Sunday, June 07, 2009

Upstairs Gallery - New exhibition

I have the pleasure of knowing both Doni Jordan and Janette Grassi both as artists & customers at Random Arts. Not only do we share the same interests but we quickly realized that we "walk to same drum" in our own little art world. Little did I know how fast both Janette & Doni walked their way into the hearts of all those that love their work. Right now you can see their current body of work at the Upstairs Gallery in Tryon, NC. through July 18th. I highly recommend this exhibition & for a little more
background on these artists,
I've included their bio below.
Stretch: Type
Janette Grassi of Charlotte, NC and Doni Jordan of Columbia, SC are close friends and love creating art together. They met in 1998 while Jordan was still in art school and Grassi was a working artist at at Vista Studios in Columbia, SC. Grassi is an abstract expressionist painter and creates mixed media art. She studied at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). Jordan creates mixed media assemblages, collages and fiber art and received a BFA in studio art from the University of South Carolina (USC).

Although not the norm in the visual arts, Grassi and Jordan embrace the collaborative process. For them, it's a meaningful connection that provides encouragement, support and joy. Grassi believes fate brought them together and Jordan, a twin, feels very comfortable working together with others. They approach each project with enthusiasm…brainstorming, researching, working independently and then coming back together to create. They also create art independently and celebrate individual and joint successes.

Both trained as graphic designers, their first joint creative journey was in 1998 when they created an installation titled the line at Vista Studios in Columbia, SC, in which they explored typrography, including words, symbols and punctuation, from floor to ceiling. They continued to create art together while both lived in Columbia and when Grassi moved to Charlotte, NC in 2002 they were founding members of Stretch, a creative art collaborative.

Stretch debuted at the Blue Pony Gallery in the NODA Arts District in Charlotte on April 2, 2004 and included poet Cassie Premo Steele which explored through symbol the possibility that separation creates. Grassi and Jordan stretched further when they attended a book art conference at the University of South Carolina in May of 2005 and explored the alternative printing process of gel prints with Peter Madden of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA. Inspired by the works of Robert Rauschenburg, Grassi and Jordan worked individually and collectively, creating prints incorporating symbols, numbers, typography and found objects.

In 2008, they exhibited Stretch:Type in the Max L Jackson Gallery at Queens University in Charlotte, NC. Today as their stretch and collaboration continues, Grassi is expanding her iconic characters series inspired by the works of Ida Kohlmeyer. She communicates through color and iconography. Jordan is creating assemblages of typography and found objects, a collection she began in the early 1990's. Jordan was inspired by an art exhibition of Italian artist Mirella Bentivoglio at The National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC, which expanded her view of type beyond communication and symbol. Jordan created a body of work titled tomes, a collection of heavy books. Combined Stretch:Type has grown to incorporate works on canvas, paper, wood, assemblages, gel prints and collage.

Jordan and Grassi enjoy the collaborative process and have collaborated on 23 projects since 1998. In 2000 they created Benchmark, a public art project sponsored by the Cultural Council of Richland and Lexington Counties, Columbia, SC which was modeled after the Chicago cows. Grassi and Jordan deconstructed a palmetto tree into a functional bench which was originally displayed in front of the Columbia Museum of Art and was later one of 35 palmetto trees auctioned by Soetheby’s of New York. Jordan and Grassi have also participated in the Painted Violin project sponsored by the SC Philharmonic project for three years and Artists Against Aids, an art auction to benefit The Aids Benefit Foundation of SC. In 2006, they joined efforts with photographer Deborah Faar and created Gathering Spring, a visual delight in the garden of Tom Chinn and Billiesue Hayes in Columbia, SC and planted art amongst the trees and flowers.

Grassi and Jordan hope that viewers of the Stretch:Type exhibition will think about the creative process, embrace the idea of creating in a new way, will think about the way we communicate, today and in the past and will make the connection between words and books. Stretch:Type will open at the upstairs [artspace] In Tryon, NC from June 5-July 18, 2009 in conjunction with the 2009 Southeastern Association for Book Art (SABA) national juried exhibition, a natural addition and complement to the Stretch:Type exhibition.

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