2009 Charlotte Street Foundation Visual Artist Awards

November 14 - March 27

Overview

Installation view, Dylan Mortimer, "God Hooks My Ass Up!," 2009, cardboard, glitter and Christmas lights
Opening reception
Installation view, Andrzej Zielinski, "Satellite Reentry," 2009, mixed media on panel
Installation view, Dylan Mortimer, "The Last Supper" and "The Baptism of Jesus," 2009, brass, aluminum, rhinestones
Installation view, Jaimie Warren and Whoop Dee Doo
Installation view, detail, Jaimie Warren and Whoop Dee Doo, "A Haunted Ice Cave," 2009, installation
Opening reception, Jaimie Warren and Whoop Dee Doo, "A Haunted Ice Cave," 2009, installation
Jaimie Warren, "Untitled (Self Portrait, Dinosaur Mouth)," 2009, Color photograph
 
For the fifth time since opening in 1999, the H&R Block Artspace at the Kansas City Art Institute presented an exhibition in partnership with the Charlotte Street Foundation. “The 2009 Charlotte Street Foundation Visual Artist Awards,” featured new work by fellows Dylan Mortimer ('02, Painting), Jaimie Warren ('02, Printmaking) and Andrzej Zielinski.
 
“Dylan Mortimer, Jaimie Warren and Andrzej Zielinski, all 30ish give or take a few years, spent some or all of their formative years as artists in Kansas City, and they all emit a certain and increasingly recognizable generational attitude,” said Raechell Smith, director of the Artspace.
 
“They are more confident than a previous decade’s generation ever was about the viability of launching and sustaining a credible art career in Kansas City. It’s likely that each of these artists has benefited from the pioneering, DIY spirit that Kansas City has become known for, taking full advantage of the opportunities that exist and creating others along the way.”
 
The Charlotte Street Foundation has now recognized 68 Kansas City-based visual artists with Charlotte Street Visual Artist Awards, with a total of $422,500 in unrestricted case grants distributed directly to the artists over 12 years.

Checklist

 
Andrzej Zielinski
Untitled, 2009
acrylic, graphite and ink on paper                 
Courtesy of Dolphin Gallery
 
Andrzej Zielinski
Untitled, 2009
acrylic, graphite and ink on paper                 
Courtesy of Dolphin Gallery
 
Andrzej Zielinski
Satellite Reentry, 2009
mixed media on panel                  
Courtesy of the artist
 
Andrzej Zielinski
Satellite Deployed, 2009
mixed media on panel                  
Courtesy of the artist
 
Andrzej Zielinski
Untitled, 2009
acrylic, graphite and ink on paper                 
Courtesy of Dolphin Gallery
 
Dylan Mortimer
Welcome to Church, Bitches!, 2009
cardboard, glitter, Christmas lights
Courtesy of the artist
 
Dylan Mortimer
Fuck You Satan!, 2009
cardboard, glitter, Christmas lights
Courtesy of the artist
 
Dylan Mortimer
God Hooks My Ass Up!, 2009
cardboard, glitter, Christmas lights
Courtesy of the artist
 
Dylan Mortimer
The Last Supper, 2009
brass, aluminum, rhinestones
Courtesy of the artist
 
Dylan Mortimer
The Baptism of Jesus, 2009
brass, aluminum, rhinestones
Courtesy of the artist
 
Jaimie Warren
Untitled (Tete is Scared), 2009
color photograph 
Courtesy of the artist and Higher Pictures
 
Jaimie Warren
Untitled (Brande with Wings), 2009
color photograph
Courtesy of the artist and Higher Pictures
 
Jaimie Warren
Untitled (Self Portrait, Dinosaur Mouth), 2009
color photograph
Courtesy of the artist and Higher Pictures
 
Jaimie Warren
Untitled (Fireworks), 2009
color photograph
Courtesy of the artist and Higher Pictures
 
Jaimie Warren
Untitled (Self Portrait with Fake Butter), 2009
color photograph
Courtesy of the artist and Higher Pictures
 
Jaimie Warren
Untitled (Bloody Natalie with Blind-folded Audrey), 2009
color photograph
Courtesy of the artist and Higher Pictures
 
Jaimie Warren
Untitled (Gothic Alex), 2009
color photograph
Courtesy of the artist and Higher Pictures
 
Jaimie Warren
Untitled (Self Portrait, Haunted House), 2008
color photograph
Courtesy of the artist and Higher Pictures
 
Jaimie Warren
Untitled (Self Portrait, KC Royals with Hot Dog), 2009
color photograph
Courtesy of the artist and Higher Pictures
 
Jaimie Warren
Untitled (Pink Donuts), 2009
color photograph
Courtesy of the artist and Higher Pictures
 
