press release

Artists' reception: March 8, 5-8pm

Smack Mellon has five exciting exhibitions lined up for 2008: three group shows of ten or more artists and two solo exhibitions, in which the expansive gallery space will be divided to feature the work of two to three artists simultaneously. The Exhibition Program follows a tradition of presenting large-scale works of roughly fifty emerging artists and mid-career artists each year – 60% of whom are women.

For the first series of solo exhibitions in 2008, Smack Mellon is proud to feature the work of Jennifer Dalton, Rita MacDonald and Amanda Mathis, three Brooklyn based artists presenting new projects. In the main gallery space, Mathis’ disorienting large-scale installation shifts the natural order of the gallery's architecture, while MacDonald’s 24-foot high undulating wall drawing subtly distorts viewer's depth perception. Turning the back project room into a quasi-laboratory, Dalton presents the culmination of her yearlong survey project conducted with Smack Mellon visitors. These three solo projects offer diverse definitions of site-specific art.

Jennifer Dalton Jennifer Dalton is a Scientist - Not!

"Jennifer Dalton is a Scientist - Not! is the culmination of a series of surveys, titled What is the Art World Thinking?, that has been taking the pulse of Smack Mellon's visitors on a variety of issues for the past year. Since January 2007, this particular slice of New York's art-going public has been invited to take a short anonymous survey consisting of a few simple questions on topics ranging from art to feminism to philanthropy to politics. The subject of the surveys was often inspired by the exhibition on view in the gallery at the time of the survey, and participants were encouraged to seek further information on the survey topic elsewhere in the gallery on small business cards. Jennifer Dalton is a Scientist - Not! includes a DVD presentation of the survey findings, complete with PowerPoint style charts and graphics; a slide show presentation of the results of a 2006 survey on artists' finances and lifestyles, How do Artists Live; and a new "insta-survey" asking viewers to respond to a pressing question by taking a candy. All the previous surveys will also be on view, including many whose instructions were disregarded by participants in favor of editorial comments, such as the title to this exhibition."

Jennifer Dalton lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She earned a BA in Fine Art from UCLA and an MFA from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. She participated in residencies at Yaddo in 1999, the Millay Colony in 2000, the MacDowell Colony in 2001, and the Smack Mellon Studio Program in 2005-06. She received a Pollock/Krasner Foundation grant in 2002. Her work has been discussed in Artforum, ArtNEWS, Art + Auction, Modern Painters, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Flash Art, among other publications. Recently her work has been exhibited at Winkleman Gallery, Schroeder Romero Gallery, Sara Meltzer Gallery, Momenta Art, Hunter College Times Square Gallery, and Kunsthalle Wien, in Vienna, Austria.

Rita MacDonald Tic

"For the past several years, I have been making work that uses decorative domestic patterns as its starting point in an attempt to recreate and redirect the sensation of visual memory. Using common building materials like wall paint and drywall compound, I build a drawing of a pattern directly onto and into the surface of the wall. The images in the drawings vacillate between flat geometric patterns that accentuate the architecture of the wall and recognizable descriptions of the pattern moving in space whose illusion of motion and volume push up against the flatness of the wall. The two convergent readings of the pattern can be disorienting and heighten the experience of both sight and place. In the drawing Tic, stripes of common cotton ticking fabric emerge from and vibrate across the gallery wall like wallpaper but are interrupted by a visual disruption in the center of the wall in which the flat stripes give way to folds and crevasses that seem to pull toward the floor and the viewer. The mundane-ness or ubiquitousness of the image of the striped pattern folding and curving raises associations with past visual experiences and memories while at the same time, the scale shift and its new context as part of the wall redirect and reinterpret that memory to heighten the viewer's experience of the current space."

Rita MacDonald has lived and worked in Brooklyn, NY since 1993. Born in Braintree, Massachusetts in 1969, she received her undergraduate degree from Rhode Island School of Design in 1991 and her graduate degree from School of Visual Arts in New York in 2001. Most recently, her work has been exhibited at The Carriage House at The Islip Art Museum in East Islip, NY, The Soap Factory in Minneapolis, MN, Spaces in Cleveland, OH, Mushroom Arts in New York and Smack Mellon, 3rd Ward and d.u.m.b.o. Arts Center, all in Brooklyn. In 1994, she received a grant from The Women's Studio Workshop in Rosendale, NY to publish an artist book which is now included in several large collections, including the libraries of both the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, MN and Yale University in New Haven, CT.

Amanda Mathis Under Renovation

"For all of my life, I've had an innate preoccupation with frequently rearranging my living space, moving my furniture and possessions to new locations. Altering the space gives me a different sense of being in the room – it heightens my awareness of the things in my environment. With my installations, I still manipulate interiors, but now do so through architectural means. I explore the possibilities of interior spaces by modifying or adding to their original state. With Under Renovation, I have altered Smack Mellon's interior with an architectural addition, while also addressing the subject of building materials and methods from the past and present. Like this gallery, many old buildings in New York are made new again through contemporary renovations. The history of their architecture is partially concealed beneath more recent remodeling. A contrast exists between materials, craftsmanship, and aesthetic of old and new construction. With this installation, I have fused elements from the original boiler building with modern materials and techniques, such as those used in the refurbishment of Smack Mellon. I used standard building materials to either replicate or mimic interior elements of the original structure. Installations such as this allow me to reinvent interior spaces. I acknowledge their distinct characteristics while presenting them in a different way."

Amanda C. Mathis moved to New York from Florida in 2004 to attend the MFA program at Pratt Institute. During this time, she and eleven other women formed an artist collective and organized an exhibition of their work, "210 Forsyth." She has exhibited in group and solo shows in New York and New Jersey. In 2006 she had a solo show at James Nicholson Gallery, "Bringing Down the House", and her work was included in Smack Mellon's group exhibition, "I can't quite place it . . ." In that same year, Amanda was selected to participate in The Bronx Museum's Artist in the Marketplace program and the subsequent group show, "Here and Elsewhere." In 2007, her work was included in "between to and from" at the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey. She currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

This exhibition is made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency, and with generous support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Greenwall Foundation, Agnes Gund and Daniel Shapiro, Jerome Foundation, Richard Massey, Judith and Donald Rechler Foundation Inc., Eve Sussman and Smack Mellon's Members. Smack Mellon also receives generous support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, City Council Member David Yassky and the New York City Council, Bloomberg, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, The Greenwich Collection Ltd., Independence Community Foundation, Jean and Louis Dreyfus Foundation, Inc., Lily Auchincloss Foundation Inc., Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation Inc., New York Community Trust, The Robert Lehman Foundation, Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, Inc., The Roy and Niuta Titus Foundation, Inc., The Starry Night Fund of Tides Foundation, and William Talbott Hillman Foundation. Space for Smack Mellon's programs is generously provided by the Walentas Family and Two Trees Management.

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Jennifer Dalton, Jennifer Dalton is Scientist - Not!
Rita MacDonald, Tic
Amanda Mathis, Under Renovation