Alex Lopez and Judith Cottrell What's in a Line?

August 22, 2008 – September 27, 2008

Artist Statement

A line is the result of mark making and has been around since human existence. Drawing is traditionally seen as a preparatory investigation for such practices as painting and sculpture. The use of traditional mark making methods of charcoal, ink, graphite and paper have given way to more contemporary materials, applications, and techniques.This resurgence of drawing and its current multidisciplinary approach is one that fascinates these two artists as they engage in a playful discussion about their respective practices. Cottrell and Lopez open a dialogue in hopes of sharing, conveying, and merging their current and past methodologies into the exhibition in the Mezzanine Gallery.

Judith Cottrell and Alex Lopez approach their first collaboration experience with the idea of “What’s in a Line”? What seems to be a reasonable and yet simple question is brought upon by their interest in each other’s work and approach to drawing. Lopez’s interest in drawing lies with mapping historical, personal, and fictional moments &events and is transformed metaphysically through use of line and color, taking on architectural forms and landscapes. This information undergoes extreme scrutiny as personal and public memories converge, creating a confabulation of past information. In this moment, an apperceptive constellation is constructed, thus creating new histories and maps. Cottrell holds an interest in drawing as a mode of documentation and expression realized through the process of making a drawing. Her process and approach to drawing has developed from an interest in translating the mechanics of human motivation and drive into visual language. In short, the internalization and storage of past and present experience-physical, visual, and cognitive, parallel the accumulation and organization of line in her work.

They begin their discussion with the formal qualities of mark making and move through the conceptual aspects-dealing with subjectivity and the inheritable narrative aspects of what drawing offers. In their investigations, they call the gallery space into play and question the idea of utilizing it as a place to exhibit or possibly integrate the space as the artwork itself. Their findings result in a playful dialogue on ideas about incorporating “line of sight”and the reaction to each other’s earlier approach to their respective works.

Lopez’s recent works combines the influences of Cottrell’s’ earlier and current works while also redefining the architectural attributes of the space itself. In his process of examining the space, the dominant black lines that trace out the ceiling, columns, and floor of the gallery are confronted. The result moves Lopez away from the architectural, hard angles and multiple color pallets into softer, organic cloud-like forms. The combination of rejecting the linear aspects of the space and Cottrell’s new approach has allowedLopez to break free of his earlier methods, thus complementing Cottrell’s recent works.

Cottrell’s current works openly respond to the architectural structures of the gallery space and the geometric aesthetics of Lopez’s earlier works. Her approach compliments the visually dominant central support columns and the horizontal slit of the Mezzanine window and, with influence by the hard edges of Lopez’s earlier formal qualities, ignores her former interest in organic form. Drawn lines are organic but the organization of line has become rigid overall. And for her, in retrospect, the process of drawing has again been influenced by the internalization of visual experience.

The resulting exhibition is a combination of independent and collaborative works that involve an investigation of shifting methodology, approach, and comment on how line and space can be articulated, integrated, viewed, and accessed. Through installation and various media, Cottrell and Lopez challenge the modes of traditional genres with a new consideration of drawing.

Artist Bios

Alex Lopez

Alex Lopez is a native Texan currently residing in Illinois. He attended Alfred University in New York where he received his M.F.A. in 1998. After graduating Alex returned to Texas where he taught at theUniversity of Texas at San Antonio and worked as the studio technician at the prestigious InternationalArtist in Residence Program, Artpace. In 2005 Lopez was awarded the position of Visiting AssistantProfessor, Art Fellow of Sculpture at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, where presently he is theAssistant Professor of 3D Foundations and Sculpture.

Alex’s work is diverse, ranging from formal objects and videos to installations, and he approaches his work as an artist, scientist and anthropologist. His explorations initially stemmed from personal childhood experiences, but over time have evolved to encompass many types of social explorations.Alex’s work addresses questions and experiences that revolve around the severity of compromise, conformity, hope and loss. His work visually communicates an unsettling contradictory wholeness, as it moves between factual and confabulatory memories and events.

Alex’s work has been seen in more than 45 exhibitions, including such spaces as the Hudson Show Room at Artpace, San Antonio; San Antonio Museum of Art; McNay Art Museum, Texas; University of NorthTexas, Denton; Blanton Museum of Art; Arthouse at the Jones Center, Austin, TX; Robert Turner Gallery,Alfred, NY; Cedarhurst Museum Center for the Arts, IL.and Christie’s, New York. He has been included in several catalogs and has also been reviewed in Art In America, Artlies, andArt Papers.

Judith Cottrell

Judith Cottrell earned a BFA from the University of Houston and, after traveling to France for a short-term study abroad, she received an MFA from the University of Texas at San Antonio where she currently resides. She presently teaches for the Arts program at San Antonio College and theInternational School of Design and Technology.

Cottrell has shown her work over the past 8 years at various venues including theMcNay Art Museum,Texas-as part of theArtists Looking at Art contemporary art series; Joan Grona Gallery, San Antonio, and Delmar College, Texas. She had a recent portfolio interview at the Drawing Center, New York, and has had numerous reviews of her work over the years including a cover review inVoices of Art magazine on her installation/performance show titled Pink Lemonade at i2i gallery in San Antonio.

Currently, she is pursuing short-term residency programs within and outside the United States