Jaimie Warren
Untitled (Self Portrait, Hair and Wine Glass), 2009
color photograph
Courtesy of the artist and Higher Pictures
 
Whoop Dee Doo
A Haunted Ice Cave, 2009
installation
 
 

Exhibition Checklist PDF

 

 
Dylan Mortimer earned his B.F.A. at the Kansas City Institute of Art and his M.F.A. from the School of Visual Art, New York, New York. His work questions how expressions of private faith function in the public sphere, and explores the boundaries of what types of faith expressions are permitted versus prohibited. Employing a range of formal, cultural, and conceptual languages, Mortimer has most recently merged the iconographies and vocabularies of Christianity and Hip Hop culture in a continued investigation of how religious belief, popular culture, and social norms do and do not comfortably relate. Mortimer has presented public art installations in New York, NY; Indianapolis, IN; Jackson, TN; Chicago, IL; Bellingham,WA; Lawrence, KS; and Kansas City, MO, including commissioned works for Avenue of the Arts and Art in the Loop Foundation. He has presented one-person shows at PS-122, New York; Boots Contemporary Art Space, St. Louis; and Vlepo Gallery, New York; as well as Leedy-Voulkos Art Center, the Cube @ Beco, Kansas City Jewish Museum Epsten Gallery, all in Kansas City. His work has been featured in group shows at venues including Dumbo Arts Center, Brooklyn, NY; Artists Space, New York, NY; Longwood Arts Gallery, Bronx, NY; David Zwirner, New York, NY; University of Massachusetts Amherst Fine Art Center, MA; Street Level Sculpture Competition, Cedar Rapids, IA; and H&R Block Artspace, Kansas City, MO.
 
Jaimie Warren is a photographer, curator, and performance artist, who makes theatrical, humorous, self-portraits in different scenarios and locations. In addition to candid, snapshot style photographs documenting her own life and surroundings, Warren is the creator of Whoop Dee Doo, an ongoing curatorial and performance-based project that creates a wild platform for diverse community talents and participants in a kid-friendly, faux public access television program format.
Warren attended the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design and received her B.F.A. from the Kansas City Art Institute. Her work has been presented in solo exhibitions at Higher Pictures in New York, White Flag Projects in St. Louis, and Telephonebooth Contemporary Art in Kansas City, as well as in group exhibitions at venues including Le Lieu Unique, Nantes, France; Smith-Stewart, New York; Getsumin, Osaka; Beida University, Beijing; David Castillo Annex, Miami; Van Abbemuseum Eindhoven, the Netherlands; Colette, Paris, France; and Max Wigram Gallery, London. Whoop Dee Doo has travelled to Deitch Projects, New York, NY; Rocket Projects, Miami Fl; and Bemis Center for Contemporary Art Omaha, NE. Warren’s photographs have been published nationally and internationally, including in “Don’t You Feel Better,” a book of her self-portraits published by Aperture in 2008.
 
Andrzej Zielinski received his B.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2002 and his M.F.A. from Yale University in 2004. Of his paintings of laptops, paper shredders, and ATM Machines, painter/writer Joe Fyfe wrote in BOMB magazine: “Zielinski is in league with a number of young painters…who unite painterly abstraction with the language of caricature… He is said to “unite painterly abstraction with the language of caricature…Zielinski has not chosen these objects as motifs for painterly investigation so much as oil paint, crayons, panels, graphite, and paper are mediums utilized to help him define his attitude toward these singular objects...The intensely prosthetic relationship many of us have developed with our laptops is reflected in Zielinski’s discovery that it is impossible for him to create a stable image of one of them.”
Zielinski has had solo exhibitions at Nicole Klagsburn Gallery, New York; Marc Selwyn Fine Art, Los Angeles; and Dolphin Gallery, Kansas City. His work has been included in curated group shows including “Greater New York” at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, NY; “Homecoming” at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, KS; “Possessed: Representations of Single Objects” at Dorsky Gallery, Long Island City, NY; and “Blender” at Sundram Tagore Gallery, New York.

 

Essay

2009 Charlotte Street Foundation Visual Artist Awards
Raechell Smith

 

During the past year, the art world has encountered significant shifts in response to the global economy’s jagged rifts, but 2009 has been a good year for at least 3 of the more than 6,000 local artists, this number according to the commissioned report “The Status of Artists in Kansas City.”

Dylan Mortimer, Jaimie Warren, and Andrzej Zielinski, all 30ish give or take a few years, spent some or all of their formative years as artists in Kansas City and they all emit a certain and increasingly recognizable generational attitude. They are more confident than a previous decade’s generation ever was about the viability of launching and sustaining a credible art career in Kansas City.

