Elisabeth Horan Curatorial Essay by Elizabeth Spavento

Situating yourself can be tricky. Which stance do you take? Whose offence does your stance elicit? Do you honor yourself or your audience? When it comes to art making, and curating especially, space and how you position yourself in it becomes the ultimate focal point. What do you place where? And how do you fill space? Or leave it empty for that matter. Where are the boundaries and how far will you push them before they push back on you?

Elisabeth Horan’s exhibition at Duplex heralds the artist’s departure from 2D space and a reentry into the arena of sculpture. The site-specific collage on display in the gallery collapses the past five years of collected cut-out images onto her present concerns with form: she is returning to sculpture, adding a third dimension where there were only two and finding a means to express herself within new, unexpected parameters. The work isn’t about maintaining perspective or restraint. It’s about exploring a new facet of her own creative practice, musing on the comedic and sometimes confusing self-referential positioning within the relationship between artist and artwork. Caring not for defining boundaries, Horan’s installation instead illuminates the permeable borders between mark and the mark-maker, proffering glimpses into a creative process consumed with questions of placement and relating-to.

In the midst of this scrolling scene stands a sculpture to which all peripheral imagery points. Again the artist considers her stance, the work on the walls hinting at a dimensionality and depth that solidifies in the object itself. The viewer, circumnavigating the sculpture, positions herself inside and outside of the body of work simultaneously; she inhabits the installation under the direction of the artist’s spatial choices. Here again, the question is raised: where do boundaries of influence exist within the space? Where does the artwork meet the phenomenological experience inculcated in viewership? The sculpture is, like our bodies, situated in space. It takes a fixed stance, which happens to be in contrast to its counterpart, the collage, who, flattened against a white background, seems all of a sudden ungrounded–hovering around its full figured center point.

Elizabeth Spavento
September 24, 2015

As a curator and human being Elizabeth Spavento is interested in experimental curatorial practices, millennial culture and alternative forms of consciousness. Her most recent curatorial project, ALL RISE, is a series of temporary installations and performances organized for a 90,000 sq. ft. gravel lot in downtown Seattle. Her work has been published in Nous Journal, Drain: A Journal of Contemporary Art and Culture and by the Henry Art Gallery on occasion of MAXIMUM FUN: A New Sincerity Event. She currently lives nowhere and works in Seattle, sometimes.

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