This project is a collaboration between artists Leonardo Drew (b. 1961), Sarah Oppenheimer (b. 1972) and Marie Watt (b. 1967). Additionally, Watt collaborated with students from the Santa Fe Indian School, Santa Fe University of Art and Design, Tierra Encantada High School and the Institute of American Indian Arts, and other members of the Santa Fe community. The artists will present new and recent installations that are specific to SITE’s space and responsive to each other.
In their respective practices these artists employ evocative and culturally resonate materials and site-ings to create works that are both conceptual and visceral. Oppenheimer’s architectural interventions traverse the physical boundaries of the exhibition space, breaking through walls and using reflections to bring the interior and exterior of the gallery into a concentrated view. Her works will also offer alternative views of Watt’s and Drew’s installations. Watt’s works made from reclaimed blankets and other fabrics present as “painting with textiles.” For Unsuspected Possibilities, she is creating a monumental installation that consists of almost a dozen of these works, configured to evoke a partial longhouse, a form of architecture built by the Haudenosaunee. Watt was initially inspired by research into the Mohawk ironworkers that built many of Manhattan’s skyscrapers, and an abstract correlation between the structure of the longhouse and the structure of the skyscraper. Drew is known for evocative abstract sculptures assembled from diverse material including cotton, burned canvas, wood, and found objects, that have a strong sense of presence. In Unsuspected Possibilities his work engages in an interesting material dialogue with the work of Oppenheimer and Watt.
This project represents a new collaboration for these artists and provides an opportunity for them to push the boundaries of their practices by working together to create an exhibition that is conceived from the start as a phenomenological unit. They are engaging in an experimental situation which challenges curatorial conventions, but is also in keeping with SITE’s tradition of producing new commissions and exploring new directions in exhibition design and curatorial practice.
The exhibition is made possible by a generous grant from the New York-based Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. This grant is part of the foundation’s Artistic Innovation and Collaboration Grants initiative, a program that advances the values promoted by the artist and activist Robert Rauschenberg during his lifetime and career.