ejecta projects


 

Joy Drury Cox & Ben Alper: Hard Places
October 5 - November 10, 2018

The title of this exhibition, Hard Places, is at once a slightly tongue-in-cheek nod to the expression "between a rock and a hard place," but also a more literal affirmation of the solidity of the surfaces photographed during travels to the Pacific Northwest. The husband-and-wife artists, Joy Drury Cox and Ben Alper, acknowledge that in a very overt way, the title describes the challenges of photographing landscapes of great beauty and grandeur within the limitations of a camera’s singular lens.  With a long history of majestic landscape paintings and photographs in mind, the artists also suggest that shifting perspectives and present-day concerns about environmental changes are needed to reframe seemingly sublime wildernesses. The photographs on display in Ejecta Projects simultaneously resist and respond to these pictorial precedents.  While some photographs offer glimpses onto expansive vistas of woods, wildflowers, and the sea, other spaces, such as densely woven tree roots, rough rock faces, and dizzying plains of gravel, appear flattened, constrained, and abstracted.
 
The couple traveled together, but took photographs independently.  Although Alper and Cox retain his/her individual aesthetic, they nonetheless share an overlapping and compatible vision.  Each artist is attentive to both surface details and larger topographies; the sharp focus in almost all of the photographs in this exhibition reveals a similar fascination with the crisp light and atmosphere of the Pacific Northwest, perhaps in contrast to the humid haze often hanging over their hometowns on the East Coast.  And, when Alper and Cox include figures in their compositions, both artists address the longer history of landscapes in art as well as present-day concerns about the impact of tourism and land use. For instance, Alper’s Silhouette, Bandon, Oregon alludes to early nineteenth-century German Romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich’s inclusion of small figures to convey the sublimity of a landscape. In both Alper’s photograph as well as in Cox’s Wanderers near the Falls, Hoh Rain Forest, WA, the artist does not picture what the figure sees.  The figures are not stand-ins for viewer’s own place within the landscape, and they also don’t simply establish a sense of scale.  Instead, Cox and Alper thematize a thwarted desire to capture the embodied entirety of a sublime landscape.
 
S.E.
 
Ben Alper earned a BFA in Photography in 2009 from the Massachusetts College of Art & Design and an MFA in Studio Art in 2014 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His work has been exhibited and published throughout the United States and internationally. Since 2015, he has published 5 artist books, the latest a collaborative project co-authored with his partner Joy Drury Cox. Additionally, Ben is the co-founder and co-facilitator of A New Nothing, an online project space dedicated to hosting visual conversations between artists.  In the almost four years of its existence, the site has aggregated more than 100 discrete exchanges between artists from around the world. He currently lives and works in Durham, NC, where he divides his time between running a digital printing business, generating new work, making collaborative music playlists with friends, buying too many books and spending as much time as possible with his partner Joy and his dog Sophie.
 
Joy Drury Cox is an artist and educator living in Durham, NC. She was born and raised in Atlanta, GA and graduated with a B.A. in English from Emory University. Halfway through college, she discovered a love for photography that ultimately shifted the course of her life. She went on to earn an M.F.A. from the School of Art and Art History at the University of Florida. She has exhibited nationally and internationally since 2003. She is the author of three artist books, and has most recently co-authored a photography book with her partner, Ben Alper. Today she works in a variety of media including drawing, collage, textiles and photography. Joy is currently a Teaching Assistant Professor in the Art Department at UNC Chapel Hill.
 

Anthony Cervino: Long Lost
August 18 - September 22, 2018

Long Lost, the title of this exhibition of sculptures by Anthony Cervino, usually describes a person or thing of value recently found, i.e. a long lost cousin or a long lost masterpiece. The works of art shown in Ejecta Projects similarly suggests memory and rediscovery. Viewers will see Cervino’s carefully placed sculptures in beautifully crafted, glass-fronted, brightly colored wooden boxes. Found and sculpted objects in each case evoke notions and narratives of childhood – adventurous play, maternal comforts, imagined heroism, and prayerful longings.  Although the exhibition might at first seem to imitate the display of artifacts found in linen-lined museum cases, Cervino invites less serious, more personal associations.  The artist offers a wistful celebration of everyday possessions and poetic musings on an enigmatic past.
 

Carley Zarzeka: What I Already Know
May 19 - June 15, 2018

Carley Zarzeka, an alumna of Dickinson College (2015), recently received her MFA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  She returns to Carlisle, Pennsylvania to share What I Already Know.  The title of her solo exhibition at Ejecta Projects playfully responds to her academic accomplishments, the completion of her formal education, but it also suggests an innovative understanding of mass-produced, household objects. Zarzeka takes domestic and familiar objects – a suet feeder, potato masher, an oven rack, egg slicer, for example – and creates funny, strange, and even somewhat figurative sculptures that transcend their initial quotidian materiality.  In the vein of artists Robert Gober (American, b. 1954) and Louise Bourgeois (French-American, 1911-2010), the works subtly evoke themes of sexuality; the hints of biological form and a sense that these seemingly neutered objects have a gendered identity.  But, with other contemporary sculptors in mind – Jessica Stockholder (American, b. 1959), for example – Zarzeka’s juxtapositions of forms evoke strange narratives about home, labor, consumerism, and comfort. 
 

VALEDICTION
March 24 - May 4, 2018 

Say Hello, Wave Goodbye.....

The fear of starting something new – especially when entrenched in a routine that conforms to institutional norms and knowns – is a terrifying prospect.  The biggest concern is not one of failure (which should be understood as subjective and perhaps inevitable), but of ending (which has a more funereal cast).  Saying goodbye is very different than defeat, although they are not mutually exclusive.  Given the general failure rate of small galleries, "waving goodbye" seems like a much less pretentious and a more portentous way to kick off Ejecta Projects’ first season of exhibitions. Anticipating the gallery’s fate, this exhibition might be seen as an apotropaic event, a means to acknowledge possible futility and to ward off eventual finality.
 
The works in Valediction are diverse in their media – painting, sculpture, collages, and digital prints – but share a sense of concerted loss, fragmentation, and displacement.  These fraught feelings were at the center of Ejecta, our exhibition and book of 2015 and the notional progenitor of this gallery. The engaged sincerity, wit, and profound art-historical awareness of each of the artists shown here – Lisa Blas, Nora Sturges, Joe Meiser, and elin o’Hara slavick – resonates with the considerations of mortality, morality, and artistic lineages in this earlier exhibition.  The inclusion of Anthony Cervino’s single sculpture Archimorph (Duplex), is intended to serve as a trace of Ejecta.  Although we bid it farewell in 2015, its return now signals the hellos and goodbyes of the artists and objects in Valediction.  Some of the works in this exhibition are newly made, but the artists are not new to us.  As we greet and part with friends and strangers, the art is made, displayed, and packed away, with hopes of being seen again.  Taken as an integrated installation, Valediction is not to be understood simply as a scion of Ejecta, but as its own salutatory and valedictory gesture.