press release

Whether working in the street or in museums and galleries, many artists working today are creating site-specific works of art in a range of media. Using this here-and-now methodology as a cue, SITEings is a site-specific painting exhibition that will evolve over the course of six months as various artists visit the area. Inherent in the planning process for the exhibition is a series of artist's residencies and the creation and evolution of large-scale new works of art that audience members will have the opportunity to witness develop. Using the museum as a laboratory, these artists will respond to the challenging architecture of SECCA's voluminous 6,000 square foot Main Gallery with it's 20 - 24 foot ceilings, vertical skylights, hexagonal shape and saw-tooth windows. The artists will also respond to each other's work. The exhibition will begin with a completed work by Sol LeWitt and a work in progress by Mark Dean Veca, followed by Elana Hertzog, and others. These on-going site-specific works focus on an integration and examination of new forms of painting. Several of the precedents for this exhibition include the much-heralded wall drawings of Sol LeWitt; John Cage's 1994 exhibition, Rolywholyover: A Circus; Scribble Jam: A Celebration of Hip-Hop Culture (2004); and most recently Surface Charge (2005), curated by Gregory Volk and Sabine Russ.

The work of Sol LeWitt is an important and key element in this exhibition. Easily the most respected and celebrated artist of the group, LeWitt has created more than 1,000 wall drawings since he first began them in the 1960s. The inclusion of LeWitt in SITEings couldn't be more timely: Mass MOCA in North Adams, Massachusetts just opened Sol LeWitt: A Wall Drawing Retrospective that is housed in a three-story building and features 50 wall drawings and paintings dating from 1968 to 2007. Most of the works are large, bold, and colorful, some measuring as much as 16 feet high by 100 feet long. For the conceptualist Lewitt, the idea is the driving force behind his work. The execution of the work, in whatever form, is secondary and is often realized by a group of assistants. In some instances, the artist has provided instructions for others to perform. In this exhibition, Lewitt's idea will be executed by several high school art instructors and a group of their students (all from the Winston Salem/Forsyth County school system) along with members of SECCA's staff. These particular teachers have worked with SECCA recently on a collaborative painting project and time-lapse film with New York-based artists David Ellis and Kenji Hirata (of the Barnstormers collaborative).

Our goals for the project include examining the current use of site-specific painting as a viable alternative to painting as commercial object; challenging artists to create new works in response to site and the work of other artists; and using the museum and the curatorial process as a laboratory or alternative site/process to chart what occurs and put it into context.

Like many artists working today, these artists borrow from a range of styles or continue steadfast with their studio practice and strategies: evolving conceptualism (Sol Lewitt); punk/street-based work (Gary Panter); primitive/culturally redefined Americana (Clare Rojas); neo-psychedelia (Mark Dean Veca); funky realism (Ricky Needham); aggressive subtraction (Elana Herzog); body as surreal form (Paul Henry Ramirez); sublime minimalism (Kate Shepard); and international pop culture with Buddhist underpinnings (Kenji Hirata).

Elana Herzog, Kenji Hirata, Sol Le Witt, Ricky Needham, Gary Panter, Paul Henry Ramirez, Clare E. Rojas, Kate Shepherd, Mark Dean Veca ...