Over Under: A way of working, making use of actions; adding, removing, stacking, pairing, compressing.
After Over: Circling back around to layer a gesture, thought, moment.
The cryptic description of the exhibit at the entrance to the Palmer Gallery reads rather like an incomplete thought. Moving further into the gallery, it becomes clear that this imprecision characterizes the thought-provoking ambiguity of the nebulous collection of pieces, which range from collage-style images to three-dimensional forms.
On Thursday, Sept. 22, an exhibition of sculpture and two-dimensional works on paper titled “Over, Under After Over” opened in the Palmer Gallery. The show features three Hudson Valley artists—Donise English, Laura Kaufman ’95 and Christina Tenaglia ’97–all of whom also teach in the Art Department at Marist College. The exhibition will be on view and open to the public through Oct. 13.
The show explores the processes of adding and subtracting from a space and of circling back to specific thoughts or moments in this process. Newman elaborated in an emailed statement, “The three of us share a process that engages a structure (for me this is a system) that we then use to react to by layering, adding or subtracting gestures.”
While the three featured artists have markedly different styles, processes and purposes, the artworks in the gallery flow seamlessly and interact in ways that enhance the individual effects of each piece.
Each artist moves fluidly between sculptural and two-dimensional pieces, often blending the distinction between the two. English asserted in an emailed statement, “Honestly, I think our work looks great together. I love Christina and Laura’s work and am delighted that it is being shown together.”
Beyond the Hudson Valley, English has exhibited her work all over the United States, from the University of Wisconsin, to the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art in Santa Ana, CA, to the AG Gallery in Brooklyn, NY.
English’s work explores a variety of mediums, but, she explained, “Whether using hand-stitching, tiny collage fragments, gouache or embedded wax, the obscure processes of all of the works share an intricacy that allows me to explore my ongoing interest in the sense of touch and the way that it embeds itself in, and indelibly records, human involvement in an object’s making.”
The artist has three different bodies of work on display in the Palmer Gallery: a series of collages, a collection of gouache pieces and small-scale paper sculptures. She explained that the gouache and sculptural pieces are closely related both in terms of their quilt-like natures and utilization of patterns.
The collage works, meanwhile, are made in pairs and are unified by an underlying grid structure. English mainly uses paper, paint, gold leaf and hand stitching in the creation of this ongoing series of works.
Kaufman, like English, often focuses on repetition and abstraction.
“I am preoccupied by pattern, and I build and undermine existing systems of shapes, words and numbers that appear to be stable but are not,” Kaufman, who happens to be a Vassar alumna, explained in an emailed statement.
Unlike English, however, Kaufman uses materials such as felt, bronze, graphite and wood to create and deconstruct these systems.
Like English, however, she often incorporates craft traditions such as weaving into her work. By focusing primarily on physical processes, such as marking, arranging and folding, Kaufman maintains the delicate balance of drawing and sculpture that distinctly characterizes her work.
Although her pieces often explore and develop an understanding of scale in the natural world, these physical processes ground the artist’s work, allowing it to remain “an immediately humanizing effort,” as Kaufman described it.
Although the actual task of creating sculptures and two-dimensional works takes place in the solitude of Kaufman’s studio, the artist believes that the presentation of her work is a crucial part of the process.
As she wrote in an emailed statement, “Once it leaves the privacy of my studio, and it launches itself into a public form, I learn how it is failing, where it succeeds, what I want to do next.” Subsequently, the artist can begin to examine the message that her work communicates to the public.
Christina Tenaglia, who herself graduated Vassar in 1997, takes a different approach when it comes to constructing pieces. Although she tends toward common materials, such as wood, the resulting works are far from straightforward.
Her pieces often hover on the line between abstraction and reality, seeming to convey fragments of an idea and leaving it up to the viewer to complete the thought. The ambiguity of her work creates an emphasis on what is left out, rather than what Tenaglia explicitly depicts.
Despite the distinct style that permeates Tenaglia’s art, it does not interrupt the continuity of the exhibit as a whole. The geometry and collage-like nature of her work meshes seamlessly with that of English’s and Kaufman’s pieces.
In an emailed statement, Kaufman asserted, “I want my art work [sic] to be in dialogue with a larger community.” By opening up a conversation within the confines of the gallery–with the work of the other two featured artists–as well as with the Vassar community and the Poughkeepsie community as a whole, “Over, Under After Over” succeeds in creating a dialogue about systems of abstraction, human perception and the production of objects.