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Asya Geisberg Gallery is pleased to present Bad Blood, an exhibition of sculpture and installation by Julie Schenkelberg. In Bad Blood, the artist establishes a world where domestic harmony becomes an oxymoron. Objects and furniture from a faintly bygone era mix with rudimentary construction materials, disrupting our associations of comfort and connection. Extrapolating from her cloistered childhood, Schenkelberg weaves new narratives that explore Jungian concepts of collective memory, via the symbolic and emotional touchstones of furniture and domestic detritus. Growing up in a large extended family, Schenkelberg absorbed the hidden stories of her family’s long history. For her, the home is a repository of memories over the course of generations, exhaling emotional residue into the artist, which she then synthesizes and reconfigures into her amalgamations.
Schenkelberg shows us that our pretensions of economic unanimity are hard fought and never entirely successful. Veneers of class pretension are subverted by decay, as the pretty wallpaper belies a peeling corner, while a crack of the house points out the disarray of our lives. China, crystal, lamps and silverware are the external expression of the constant striving. “In the Supper Rooms” is a theatre of conversations: trinkets peek out from the dark, but are surrounded by rotting surfaces. As furniture and materiality is dissembled, reconfigured, abused, and cut up, repressed histories seep out via controlled disarray. Schenkelberg rips apart the carefully constructed illusion of harmony and elegance, of “just-right”-ness, and provokes each of us to see the chaos and discord behind the seams.
“Cowered” is both a ruined throne of a long-deposed monarch, and a claustrophobic miniature stage set. Plates and china overwhelm the missing center of the piece, threatening to crash overhead. Rubble from a broken home or a shattered memory leaks out from underneath. A half-buried bridesmaid shoe beckons from a corner, while in “Streetcar” a teacup hides between layers of drywall. Schenkelberg believes that via sculpture, anyone can connect to the energy and emotion behind her memories, as via a Jungian understanding of the collective unconscious, memories pass among us, and objects communicate over time. “The collective unconscious transmits from one generation to the next resulting, in the momentum of time, in blurring the images of the present and past into one,” explains the artist.
Born in 1974, Schenkelberg grew up in a suburb of the post-industrial landscape of Cleveland, Ohio. After receiving her BA in art history at the College of Wooster, she worked for fifteen years as a scenic artist, working for renowned professional theaters across the country. Schenkelberg is currently completing her MFA at the School of Visual Arts, NY, where she is also a Teaching Assistant in Sculpture. This will be the artist’s first solo exhibition in New York.