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MCLA Gallery 51 To Present 'The Grass Is Green'
10:29AM / Wednesday, June 15, 2011
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Gallery 51 will present “The Grass is Green,” a solo exhibition by Williamstown artist Karin Stack, beginning Thursday, June 23.

An opening reception will be held on June 23, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the gallery, located at 51 Main St. The event is free and open to the public.

Stack’s artworks are investigations of landscape, using a variety of modes and methods. She has one foot in historic tradition, one in new media and another in lies and deception.

In this recent body of work, she has created a suite of images that feature mash-ups of new and old: perfected photographic landscapes using fake materials, etchings with digital overprinting, an animation she built in 3D modeling software, and collages and paintings based on that animation.

In a statement about her work, Stack said, “I find it natural to hybridize and move back and forth using all the techniques and possibilities that coexist, from historic technologies to current printing and digital tools. I’m also a bit phony, so this all suits me quite well.”

Stack’s work has emerged and evolved throughout her career as an artist – from straight printmaking and drawing through photography and digital to a conflation of media overlapping and informing each other.

Of her show, Stack said, “We’ve always been interested in deception, willing suspensions of disbelief. We participate—as viewer, as creator—and we take pleasure in the experience that is or can be art. We strive, at times, for verisimilitude, and we enjoy artifice and trompe l’oeil. These are part of our aesthetics. These are all games that we choose to partake in. In my work, then, I’m merely playing with and hopefully jostling some of the lies we’re accustomed to seeing.”

Stack investigates an idealized, unnatural, fake landscape. She finds aesthetic curiosity in parking lot shrubberies, overly manicured topiary gardens, golf courses and Astroturf. She uses both sites and locations she visits, as well as sets and models she builds, bringing into play both tactile materials and digital model-making. Some images evoke the romantic and the sublime using blatantly artificial materials (felt, twigs, Play-Doh). Others play with those materials and explore flatness versus illusionistic space.

However, Stack consistently is a “faker”. “Everywhere you look, landscape is controlled and falsified,” she said, “it’s all fake. I’m just building it more fakely.”

“The Grass is Green” opens in conjunction with the Fourth Annual DownStreet Art, a city-wide celebration of the arts, which kicks off on June 23 at 6 p.m. with a massive block party. There will be gallery exhibition openings, street musicians and specials at local businesses.

The event is free and open to the public.

DownStreet Art is a project of MCLA’s Berkshire Culture Resource Center, partnering with the City of North Adams, Develop North Adams, Massachusetts Cultural Council and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. The program is made possible through leading sponsorship support provided by Berkshire Bank, The Clark Art Institute, Excelsior Printing, Orbit Visual Graphic Design, Jarvis W Rockwell and Scarafoni Reality. Additional support is provided by: Adams Co-Operative Bank, Hoosac Bank, The Porches Inn at MASS MoCA, and The Sushi House.

The initiative was designed to revitalize downtown North Adams by identifying the city as a cultural haven. The program serves not only to increase MCLA’s visibility, but also to showcase what other local arts organizations have to offer. For more information about DownStreet Art and the Berkshire Cultural Resource Center, go to www.downstreetart.org and www.mcla.edu/bcrc.

For more information about Stack’s artwork, visit www.karinstack.com.  “The Grass is Green” remains on view through Sunday, July 24. Gallery hours are daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  For more information, call 413-664-8718, or go to www.mcla.edu/Gallery51.
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