It’s likely that each of these artists has benefited from the pioneering, DIY spirit that Kansas City has become known for, taking full advantage of the opportunities that exist and creating others along the way. Their savvy exploitation of technology and all that the information age has to offer is a posture of comfort given that they’ve only really known artmaking in the digital age. And, they’ve simultaneously come of age as artists as Kansas City has come of age as a vibrant art community. In their regard of Kansas City, there is both ease of arrival, as in the increasingly frequent visits from curators, collectors, museum visitors, and other artists, and ease of departure, as in the growing number of opportunities for artists to travel and exhibit work nationally and internationally.

It’s a remarkable and uncertain time in the art world at large. The opportunity to keep pace with the emerging careers of these three artists over the past several months as they created new work for the exhibition has convinced me that the enthusiasm and ambition of this next generation of artists offers much to behold in the coming years.

Monday 10:30 a.m.

Dylan Mortimer and I are sitting in his studio. I appreciate it as a moment when context and content are in complete alignment. Like his father before him, Dylan is a full-time minister and his artist studio is tucked away on the top floor of the Rivercity Community Church, one of a handful of artist studios allocated space in the church where both his professional practices take shape. Since 2002, Mortimer’s work has explored expressions of Christian faith that test the viewer’s range of beliefs and their acceptance of or resistance to faith-based messages. He has cleverly mined systems of public signage, from stained-glass windows and kiosks to telephone booths, to style his own unique brand of messaging.

In 2008, Mortimer created quite a stir by inserting a shortened telephone call booth, newly retro-fitted as a prayer booth for public use, into an empty space on a New York city sidewalk. Reactions to this intervention, from the Christian Science Monitor, NPR, and individuals alike, still linger on the web, bearing witness to the wide range of human emotions it stirred – curiosity, reflection, intolerance, outrage.

Mortimer understands these responses, he anticipates them, provokes them even. In more recent works, he turns from the public arena to face an indoor audience well-versed in contemporary visual art and popular culture but no less discomforted by expressions of faith than the general public. This is no surprise as there is very little space for religion in contemporary visual art. As we sit in the studio, we try to come up with a few examples but the artists that come to mind, like Bill Viola, are much more interested in spirituality than religion.

The more open, compelling expressions of faith, Mortimer quickly points out, are not those of visual artists but of musicians. I can almost see the artist before me training his focus and zooming in more closely. He has found another source to mine for his art in the attitudes and culture of the Hip Hop music he’s listened to since his teens, where harsh daily realities sometimes go head to head with fervent hopes for grace, God, and gratitude. 

One part craft aisle glitter and lit-from-within Christmas lights and one part Psalm 23, the one that goes “The Lord is my Shepherd, I Shall Not Want,” God Hooks My Ass Up! translates a common prayer into crude street vernacular. In Mortimer’s blend of cultures and values, there is sly navigation between sincerity and sarcasm. There is also honest recognition that contemporary seekers might want comforts of materialism, read “cash,” over spiritualism. Add in one part logo for Hip Hop’s No Limit Records label, with its bling-adorned, relief-style military tank, Fuck You Satan! is a baroque, cardboard call out which is aimed directly at the human conditions associated with embattled street life, the wars fought within each of us, or the larger-than-life ones fought on the soils of foreign lands, or perhaps all three. There is no slick artifice here, just the results of what one man can accomplish with his words, his deeds, his hands, and a great deal of glitter.  

Thursday 4:30 p.m.

When art writers who don’t know Jaimie Warren describe her work, they often talk about the different personas or identities assumed by the artist making photographs and orchestrating the multi-disciplinary, high-camp, no-age-limits variety/talent show known as Whoop Dee Doo, drawing comparisons to a lineage of female photographers like Nikki S. Lee and Cindy Sherman. But if you know Warren, you understand that it’s not a matter of costume but one of intensity and one of entertainment value. Cindy Sherman is to Meryl Streep as Jaimie Warren is to Roseanne Barr on Halloween night! It’s intensified, see what I mean? And, more importantly, it’s amusing.

In terms of art production and creative hi-jinx, Warren has been making it, exhibiting it, participating with it, encouraging it, and collaborating on it with the same waxing and waning group of artist friends since her early 20s. Rarely do sensitive questions of authorship and artistic contribution create ruffles it seems, it all just blends together in a way that has individual and collective benefits that are shared as much as possible. As Warren is fond of saying “when you hang out with the same people for long enough, you know how to make them laugh and you build up a shared sense of humor.” There may even be the cultivation of a certain collective aesthetic at play as well, but I’ll come back to that in a moment.

On this day, the studio has come to me. It happens more frequently these days, even if an artist is working in a medium other than digital photography, as Warren does. Everything they need to show you or reference is on their laptop, including their archive of images, their resume and critical reviews, video clips of performances or exhibitions, their website, their calendar, the email they just got with the dates of their upcoming deadlines for projects in Malmo, Sweden or Chicago or New York. This is Jaimie Warren’s studio, remember. If one works it right, these are also the exact strategies and tools that help artists like Warren catapult their careers outside of Kansas City. Geographic coordinates just don’t have the same border-like meaning they once did.

