A new multimedia exhibition at the Grove, a collaborative workspace in downtown New Haven, melds art, work and play.
Opening Wednesday, “Love. Life. Art” features works by painter Tracie Cheng and sculptor Eóin Burke ART ’09, a pair of local artists. The show explores concepts such as the role of “play” in artistic practice, the various ways in which art objects can evoke feeling and the ability of art to shape the constructed — and the work — environment. According to curator Elinor Slomba, “Love. Life. Art” attempts to inject painting and sculpture into the daily experience of those who utilize the Grove as a collective work venue.
“We want to create a sense of curiosity, possibility and connecting ideas from the business world to visual forms,” Slomba said. “Many important things that people are exploring in the business world — artists are already there.”
“Rest,” a figurative, clay epoxy sculpture by Burke, and “Wash Over Me,” one of Cheng’s panel paintings in acrylics and oils, are two of roughly a dozen pieces on display in the show. The pair, situated at the top of the Grove’s main staircase, welcomes visitors into the space and signals the interaction between “workspace” and “gallery” that Slomba said she hoped the exhibition would establish.
Another work by Cheng, “In the Light,” depicts undulating, wavelike forms in marine colors. Noting that the painting was one of her favorites in the exhibition, Slomba highlighted the particular relevance of its subject matter for contemporary viewers.
“Waves and wavelike structures are relevant to us, from social networks to outer space,” Slomba explained.
This relevance, she stressed, constituted an important facet of her curatorial vision, which focused largely on selecting pieces to complement the Grove’s workspace and establish a dialogue between the objects and the site — as well as between the art and the Grove’s community of workers.
In line with Slomba’s vision, the works featured in the show focus on the ways in which the particular “layers” of a space combine and interact, as well as the conversations that can happen between works of art, the artists said
“We’re working with a theme of layering — a discovery of everything that’s around and beneath, and how that supports what is visibly seen,” Cheng noted. “Though our art may seem drastically different, mine abstract and his figural, both are imbued with natural forms that distinctly interact with each other.”
The Grove houses the state of Connecticut’s oldest functioning elevator.