Selena Kimball, Readings


The Gallery at 1GAP, Richard meier on Prospect Park, May 24 – September 11, 2017

The Gallery at 1GAP is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Brooklyn artist Selena Kimball. Kimball is a research-based, interdisciplinary artist examining visual perceptions of western history through ready-made photographic material from botanical journals, ethnographies, online blogs, and other sources. Trained as a sculptor, Kimball works in collage, photography, painting, book form, and has collaborated on films for over a decade with visual anthropologist Alyssa Grossman.

“The New World,’’ for instance, is made from the cut-up, reconstituted pages of a photographic travelogue published in 1894: John Stoddard’s “Glimpses of the World”. In this piece Kimball presents the grandeur of western society, its industrial developments, also its decline. The totality of the image is a melding of architecture, society, nature, and decay in one surrealistic black and white landscape. It is a dreamy, solipsistic collage that reads neither left nor right, and has no beginning, middle, or end. An epic work at 275 inches in length, its shape is a long liquid emission, reaching outward at the edges like a spill. The 125 year-old Victorian paper has a weathered patina that is perceptual to the viewer, reminding us of the passage of time and the temporality of societies. 

Kimball’s take on 20th century encyclopedic science comes by destroying and rebuilding, page by page, in the colorful sculpture “Florilegium” (Latin for “a gathering of flowers”). National Geographic presented exotic plants collected by Joseph F. Rock in the 1920’s and 1930’s, the pages of which the artist has mined to build her own color alignment and classification system in a sculptural light spectrum. Kimball filters Rock’s content through her mind and her hands with a certain irreverence; this willingness to destroy and rethink offers a new type of floral beauty or “reading”. 

In the predominantly green, “Night Vision”, the artist has assembled push pins and ink-jet prints taken from soldiers’ blogs in Afghanistan, to make an amorphous sculptural map-like object. It’s inspired by her father’s own experience as a helicopter pilot in the National Guard. He talked about the precariousness of aviation with night vision goggles during what is called Nap of the Earth (NOE), a military tactic that involves flying as close to the tree line as possible. Kimball’s interpretive collage exposes the regenerative, verdant earth, rather than a landscape torn by war. The artist works almost as a journalist would, shedding light on military tactics through a kind of deep research of the images. The tension between their intended use and Kimball’s own use, is palpable.  

Selena Kimball, (b. 1973) Bangor Maine, is a recent recipient of the Pollock-Krasner award and a Jerome Foundation Travel grant, and is Assistant Professor of Contemporary Art Practice at Parsons. She earned her BFA in sculpture from The Rhode Island School of Design and her MFA from Hunter College. She has exhibited at Feature, Inc., Entropia Gallery, The Estonian National Museum, Portland Museum of Art, Katonah Museum, The Center for Contemporary Art, Warsaw, and the Museum of the Romanian Peasant, Bucharest.