March 2008, Studio Visit with Mary Elizabeth Yarbrough

Jessica Silverman visits Mary Elizabeth Yarbrough's studio

“Using a mix of colored duct tapes and patterned contact papers, intricately cut and layered photo-realistically, I appropriate and alter imagery pulled from past and current mass media sources. Removed from context, altered and combined with other visual elements, a re-contextualized narrative emerges, reflecting my personal anthropological assessment that culturally, we are in a state of arrested development.

What lies beneath both the comic absurdity and tragic reality of imagery currently being fed en masse are opportunities to suggest alternate meanings, imply ulterior motives and challenge the core of existing dialogues.

By conflating these ideas and images in an unconventional way using familiar materials, I’m calling into question the nature of mass media, celebrity obsession, and politics of cultural identity.

Music, performance and exchange are prevalent in my practice. My sculptures are investigations into aspects of the media, via different materials and methods, and are oftentimes interactive, becoming complete with viewer engagement. “ Mary Elizabeth Yarbrough, 2007

 Welcome to Mary Elizabeth Yarbrough’s studio 

If you miss the opening you may miss a once in a lifetime opportunity to see Mary Elizabeth in this fabulous outfit

Imagery around the studio – often downloading, pulling, archiving and printout out imagery,
Mary Elizabeth’s studio can sometimes feel like the “Best of the worst of Google.”

In her current body of work, Mary Elizabeth describes, “I am exploring phenomena and concepts both massive in
grandeur or scale, that can be witnessed or conceptually understood but are visually imperceptible to man."

 The Medium

 This is then, that was now is in its beginning stages. Imagine it with a black void at the bottom right
 instead of the reddish dirt.

 Voids and Ethers, the two elements that started this body of work. Double negative and Double positive
 employ intricate designs, which Mary Elizabeth meticulously cuts out by hand. Each surface, both on the
 Void and Ether contain at least 10 different surfaces of black and clear, respectively.
 *Here is a detail of Double positive at its beginning stages.

 Rewards for all of her hard work.

 Mary Elizabeth’s desk, take one.

 Mary Elizabeth’s desk, take two.

Mary Elizabeth’s desk, take three

            Of all the 2-d work in the show there are 3 large scale works one of which is
 inspired by an image found in a 1970's National Geographic. The image deals with
 the fear and curiosity of a mysterious unknown…

… the other 2-dimensional works (including a tape version of this image) attempts to conceptualize and imagine
what both an indeterminably deep void -and bright, layered auras of light - are.

 This is the sound corner - Guitar, boombox and THUNDER….THUNDER as we will refer to it for now is the main component to a work that will attempt to articulate thunder experientially through low-frequency bone conduction via a sound sculpture that one stands or sits on. Only the person interacting with the sculpture will hear, perceive and perhaps feel the thunder within his body; however without physical interaction, no sound can be heard and nothing can be corporeally perceived.

Don’t miss Mary Elizabeth Yarbrough’s first solo exhibition, Symptom of the universe at Silverman Gallery’s new space: 804 Sutter Street @ Jones.

Opening reception: March 14, 7-10pm


Jessica Silverman

Jessica Silverman is a recent graduate of the MA Program in Curatorial Practice at California College of Arts as well as owner and director of Silverman Gallery, San Francisco. She has taken part in a Curatorial Residency at the Frankfurter Kunstverein the summer of  2006.  As an independent curator she has recently produced International Waters co-curated by artist Soo Kim for StevenWolfGallery, San Francisco and is working on exhibitions with curators Mizuki Endo and whitehot NYC contributor Jan Van Woensel.  In 2008, Silverman and Passenger Books will publish Leaving the Library a catalogue of conversations.     


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