The Elevate at 21c program presents temporary exhibitions for artists living and working in the communities surrounding each 21c Museum Hotel property. Elevate provides hotel guests with unique access to the work of notable regional artists, while featuring their work in the context of 21c’s world-class contemporary art collection. On your next visit to Bentonville, simply ask at the front desk in order to view the Elevate exhibits on the guest room floors.
On view from March – September 2018, Elevate at 21c Bentonville presents three women artists whose works synthesize references to both landscape, and the human body.
Composed of thousands of hand-made porcelain grass blades, Dawn Holder’s Grass Variation (Hill), appears as a small patch of fixed green grass, rising slightly toward its center into a low, terraced hill. “One element of landscape that commonly recurs in my work is manicured grass. I am fascinated by the various and divergent ways that grass functions symbolically in American culture,” Holder notes. “Suburban lawns, interrupted only by driveways and occasional trees, spread across the horizon forming a park-like expanse, not dissimilar to the landscaping around old world manor houses, giving inhabitants a sense of social stability and calm. Bright green lawns in drought-stricken areas, however, speak of excess wealth and squandered resources.” The manicured uniformity of the 4×4-inch square ceramic units attest to the laborious and delicate process required by the artist’s hand to fabricate the work, while the particular location or function of this idealized patch of sod remains ambiguous.
Rivers of graphite undulate in LaDawna Whiteside’s drawing installation Body: Flesh and Bone. Long sheets of paper flow, climb, and recline in the space, while the drawings’ analogous compositions intertwine and transform each other, just as human bodies, in proximity or contact, affect one another. “From my mind, to my body, standing, squatting, stretching, I make graphite marks using a hard edge as a boundary line,” Whiteside explains. “Amidst varied speed and pressure points, each mark is birthed and brought to rest with weight and movement, resembling the weaving process. Artist Ann Hamilton makes a connection between the woven material and touch in her work Habitus as she states, ‘cloth is the body’s first architecture; it protects, conceals and reveals; it carries a body’s weight, swaddles at birth, covers in sleep and in death.’” The ephemeral form and flow of water, and the billowing dance of wind-blown fabrics are suggested by the rolling, swelling paper surfaces, while Whiteside’s elongated, uniform mark-making records the linear, precise movement and control of the artist’s own body required to make it.
Rena Detrixhe’s haunting installation dreams and bones poetically explores the cycle of birth, life, and death. The grounded, delicately balanced structure is composed of forms cast directly from nature, and while resembling bones they incubate the possibility of new birth through seeds fixed in the artwork itself during the creation process. “Plaster and gauze, emblematic of broken bones, of damage and repair, are used to fill the cavities of individual collected catalpa seed pods. The resultant object is a unique record of this interior space, the space which carries the seed. In the process of casting, some of those seeds, tiny paper-thin vessels of genetic material, become embedded in the plaster cast form.“ Detrixhe carefully places, stacks and balances the hand-formed casts on top of each other, the underlying casts supporting the one ones above. Detrixhe notes that the “slender chalky objects might resemble kindling for a fire, a pile of ribs or antler sheds, twigs or relics, dreams or bones.”
About the Artists:
Rena Detrixhe received her BFA in Expanded Media and Art History from the University of Kansas in 2013. Her contemplative work combines repetitive process and collected or scavenged materials to produce large-scale objects and installations. Often utilizing natural materials, a continuing objective in her practice is to investigate the relationship between art and environment. Her recent work includes a labor-intensive installation and performance with collaborator, Eli Gold, at La Esquina Gallery in Kansas City and a site-specific sculptural drawing made from thousands of individually formed resin droplets created for the Grand Rapids Public Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
She is the recipient of numerous awards including a scholarship to attend the prestigious art school at Hongik University in Seoul, South Korea, the Brosseau Award from the Spencer Museum of Art in Lawrence, Kansas, and a studio residency with Charlotte Street Foundation in Kansas City, Missouri. Detrixhe is one of twelve artists selected for the inaugural year of the Tulsa Artist Fellowship and is currently living and working in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Dawn Holder is a sculptor and installation artist who investigates various elements of landscape and their socio-cultural significance through porcelain and mixed media. As Associate Professor of Art at the University of the Ozarks, she currently teaches ceramics, sculpture, and art history. Holder was awarded an Arkansas Arts Council 2015 Individual Artist Fellowship Grant for Sculpture and Installation Art and the Bagwell Outstanding Faculty Award in 2016.
She has shown her work in galleries and museums throughout the country, including the National Museum for Women in the Arts (Washington, DC); Disjecta Contemporary Art Center (Portland, OR); the Zuckerman Museum of Art (Kennesaw, GA); the Zanesville Museum of Art (Zanesville, OH); and the Historic Arkansas Museum (Little Rock, AR). Holder also serves as the Coordinator of Projects Space, a performative and installation-based exhibition of experimental ceramics at the annual National Council on Education for the Ceramics Arts (NCECA) conference. She received an MFA in Ceramics from the Rhode Island School of Design and a BFA in Ceramics from the University of Georgia.
Born in 1970 in rural Oklahoma, LaDawna Whiteside’s American lineage dates beyond the Dust Bowl. She is the descendent of a farmer, an orphaned coal miner’s daughter, a charismatic preacher and a female factory worker. Whiteside sifts through 19thcentury American social history and uses materials, process and place to form a visual dialogue. She contemplates strands of truth woven within contradictions as she attempts to cultivate meaning through repetitive mark making and a sacred connection to the land.
Her projects are based in abstraction bearing a kinship to the work and philosophies of Cy Twombly, Anni Albers, Agnes Martin and Ann Hamilton. Whiteside explains, “Vital to human development is a formula for literacy that involves sensuality, physicality, emotions and critical thinking.” She demonstrates a layering of literacy by combining reading and writing with her proposed formula.
Pursuing an alternative sublime, Whiteside chronicles this place and time, focusing on landscape topography and animal architecture. Whiteside also references contemporary cultural intersections, commonalities and social divides. Through constant questioning, she challenges a broader perception of human response toward the landscape and how we act toward each other.
For more than forty years Whiteside has lived in Arkansas where she currently raises cattle and tends to a small flock of laying hens. With a watchful eye, she is engaged and aware within the struggle, contemplating how to build cultural bridges through social and landscape integration.