We are doing like 4 or 5 things at once, Warren style, while laughing: we’re reviewing her growing resume which wants for some editorial revision, discussing dates, looking at recent work, thinking out loud about framing and installation details, and projecting ideas about the opening reception. We’re also talking about the photographs and about the ever-evolving performance troupe Whoop Dee Doo, as we’ve been doing for years. It’s still tricky to figure out exactly where the dividing line is or if there really is one at all.

Warren is provocateur of sorts in both arenas of production, whether she’s egging others on, as she does in the photograph Untitled (Tete is Scared) or hamming it up for the camera, like she does in Untitled (Self Portrait, Dinosaur Mouth). Her larger-scale forays into organizing for art sake, for entertainment sake began years ago with Review magazine parties, continued with the hard-to-describe Your Face collaborations with fellow artist Seth Johnson, and gained momentum with herself cast into a fictionalized, frenzied groupie scene which played out among the audience of a Chicago performance by SSION, an art band with a cult following led by artist friend Cody Critcheloe. This is where and when Warren discovered Chic-A-Go-Go, a public access kids television show, that inspired Warren’s fun-loving, weirdo world of Whoop Dee Doo.

And that collective aesthetic I mentioned earlier might just be that go all out, paint your face, crafty camper, anything goes style you see in many of Warren’s photographs, at a Whoop Dee Doo show, in a SSION music video, through the window of Peggy Noland’s design shop on 18th Street, or in Ari Fish’s runway ensemble on episode one of this year’s Project Runway competition. The red carpet that the young cognoscenti are walking here is Kansas City Style. So, maybe Project Runway’s Nina Garcia and her cohorts just don’t get it…yet.

Wednesday 1:00 p.m.

I’m not exactly sure what I had in mind, but this isn’t what I expected for a couple of reasons. Andrzej Zielinski’s studio is not centrally located. I needed a map, detailed directions, and patience. Zielinski’s studio needs are simple and it’s a good thing because he’ll be maintaining two of them for the coming year. The one in Kansas City and another in Brooklyn, New York where he will paint, prepare for a one-person exhibition in New York, and have studio visits with as many people as he can get through the door.

Since before 2004, when he graduated from Yale University with an M.F.A. degree, Zielinski has created still-life paintings of singular, fairly non-aesthetic objects. The more or less to scale depictions of the machines we touch on a daily basis – laptop computers, ATM machines, paper shredders – set up a direct relationship with the viewer. Each machine had its own unique and quirky personality suggested by what some writers have referred to as the language of caricature. 

Clearly, Zielinski is interested in the human relationship to machines associated with communication exchange and the wide-open possibilities of the computer-generated digital age. And he has a solid footing with his confidant, playful and energetic painterly investigations into abstraction and realism, even if it’s an implausible kind of realism. When Zielinski talks about his artistic interest in machines, he describes his early abstract paintings based on binary code, says something I don’t quite catch about information theory, and then he says he found the paintings boring, they needed justification. He’s certainly come a long way since then.

Zielinski’s new paintings are a shift times three. The palette has shifted, once again, this one combining the earlier bright confetti hues with the somber shades of gray and black. The scale has really shifted. Now, the paintings are comprised of multiple panels fitted together and instead of the viewer looking straight on at the painting, they look up into them. And, here’s where the next shift gets interesting. The machines he is painting now are no longer human scale, known through touch and familiar by use. They are the enormous but invisible and imminently pervasive satellites that, on a daily basis, predict our weather, track and guide our location, connect our calls, transmit our broadcasts, and a few other things we probably don’t want to know about.

The only way to see a satellite is to look up and through an ocular lens. As Zielinski points out, looking to the heavens is an ancient human endeavor. While these satellites may represent the pinnacle of contemporary technology and serve as conduits of information, they also slide nicely into a tradition of artists grappling with the looming and/or seemingly benign presence of machines, industries, and possibilities ushered in through human discovery and progress.

As Zielinski has been occupied with painting these satellites, he’s also been thinking about them and absorbing their facts and anecdotes: how much they cost, who pays for them, who owns them, how they’re used, how they’re fueled, how they function, the outcomes when they don’t function, what happens to them when they’re no longer useful. The answers are all very interesting. He has me really thinking about them.

Events

November 13 Fri
January 28 Thu
February 4 Thu

Press

Press Release

“The 2009 Charlotte Street Foundation Visual Artist Awards” to open Nov. 14 at H&R Block Artspace
KCAI website |
Wed, 2009-11-04

They are more confident than a previous decade’s generation ever was about the viability of launching and sustaining a credible art career in Kansas City.