Hothouse, opening Friday, June 17, at Darger HQ, will feature work by Elizabeth Kauffman (Salisbury, MD) and Luke Severson (Omaha, NE) and will be on view through August 7. The opening reception will be on June 17 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., with an artist talk at 6:00 p.m.
Kauffman and Severson physically create their work in very different ways. Kauffman toils away on detailed watercolors on paper while Severson creates robust sculptures utilizing such materials as concrete. Although their approach is different, both artists are examining similar concepts and issues in their work, such as psychological development, metamorphosis, transformation due to societal pressures and cultural and genetic hierarchy.
Kauffman’s watercolor, Read to your baby, is (perhaps) a personal reflection on the expectations on her role as a new parent and the nurturing of the various stages of intellectual childhood development. Severson’s sculpture, Joe Johnson Jenga, is a 1 to 4 recreation of the cinder block exercise implemented by Joe Johnson on his future-famous Jackson five kids. The work is an examination of Authoritarian parenting styles and how destructive disciplinarian behavior can have on, in particular, young boys.
Hothouse is a term used to describe an environment that encourages rapid development. In fact, “hothousing” is a controversial form of education for children, involving intense study of a topic in order to stimulate the child's mind. Advocates of the practice claim that it is essential for the brightest to flourish intellectually, while critics claim that it does more harm than good and can lead a child to abandon the area studied under such a scheme later in life.
Elizabeth Kauffman is currently an assistant professor at Salisbury University in Salisbury, Maryland. She received her BA at Xavier University and her MA and MFA at the University of Cincinnati. In her practice, Kauffman seeks to mirror the openness she strives to maintain in her daily life. “True societal transformation must begin at the individual level, and this is why my creative intentions begin there.” Her work explores the strange phenomena and phenomenology of everyday life. “As primary as the first-person perspective is, we all seek to validate our experiences with others. It is this interaction between what I know to be true and what you know to be true that I find so interesting, especially when those two truths are at odds.”
Luke Severson is a native of northeast Iowa. He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Northern Iowa and his master's degree from Kansas State University. He is currently working as an Instructor of Ceramics at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Severson attempts to “manipulate the communicative strength of recognizable objects and forms, creating sculptures in a confluence of material, thought and experience.”
Friday, June 17: 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
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