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OFF THE GRID at Susan Eley Fine Art

 Susan Eley Fine Art is pleased to present Off The Grid, on view through October 24. This group show explores art inspired by the mathematics of rows and column and features ten artists: PAMELA ALLEN, DOUG ASHFORD, CAROLINE BLUM, LORI ELLISON (COURTESY OF MCKENZIE FINE ART), MAHMOUD HAMADANI, EUN VIVIAN LEE, DAVID REISMAN, AURA ROSENBERG, ANNE SAINT-PIERRE and KATE SNOW. Off The Grid was guest curated by Caroline Blum, an independent curator and artist.

Notes on Off The Grid by David Reisman:

From Excel spreadsheets to Google maps; from the tiles on the subway floor to the electrical systems that make the subway possible, grids are so much a part of our daily experience that they are sometimes ignored or taken for granted. Historically, artists have used grids as tools and as source material; for their practical applications for working out compositions and proportions; and as a means for enlarging and manipulating images in the pre-Photoshop era. Modernist abstract artists like Piet Mondrian, Agnes Martin, and Sol Lewitt were attracted to grids for their own sake, for their austere, no-nonsense quality that could simultaneously suggest modernity, mathematical thought and an aesthetic idealism reflecting a desire for human progress. More recent artists use grids in a more self-conscious, humorous, introspective or ironic way, showing some of the limits and possibilities of progressive ideas in current art.

The term “off the grid” implies independence – living apart from the social structures and technological conveniences that make our lives easier but also create dependency. Being off the grid implies a more conscious, less wasteful approach to living, and may ultimately be a source of important ideas that create more sustainable approaches to living. Still, it’s important to remember the world of cranks and survivalists who are trying to live off the grid, as well as unsuccessful experiments like Biosphere 2, which was intended to be a self-sustaining, self-contained environment that ultimately became unlivable for its participants.

The artists in this exhibition show the ways that grids are still metaphorical springboards these days, and are a good introduction to the number of ways there are of creating meaning by working with them, deforming them, or abandoning them entirely. The humor and eroticism of Aura Rosenberg’s sculptural installations; the intricate rhythms of Lori Ellison’s abstractions; the political overtones of Doug Ashford’s combination of geometric abstraction and news photography show just a few of the ways the artists in this exhibition find meaning both on and off the grid.

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