2018 Selections VIII: 21st Century Art from the UTC Permanent Collection

The Permanent Collection of Art at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga has grown over recent years to become an important teaching resource for campus and community. Now located in state-of-the-art storage in the UTC New Library, this gift-based collection of work by regional, national, and international artists was recognized for its significance in 2015 with the award of an Archival Preservation Assistance Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The UTC Cress Gallery periodically organizes exhibitions selected from the Collection’s nearly 1,900 individual works of art dating to the early 20th Century. This version focuses on works created since the year 2000 and features five artists whose career paths include a previous exhibition in the Cress.

August 20, 2018 - October 4, 2018

The work of Joe Ramiro Garcia (Santa Fe, NM.) first appeared in his 2005 Cress Gallery exhibition “Joe Ramiro Garcia: Paintings and Monotypes”. Spanning a five-year period, these vibrant works reveal the development of Garcia’s unique practice blending traditional brush and palette knife painting with adaptations of printmaking processes applied to canvas. His signature compositions use cultural references, pop symbols, and cartoon imagery seeking not to create a specific narrative but to lead the viewer into creating their own.

The photographs of Gao Lei (Beijing, China) were a part of the Cress’s 2010 group exhibition of contemporary Chines art titled “Le Deluge Après Mao: China’s Surging Creative Tide”. The subjects of these sensitive large format black and white photographs reveal Gao’s fascination with the people, life, and landscape of Tibet.

The collaborative duo Kahn/Selesnick (Nicholas Kahn, Hudson, NY., and Richard Selesnick, Rhinebeck, NY.) engage in long term thematic projects. Centered upon the possibilities of alternative events in history, the artists create a basic narrative and supplement it with hand-crafted or re-purposed costumes, objects, and ephemera employed by themselves, their friends, and family as actors in their photographs. All Kahn/Selesnick projects culminate with the publishing of a book. This exhibition features their 25-foot long, two-sided accordion book “Apollo Prophesies” (2006) and a documentary about the project’s making. Both were part of their Cress Gallery exhibition “Apollo Prophecies and Eisbergfreistadt” in the spring of 2010.

The power and beauty of simplicity is demonstrated in the work “Color Vulture” a reductive abstraction by Matthew Deleget (Brooklyn, NY.) Created especially for his fall 2012 Cress Gallery solo “Pictures at an Exhibition”, this work is comprised of three off-the-shelf blank canvases each illuminated with light in one of the primary colors, inviting the viewer to consider the nature of art and art-making and its expansive boundaries.

The humor and wit of the artists’ collective Okay Mountain is evident in their suite of digital C-prints “Meditations #1-9” (2015), a riff on the “Zen garden” and a critique of our culture of pre-packaged consumerist experiences. Comprised of nine-members headquartered in Austin, Tx., they exhibited as “Okay Mountain” in the Cress during the spring of 2012.

Gao Lei "Monk" 2009, archival pigment inks on gloss photo paper; gift of the artist 2010