John Newlander, Julie Easton, Gary Simpson
July 5 thru July 28, 2007
Reception July 7, 6-10 pm (FREE)
The hyphenated adjective â€œsite-specificâ€ is generally used to describe art that is created to exist and gain context from its placement within a particular site. The hyphen in the title of this show has been intentionally dropped for the purpose of differentiating the work being done by these three artists. While location is taken into consideration in the creation of these artistsâ€™ works, the art products are not intended to exist at the site. Rather their art uses sites only as references to anchor the meaning of their work and to develop a forum for dialogue.
Newlander uses photography to capture traces of various sites within Orange County. In Borders, 26 sites are significant only because of their locations along the borders of Orange County. In Orange County: The Beauty Within, 12 sites are significant only because 12 volunteers proclaimed them as beautiful. Exploring ideas of place, and how place defines identity or how identity defines place, Newlander uses site-specific references to anchor his images within the context of locality.
Easton uses site-specific locations to position her artworks within a context of the recycling of human detritus. In Throw-Aways: The Art of Collecting, Easton creates mixed media and multi-media pieces from cigarette butts, bullet shells and acornsâ€”debris gathered from sites that are significant only because of the litter that people have chosen to leave behind. In her other explorations, she uses photography to capture traces of sites within Managua Nicaraguaâ€™s garbage dump that are significant only because of the people who are dependent upon other peopleâ€™s cast-offs.
Simpson uses fresco to create collages made of soil retrieved fromâ€”ultimatelyâ€”all 192 countries in the United Nations for a work titled Commonground191. The sites from which the soil is acquired are significant only because a local volunteer has chosen that location as their personal experience of that country. Simpson investigates a wide range of socio-political issues through absolute and abstract images exploring chaos and harmony. Displayed at OCCCA is study 14/38 completed in 2004, three years after 9/11/01.
All three artists work in a documentary fashion. They use site specificity to create a dialogue and to anchor the meaning of their work. But these dialogues have relevance far beyond the sites used by the artists. Their work creates an awareness of general principles by using the device of a site-specific example. It is left for the viewer to resonate with the work based upon his or her own site-specific experiences or knowledge. Site Specific generates more than a singular identity with a particular location; but rather, it triggers relationships and comparisons with individual and personal sites of human existence.
Orange County Center for Contemporary Art
117 N. Sycamore
Santa Ana, Ca 92701