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Exhibition view Untitled, Ink, gouache, white conte on paper. 39" x 29"
About the exhibition
Solo exhibition of drawings and paper sculpture by Janell O'Rourke.
Within / Without
I live and work in Long Island City, Queens. The waterfront community is traditionally industrial and shares a kinship with Red Hook for its rather off the beaten path position. A lot of the imagery that appears in this work is inspired by water or water creatures that permeate the dream banks of the East River.
The title: Within/Without invokes the elemental, the intrinsic, the flux. In this body of work, I wish to convey a combination of spontaneous and contemplated arrangements.
In my work, the element of surprise is welcomed and has become a regular part of my process. Within the drawings forms emerge or recede. Shapes interact and turn into new shapes, or fall away from one another. Form and formlessness reside as one. Within the inky layers, white lines snake around to create patterns for the viewer to travel through. Some areas are more articulated and take on watery botanical or animal figurations. The notion is to assemble the drawings by way of discovery and chance.
The sculpture began with an idea of form from nature. I built it in papier-mâché and incorporated various paint mediums to characterize its features. The form calls to mind a fossilized organism or relic perhaps from another time, where ghostly creatures may have once inhabited or passed through. It is an homage to life forms that are overlooked or unknown.
My show at Kentler is designed to honor the waterfront, to explore speculation, and to instill a sense of intuition, which is "inside us as well as all around."
Janell O'Rourke, 2002