Chippendale, Hong to showcase their work at JAC’s latest show
The Jamestown Arts Center’s latest exhibition will feature the work of two of Rhode Island’s most prominent artists. The exhibit – titled “In Habitat” – is a display of works by Brian Chippendale and Jungil Hong.
Chippendale and Hong both employ silkscreen techniques in their work. Both artists have new collages in the show and they have collaborated on several pieces as well. Hong has also contributed paintings, sculptures and prints to the show, and she has created a series of gouache landscapes occupied by geometries that suggest architecture existing in fragile neon nights.
Chippendale’s work for the show includes large compositions that feature the all-over “pattern frenzy” that has become his signature. He also employs spray paint – sometimes using it in stencil form – in his work.
“In Habitat” originated last fall at the Buonaccorsi + Agniel Gallery in Providence. The gallery is collaborating with the arts center in presenting the show locally.
According to gallery owner Sara Agniel, who has worked with Chippendale and Hong since the late 1990s, when she and her husband John Buonaccorsi opened their gallery in Providence last fall, the Chippendale-Hong show was one of the first ones that they presented.
“I think they represent a voice for my generation,” Agniel said. “They both make work that has been evocative for me over the years. It was a relationship that I wanted to extend.”
Agniel says that Jong has always employed ever-evolving techniques. “Her work in the time since I last exhibited her has moved from more figurative, dreamlike, mythical as it basis, into more harder edged geometries,” Agniel said. “She’s taken a much more edgy pop aesthetic. I’m excited by the new practices she’s using.”
Chippendale has a long-standing lexicon of imagery that he has worked with for a long time. According to Agniel, he often builds narrative work and is known for his comics and his graphic narratives, which is beloved by a broad audience.
“When he makes work that is not in book form or comic form, he makes individual images such as the ones that are in this show that narrative play comes into the squares on the wall,” Agniel said. “There is a sense of playfulness and irony, and something of a challenge. Both artists have sometimes subtle, sometimes over-political leanings in their work. Whether it’s formally challenging or challenging subject matter, they have always pushed a little bit beyond the level of what’s comfortable. But they still make work that’s incredibly beautiful, attractive and compelling.”
Visitors to the exhibition can expect to see a great deal of collage based work that is derived from silkscreened printed paper. The paper is printed in multiples and then cut up and arranged into collages. Though the work may at times seem like paintings, most of them began life as a collage.
The show will also feature two cast ceramic pieces by Hong. One is a series of slip porcelain castings of her own hand. The other is slip porcelain casting of a doll’s head. “They are multiples repeated together in a quadrant and then mounted on the wall,” Agniel said. She added that they are hung as if they’re growing out of the wall.
Agniel said that the show was “very popular” when it was mounted in her Providence gallery. She said that Chippendale and Hong are two of the most popular artists since she began working with Rhode Island artists.
“The opening was packed. People bought a lot of work. It was a huge success. We are grateful that people are interested in having it travel and reach a new audience,” Agniel said.
While the two artists will have pieces in the show that are valued at as much as $10,000 – they also have other critically acclaimed works that are in museum collections worldwide – they also make multiples in unlimited and limited edition prints.
“It’s part of their process and part of their philosophy of how you should make work be accessible,” Agniel said. “Those are very affordable.”
The curator for the “In Habitat” exhibition at the Jamestown Arts Center is Jesse Smith. “The arts center wanted to bring in important works and shows,” Smith said. “Brian and Jung are very important creators in the recent contemporary history of art in Rhode Island.”
At one time Smith ran a contemporary art gallery in Providence and that is where he first became acquainted with Chippendale and Hong. He said in the mid-90s there was a potent group of artists in Providence, and they gathered international attention for their authentic creative community.
“This exhibition represents the commitment of the Jamestown Arts Center to bring in culturally important works,” Smith said. “It’s a beautiful collaboration on a statewide level that integrates, in one of their first curated shows, a taste of cutting-edge, contemporary art.”
According to Lisa Randall, the executive director of the Jamestown Arts Center, “These are truly two incredible artists who feed off each other and at times work bits of each other’s work into their own work. There are a few things that unify this show. One is the use of color. They both have unusual, dynamic color palettes.”
Randall also commented on the collaboration between the arts center and the Buonaccorsi + Agniel Gallery. “It’s a great opportunity to be able to work with Sara Agniel who has been a force in the gallery scene in Providence for so many years,” Randall said. “She’s well known for bringing amazing art to the public. She has a great curatorial eye. It’s great to be able to collaborate with them and to be able to bring it here. It’s an opportunity for people in this area to see some incredible art that they’re not going to see anywhere else in the area.”
The opening reception for “In Habitat” will take place at the Jamestown Arts Center on Wednesday, Feb. 15, from 6 to 8 p.m. The closing reception will be on March 16. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.