In a departure from the clever, fantastical creatures she coaxes out of smooth mounds of clay, Eva Funderburgh used tree branches and chicken wire to shape the forest animals in her new installation, Looking forward, Looking backward, at the Woolworth Windows, S. 11th and Broadway, through Nov. 17, 2016.
In this installation, two “deer-like creatures” face each other from opposing windows. “They can be interpreted either chronologically, as childhood and adulthood, or as parent and child,” said the Seattle-based artist. The figures are separated by an insurmountable outdoor space, which adds poignancy to either reading. The forms are molded from chicken wire “with branches woven through the wire to give them more substance and a ‘sketched’ look.” The openness of the wire allows overhead light to pass through the bodies creating interesting skeins of shadows on a white backdrop. Inside the bodies, dark blue spheres made from plant material add color and depth.
“My work deals with the overlap of humanity and the natural world,” said Funderburgh. “I use my simple, emotive animal forms to examine human motives and emotions. Humans are animals, and as animals they are part of nature. Guided by this idea, I seek insight into the human condition from sources as diverse as animal fables and biology textbooks.” An accomplished sculptor in clay and bronze, she animates the curious figures she makes with a unique sense of movement and an often humorous emotionality.
Funderburgh attended Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Science and Art, with focuses in chemistry and sculpture. In Seattle, she is part of the crew on two local anagama kilns, Santatsugama and Ochawangama. In 2006, she teamed up with five other artists to create Florentia Clayworks, a cooperative clay studio. She is an instructor in the Foundry program at Pratt Fine Arts Center, where she explores a fascination with patinas that began with her studies in chemistry.
In 2010, Funderburgh spent five weeks as an artist in residence at the Guldagergaard Center for Ceramics in Skaelskor, Denmark. The experience inspired her to expand both the scale and complexity of her work. It also renewed an interest in installation art; today, she counts a permanent installation in a Seattle school, and temporary works in galleries and a museum, to her credit. Spaceworks is proud to introduce her large-scale art to Tacoma.
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Near Funderburgh’s installation on Broadway, a new film short by Isaac Olsen is playing at the Tollbooth Gallery. Machine Loop depicts machinery and motion in a bold, visceral, repetitive display. Weirdly – hypnotically – the power of the film lies in its monotony; one just can’t stop watching to see whether the loop of the title is a closed one.
Machine Loop is on display at the world’s smallest gallery through Nov. 17th, 2016. Olsen uses an original score and animation, and has applied graffiti-esque painting around the outside of the Tollbooth kiosk. He is a Tacoma-based filmmaker, documentarian, animator and pragmatist whose films include Ich hunger (2013), and Strictly Sacred: The Story of Girl Trouble (2014). -Lisa Kinoshita
Check out “Looking forward, Looking backward” by Eva Funderburgh, and “Machine Loop” by Isaac Olsen, at S. 11th & Broadway through Nov. 17, 2016.