Thursday, November 06, 2008

Meet yer Maykr: Elia Gurna

Early in October, I paid a visit to Elia Gurna's studio in the Beacon Studios building. Of course, I snapped some images.
The work in her studio was predominated by her lushly hued paintings and blanched sculptures of silk flowers and plastic tchotchkies. The objects collaged together create hieratic verticals and are unified under layers of white enamel. I was pleased to learn that the constituent material is resurrected from a previous life and generally it is sourced from within her own home. This knowledge pleases me for two reasons. First, one who hordes likes to know he's not alone and secondly, because the forms of the sculpture take their cues from Elia's intuitive play with what's available. They grow out of what is - responding to that condition, not negating it as does a fully premeditated work. The little item in the foreground in the above image is sitting on a plinth of stacked Pakistani (I believe) chewing gum, which I believe Elia said is at least a decade old.

Though all of this work has been greatly influenced by her becoming a mother last year, the tiny pieces lining the windowsill (above) are the most directly affected by this change in her life. What she calls her 'Sculptures for Mice' are works of opportunity made during the sporadic and fleeting moments of art making that present themselves to the mother of a one year old.

There's such a stark chromatic difference between Elia's paintings and sculptures. In surface and form they but two sides of the same coin - oozy, glossy, dimensional. But where the paintings are blindingly vivid, the sculptures are subdued, with hints of the underlying objects' inherent, often garish, color barely bleeding through.
Elia is the second artist to go on the board of kork - the newest and most exciting project space for contemporary art in Poughkeepsie, NY. kork is located on the wall above the photocopier in the office of Bailey Browne CPA and Associates. The work Elia created for kork will be installed this week and remain through December.

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