Berkeley Art Center’s current solo shows of commissioned new work by Bay Area-based artists Claire Colette and Rhonda Holberton are the debut of the new Agility Projects series: exhibitions and public programs that engage audiences with the diverse array of artists within the local community. This series provides artists with the critical tools that will encourage them to further explore new ideas, and innovate their larger artistic practice. Commissions, a guaranteed exhibition space, time, and support builds strong relationships between audience, artists and the North Berkeley arts space, while also placing the center at the heart of art-making in the city.
Claire Colette’s monochromatic graphite drawings and ceramic sculpture explore the artist’s ongoing interest in the infinite. These larger, abstract works of patterns and shapes fashioned in negative and positive space by means of short, linear, repetitive strokes, Colette says she looks for a “mystical or spiritual connection between objects and occurrences.” In Ever/After Colette’s work explores how meaning is implied and expressed through relationships between forms and objects. These ideals are applied to larger relationships: one’s place in the universe, as well as the outward desire to create objects that express meaning. This seems to be a crucial facet of her ongoing investigations of “de-constructing experiences to explore our shifting interpretations of what is known, what is real and how we see.”
Created in a wide variety of media including acrylic on canvas, urethane foam, cast silicone and plaster, and single channel video, the artwork of Oakland-based artist Rhonda Holberton’s new series, You Are Something the Whole World is Doing seeks to express the artist’s imagined ideals of the “limitations of the physical body in a digital space.” Bodies represented, or perhaps better defined as alluded to within Holberton’s sculptures, for each headless and hands-free form is covered or bound in disparate mediums that reconstruct perception of the subject. Particularly in the video piece, The Ground Was Never Stable in the First Place, the larger than life figure dons what look like shoulder pads, knee pads and other football gear, obfuscating the femininity of the form and human scale. Says Holberton: “The work I make recovers the parts of human experience that are lost when absolute truth is thought to be found solely in scientific methodologies and conveyed in digital technologies. Rather, my practice utilizes the complexities of these systems to point toward a reality that is immaterial and unpredictable in nature.”
The Agility Projects: Claire Colette: Ever/After; and Rhonda Holberton: You Are Something the Whole World is Doing will be at Berkeley Art Center, 1275 Walnut Street through May 3, 2015