Kevin Curry, Amber Eagle, and El Franco Lee II Round 3

Artist Studio Program

May 8, 2009 – June 13, 2009

Artist Statements

Kevin Curry

“My work involves a mapping of sorts, a multidisciplinary collection of history and storytelling that reflects the looked-over, passed-over, hidden and forgotten parts of our culture and lives. The codification of language and information is a key element as I chronicle the lost and discarded, the preserved and the relished.In considering heterogeneous cultural indicators and societal detritus such as discarded signage, disposed consumer items and mechanized devices, I combine my explorations with a strong tradition of mark and object making, while embracing the fusing of different media, technologies and approaches in an effort to transcend imposed artistic and societal boundaries.As I look to this tangible cultural debris for both introspection and inspiration, I embrace the repetition of the multiple and the freedom of the do-over evident in the reclamation and re-presentation of discarded items and histories – materials reflective of both growth and decay.We leave behind so many artifacts, that we are being physically and metaphorically overrun by our own past as it ebbs and flows through and around our lives. It is these trace elements of past experiences–indicators of future events – that fuel my passion and my work.”

Amber Eagle

“ROUND 3 represents Lawndale’s third group of three residents and for me represents three bodies of work involving narrative, symbolism and ceremony. The work maps the way we experience the world through body (lashes, fingernails, gowns), how we organize our relationship with land, and how we design spiritual imagery. All are connected by a thread of fascination with female rites, trappings and wiles.

NAILS AND LASHES are parts of our body we grow, groom and shed. In a cathedral they are sacred-the relics of a saint, currently the magic they hold for us is DNA. Made very large they become power totems and their ability to do their job is impaired. Like Chinese fingernail guards or bound feet these parts of the body are transformed into objects of beauty overruling the form follows function rule.They become body parts of attraction-painted up and cruising for attention like low riders. I was taught to paint my own nails at a young age and never use them as atool.

SAINTS AND SEMIS are two of the most powerful items in our culture. Murderers and miracle workers become unbeatified folk saints in obscure Mexican communities. In my small Mexican town parades ball-gowned beauty queens riding atop cars are like girls with wheels for legs and charras parading in their Adelita dresses on horseback are girls with horse legs–mythological beasts.To be in Mexico city is to constantly negotiate with its beast of traffic which is the air you breathe and exhale into the hazy cloud of pollution resting over the city.This phenomena, occurring allover the planet in one form or another, was inspiration to make a saint of transportation. I intended to construct a photo or a painting of her, which evolved into a semi-truck based drivable skirt/beast. Baroque chapel domes informed the skirt shape and pattern. I worked with a master saint carver and a metal smith of religious items to make the figure that sits the skirt when I am not driving it. This wooden figure was the first secular (or faux saint) figure they had worked on.

CEREMONIAL GOWNS are contemporary costumes of ceremonial rite. In some rites the bigger the dress the larger the area your being commands-helpers are sometimes needed to carry the weight of all that they hold.

-Lady of Highway 101a gown of innocence lost.. A quinceanera dress is worn fora girls rite of passage into woman hood . The title here refers to an empty desert stretch of Highway 101 between Texas andMexico where night and day suddenly you come upon bands of parked semi trucks. I finally figured out it was a prostitute (or lot lizard) spot.. These scenes allover the world are one of the leading causes of STD epidemics.

-Falling Beauty. If not for pure beauty what would be the purpose of big billowy gowns? To hold a lot of air, which could save you… were it a parachute.

-Bride of the Atmosphere A bridal gown represents union. Here she is marrying the atmosphere–faint pencil lines mark the 6 layers of it that she passes through on her way to the altar. The vignettes in her gown are landscape moments remembered from my life, familiar views of this particular time on earth with only shadows of human presence.”

El Franco Lee II

“My art brings an illustrator’s technique of realism and surrealism to the fine arts arena. The intent is to set my work apart from ‘Pop Art’ and ‘Folk-Art’ by depicting real life events consequentially, addressing the needs of fine art audiences who demand cultural and innovative renderings of the unexpected.The collections of “Urban Mannerist Pop Art” in acrylic paint, mixed mediums, pencil and ink are many times very graphic in content and can sometimes startle if not offend the observer, however upon further examination the observer is captivated and drawn into the life experience. The spectator is forced to face truthful realities of humanity. The focus is to peel away the outer layers of still life and graphic illustrations to reveal the disguise of what would once be considered ordinary. As I continue to evolve as an artist, a main objective is to advance in my response to specific demands of the art world while staying true to personal interests in unique subject matters.”

Artist Bios

Born in Mt. Kisco, New York in 1960 Kevin Curry was raised overseas where he was exposed to multiple countries and cultures (Puerto Rico, South Africa,Australia) before returning to the United States in 1978. He attended the Center forCreative Studies in Detroit MI, where he earned his BFA in Graphic Design in1983. After working as an ArtDirector in New York and Philadelphia, Kevin started his own Graphic Design business in 1991, specializing in digital editorial illustrations. Throughout his career Kevin continued his artistic pursuits outside of the commercial field and in 2005 retired his business and entered the Sculpture program at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, IL where he received hisMFA in 2008. While attending SIUC, Kevin had the honor of being a Visiting Artist/Lecturer at Juniata College in Huntingdon, PA.In the past two years, Kevin’s work has been exhibited nationally at the TargetGallery, National Exhibition Space of the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria,VA, the University of Missouri in Columbus, MO, White Flags Project Gallery in St Louis MO and Cedarhurst Center for the Arts in Mt Vernon, IL, as well as a recent solo exhibition in the University of Central Arkansas’ Baum Gallery in Conway, AR.

Amber Eagle received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and herMFA from California College of Art. She has spent the past ten years working and exhibiting in Mexico. A recipient of McColl Center for the arts residency, HeadlandsCenter for the Arts, winner of the 2008 Art Car Parade and a Core Fellowship. She is from Charlotte, North Carolina.

El Franco Lee II is a current resident of Houston, Texas as well as a native son.He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting from theUniversity of Houston in2007. He has been employed with ESPA Corp Architecture for 10 years in AutoCad and Design. His recent solo and juried exhibitions include,“Gift of the Spirit”(A partnership of JPMorgan Chase and Art League Houston); along with exhibitions at Project Row Houses-Houston, Texas; Angstrom Gallery, Dallas,Texas; Siebert Brandford Shank & Co., LLC Public Finance Summit; Napa Valley,California; Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, Texas; Romo Gallery, Atlanta,Georgia; G Gallery, Houston, Texas; University of Houston Project Gallery; Blaffer Gallery, Houston, Texas; Yale University, Annual Art Barn Exhibit, Norfolk,Connecticut; and Diverse Works Art Space, Houston, Texas.