood, and it has been an enjoyable experience with a substantial learning curve. At first, working with wood and learning about the required tools was fully absorbing, and I was happy to let the content follow. Applying [a] method of structured play to the creation of these sculptures was not as hard as I thought it would be. In fact, I took to it quite readily. Improvisational ideas occurred more monolithically than they do with drawing, and more gradually, over a period of months. I tended to think exclusively in terms of psychological impressions.

Joetta Maue lives and works in Brooklyn, NY with her husband, 2 cats and a goldfish. She received her BFA from Ohio State University and her MFA from the University of Massachusetts. Maue’s work has been shown in galleries and museums throughout the country, most recently in a solo exhibition at Elizabeth Beland Gallery in Massachusetts and an exhibit at Yard Dog Gallery in Austin, TX. She recently spoke as a panelist at the craft conference Summit of Awesome in Washington D.C. Maue also authors the popular art and craft blog Little Yellowbird, as well as regularly contributes articles to the online journal Hello Craft and MrXStich. Maue is featured in the forthcoming book Indie Craft edited by Jo Waterhouse published in October 2010 and in the January issue of Needle Magazine. Maue primarily uses photography and fibers in her work. In her most recent series of embroideries, she explores the conflicts and contradictions that exist within intimacy. Her work resides within the realm of the everyday, everyday objects, autobiography, and the female. She is especially interested in the role of personal relationships in our lives, seen in our most intimate moments and spaces. In a piece specifically realized for the upcoming U.turn exhibition, Maue has embroidered the text “This Is Bullshit” across a vintage textile. At different moments, saccharine and then suddenly confrontational, Maue’s work subverts expectations and participates in an almost Punk backlash of attitude in contemporary art and craft.

Casey Riordan Millard is a native of Cincinnati and holds a BFA from Ohio Unitversity in Athens, OH. She is a City of Cincinnati Individual Artist Grant recipient from 2008. After living for much of her professional career in Chicago, she now lives and works in Cincinnati. In 2008, she presented solo exhibitions at the Carnegie Visual + Performing Arts Center in Covington, KY; and Packer-Schopf Gallery in Chicago, IL. In 2009, she presented a large body of work in her solo exhibition at the Weston Art Gallery in Cincinnati, OH. Millard’s work includes detailed, meticulous drawings and paintings on paper, as well as small- and large-scale ceramic sculptures. She explains about her own work: I largely make work about seeking solace from mortality. My artwork also serves as a personal distraction from thoughts of my own impermanence. I combine illustrative and traditional techniques in my sculptures and drawings to address the darker issues of the human condition, reflecting my sense of humor and outlook on the bittersweet heartbreak of life. For this exhibition, we are pleased to present a rarity in Millard’s oeuvre. Goblin Shark with Valentine is an enigmatic scene depicted in gouache, watercolor and ink on paper. Beneath a cascade of streetlight, we are introduced to an unlikely couple: a bald drag queen (possibly a prostitute) is being courted (or solicited) by a monstrous shark that bears little resemblance to the delicate “Shark Girl” character for which Millard has come to be known. In an exhibition about the arch of relationships, and the various endings they sometimes meet, Goblin Shark with Valentine offers an unclear and tenuous encounter that is suggestive of affection, but also estrangement and differences.

Michael J. Morris is a dance artist based in Columbus, Ohio. He is currently pursuing graduate studies in the Department of Dance at the Ohio State University, and holds a BFA in Dance with emphases in performance and choreography from Belhaven College. His research interests move about the corporeal and kinesthetic nature of personal identity, and the implications for the construction of identity through the choreographic process. His current choreographic work is investigating the intersection and integration of life and dance practices; the explicit expression of implicit qualities of dance practice, including interpersonal intimacy, violence and sexuality; and the negotiation of power structures, personal agency, determinacy and indeterminacy in algorithmic choreographic structure. In addition to his training in ballet, modern, and contemporary dance techniques, he has studied Butoh in the United States and Japan, including studying at the Kazuo Ohno Studio in Yokohama, Japan. He is certified in Labanotation, and teaches Yoga in the Department of Dance at OSU. He blogs about his creative practice at

During the opening reception of Breakups R Tough, Morris will be creating a performance piece in homage to a 2005 artwork by the Love Art Laboratory, which is comprised of the famed sex artist Annie M. Sprinkle and her wife, artist and activist Elizabeth M. Stephens. LAL is a seven-year long undertaking in which the two women facilitate annual performance-based projects and rituals, including wedding ceremonies. In their first year, 2005’s Red year, Sprinkle and Stephens created the work entitled “Cuddle” in the Femina Potens Gallery. Once a week, during the exhibition the artists would put on cuddle outfits and spend several hours cuddling gallery visitors who had made advance appointments. They invited the participants to take off their shoes and socks and cuddle with them for seven minutes. This piece has been recreated by LAL in multiple locations, both nationally and abroad. After receiving a grant to travel to California and interview Sprinkle and Stephens in December 2009, Michael J. Morris will conceive a version of this piece as a performance in the U.turn exhibition. His piece is intended as a subversion of popular cultural perceptions of interpersonal acquaintance and intimacy, physical promiscuity, and socially authorized physical behaviors, while also serving as a celebration of the body as central to identity and expressions of love in non-traditional forms. For more about the Love Art Laboratory, please visit the website here.

For more information, please contact the gallery by e-mail:


U·turn Art Space is located at 2159 Central Avenue in Brighton.

Gallery is free and open to the public, with street parking in front of the space and on nearby streets.

Regular gallery hours are on Saturdays, 12-4 pm, and by appointment.

Mission Statement: U·turn Art Space is a collective-run alternative arts space that was initiated in fall 2009. The U·turn Art Space collective is comprised of five Cincinnati-based artists: Molly Donnermeyer, Matt Morris, Patricia Murphy, Zach Rawe and Eric Ruschman. Each month U·turn delivers fresh, compelling exhibitions of emerging and established artists. The gallery has a special interest in new developments in sculpture and object making, but is excited to represent the contemporary landscape of art as broadly as possible. Its goal is to bring shows into Cincinnati that are relevant; that provide an opportunity for discourse, ideas, and play to be forced together, awkwardly or elegantly, and offer itself to a viewing audience. Along with art exhibitions, U·turn hosts a range of accompanying readings, performances and events that raise probing questions and plural perspectives. U·turn’s efforts are intended for audiences in the surrounding Brighton district, Cincinnati at large and the whole of the Midwest.

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