Katy Cowan, Marissa Johnen, & Allison Peck
JUNE 13 - JULY 31, 2013 Opening Reception: Wed. Aug. 28, 6:30 - 8:30 pm. Guest Curator: Katy Cowan
I recently read Studs Terkel’s Working – arguably his most famous book and one that delves deep into the heart of America's workers. Published in 1972, Terkel interviewed, spent time with, and questioned the daily life of workers in American society – this ranged from farmers to prostitutes, airline workers to business executives, cab drivers to piano tuners, and so on. This got me thinking…how does the working life of an artist translate to the things they do and make? How does someone who waits tables everyday, hurriedly facilitating each customer’s needs, deal with a gallery? Another artist? An institution? This exhibition sources from the workplace, both physically and conceptually. Identifiers of employment, exchange, and the residue of those interactions undoubtedly enter the materials and ideas of the artists included in the exhibition. Working offers a contained view into the products of these three artists' labor. - KC
Katy Cowan has worked in the restaurant industry since she was 14 years old - climbing the ladder from dishwasher, to server, to cook, and finally to manager, her engagement in this field undoubtedly affects her interactions elsewhere. Cowan's work employs residues of place, situation, form and self.
Marissa Johnen is currently employed at Trader Joe’s. Boxes, crates, and other "trash" enter her installation work. Materials are sent back to the warehouse, recycled, restocked and delivered to the company. Employees return for their own purposes, as do the customers. Two different objectives running in one place causes tension; they do not always understand each other. Once Johnen realized that customers goal is to feed the people they care about and her job was to help them do that, the tension of work was relieved.
Allison Peck has worked in retail and education; both types of work are highly demanding, similarly underpaid, and essentially service-oriented. As an art teacher, she sometimes did not have the budget for supplies from an art store, and often wanted to expand her students' use of materials beyond those traditionally used. This experimental, economy of means approach to materials eventually seeped into her own practice, and she is currently dealing with the poetry and politics of the plastic bag.