Tipping Point, by Lynn Koble
Curated by Anne Beffel
RECEPTION: July 11, 4–6pm
CURATOR/ARTIST TALK: July 11, 5–6pm
The phrase “tipping point” focuses us upon interactions and systems, while simultaneously zeroing in on the urgent need for humans to understand the impact of our actions and interactions from an integrated perspective. It provides an umbrella for considering parallel forces at play in how we experience, produce, mediate, and simulate our physical, social, psychological, and non-human environments.
Koble, in her installation entitled Tipping Point uses art as a means to question the shape and impact of these forces, which are often thought of as separate even though they exist in connection. She does so alongside many contemporary artists of movements including Minimalism, Feminist Art, and Post-Minimalism who would not necessarily show up for the same parties.
To explore these questions, Koble transforms the gallery into an environment occupied by Pundit, a human-scale sculpture with sound. Pundit has a shrub-body dressed in a skin of green felt leaves that Koble hand cut, folded and nested into forms reminiscent of both artificial flowers and the seductive, labial twists of Feminist works of the 60’s and 70’s. This process of production has much in common with the labor intensive, reverie-inducing hand-work of Post-Minimalist sculptors. Bilateral green cone speakers further develop Pundit’s complex, anthropomorphic, technological, artificially “natural” body of female forms and male composed “voice”. This simulated voice buried within the faceless Pundit projects Beethoven’s Pastorale, which, like the felt leaves, is expressive of the better aspects of human creative abilities to simulate nature. Koble, by way of Pundit, teases us into the here and now through looped sound and forms that tickle our senses of seeing, touch, hearing, and kinesthesia.
Lest we grow too able to experience Pundit as “human” Koble sets the form upon industrial wheels that reference the activity of production and other aspects of material culture while simultaneously injecting humor that mocks Pundit’s sense of authority. In any case, Pundit’s anatomy as a whole makes it hard to ignore the tensions between a pastoral ideal and the realities of an information age.
And then there is Pundit’s environment with paint-by-number clouds crafted systematically within a scheme influenced by the twentieth century empirical understanding of color grids and easy-to-use kits. Both Pundit and the sky may seem to lack evidence of the hand made, until we compare them to mediated landscapes produced by ubiquitous surveillance video cameras. But Pundit and the paint-by-number environment can’t be pinned down to this simple scale because we, the “observer” in the language of the Uncertainty Principle, have too much potential for mixing things up. In this sense, Koble’s humorous and yet unblinking crafting of cultural artifacts, which reflect sometimes frightening cultural forces gives us room to breathe. It locates us within an environment ripe for experiences of complexity and creativity with an invitation to nurture alternatives to passive consumption. We might interact with multiple senses and intelligences to cultivate our abilities for taking in and imagining a wide range of readings, scenarios and possibilities.
Regardless of whether we accept Koble’s invitation, we are implicated by virtue of our mere presence on this scene and there is no easy exit via unviable solutions that identify a single villain such as industrialization or technology, or which send us off the grid to chop wood/carry water full time. Koble presents us with a more challenging stopping place from which we might ponder if it is still possible for us to consciously tip the balance of our planet. We are left to examine what we value, what we need, what we want, what we can live without, and what we may possibly be forced to live without.
— Anne Beffel
Lynn Koble is a multimedia artist whose work incorporates sculptural form, interactivity and sound. She has exhibited her work at the Brooklyn Museum of Art and Exit Art in New York, Braunstein/Quay Gallery in San Francisco, The Wolfsonian museum and Art Miami in Miami, and the Islington Arts Factory in London. She has an upcoming exhibition at Socrates Sculpture Park in September 2009 as part of their Emerging Artist Fellowship program.
Koble has been awarded fellowships for the Djerassi Program, Harvestworks Digital Media Arts Center, Sculpture Space, the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and the Houston Museum of Fine Art’s Core Program. Koble received an MFA from Rutgers University and a BFA from Alfred University. She lives and works in New York. www.lynnkoble.com
Anne Beffel is an artist who works with groups and individuals to create a more mindful, empathetic and inclusive culture. To engage in a more formal form of conversation with Koble about shared artistic interests, Beffel assumes the role of curator for this exhibition. Beffel has worked previously with communities at the World Financial Center, The New York Downtown Hospital, The Art Museum of University of Memphis, and the Everson Museum.
Beffel has received fellowships from the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society; the Whitney Museum Independent Studio Program; and the New York State Council on the Arts with the Everson Museum. She received a MFA from University of Iowa and a BFA from University of Michigan. She is an Associate Professor at Syracuse University and lives in Syracuse, NY and New York, NY.