Ann Weber, Topsy, Turvey and Miss Priss, 2009, found cardboard, staples, polyurethane, size variable, Courtesy of the Artist and Donna Seager Gallery, San Raphael
Ann Weber, Topsy, Turvey and Miss Priss, 2009, found cardboard, staples, polyurethane, size variable, Courtesy of the Artist and Donna Seager Gallery, San Raphael
Afterlife Resurrects Contemporary Castaways Group Exhibition at the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art Presents
Discarded Materials Transformed Into Works of Art.


October 2009, SAN JOSE, CA  – On the heels of its recent show, NextNew:Green that

featured the works of emerging Bay Area artists exploring issues related to conservation,

the environment and global warming; the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA)

presents Afterlife, a group exhibition of works created to breathe new life into

re-purposed materials and objects.   Guest curated by Kathryn Funk, Afterlife will be

on view in the ICA’s Main Gallery and Cardinale Project Room from November 7, 2009

through January 23, 2010.  The show includes sculpture, video, and multi-media work

from artists Claudia Borgna, Mark Fox-Morgan, Elisabeth Higgins O’Connor, Lisa Kokin,

Charlotte Kruk, Robert Larson, Scott Oliver, Beverly Rayner, and Ann Weber.   A public

reception will be held at the ICA on Friday, November 6,2009 from 6pm to 8pm. An Artist

Talk moderated by Kathryn Funk will take place at the ICA on Thursday, November 12th

from 7pm to 9pm.
Lisa Kokin
The artists represented in Afterlife take advantage of

cast-offs from our contemporary lives.   With a conscious

eye to the materiality of the chosen discards, items from

street, junkyards and second-hand stores are transformed

into fresh, inspired creations  that give rise to thoughtful consideration and

interpretation.  “Even before the green  recycling revolution took hold, artists were

reusing and re-purposing found materials,” says Afterlife curator Kathryn Funk.  “When

an object has been discharged from its original purpose it still carries some association

with its past.  When that association is altered it takes on new meaning,” explains Funk.

Exploring new meanings and new lives of discarded and re-used materials is the central

focus of the artists’ works on view in Afterlife.

London-based artist Claudia Borgna has been collecting and using plastic bags as an

inspired muse in her art for several years, carefully gathering and using them after each

installation or performance in a different configuration.  Borgna’s work will be on view in

Afterlife and Night Moves – after dark video art programming presented in the ICA’s front


Mark Fox-Morgan uses paper – a tree by-product- cast as beams for his massive

house-like structure.  The beguiling skeleton appears remarkably strong despite its

extremely fragile nature, thus calling into question the nature and exploitation of its

source.  Elisabeth Higgins O’Connor and Lisa Kokin find inspiration in materials scavenged

from flea markets and thrift stores.  Higgins O’Connor uses discarded fabrics of all sorts

and stitches together life-sized anthropomorphic stuffed animal creatures.  Kokin uses

books and the book format; dissecting, reassembling and pulping them to express new

ideas and her own personal, political and cultural views.  Charlotte Kruk salvages and

sews product wrappers side by side to create new textiles in the form of wearable art.

Robert Larson gathers and dissects tossed cigarette packages and match books to make

visually stunning constructed paintings of rich color patterns, hues and textures, with

the dissected paper material.

Beverly Rayner Conceptual artist Scott Oliver alters everyday objects, carefully crafting them into a

unique state that undermines their original function

but never erases the original object’s identity.

Beverly Rayner manipulates all kinds of discarded

items and constructs new roles for them in her art

as she explores the subject of surveillance.  Ann

Weber transforms cardboard boxes pulled from

dumpsters into elegant, playful biomorphic forms.

Also opening on November 7th  in the ICA’s

Focus Gallery and running through

February 20, 2010 is Manifold, a solo exhibition of

two installations of works by San Francisco-based

postminimalist artist Theodora Varnay Jones.

T VJones

The installations are comprised of drawings, constructed works, sculptures, and

re-conceptualized ready-made pieces that represent the artist’s exploration and

interpretation of form, space and repetition.   A Talking Art conversation with Varnay

Jones will be held on Thursday, January 14th from 7pm to 9pm at the ICA.

Image Captions:

Lisa Kokin, The Book of Martyrs, 2008, pulped book, 7x16x16 inches, Courtesy of the Artist

Beverly Rayner, Memory Encapsulation Network #3, 2007, photographs, rubber bulbs, rubberized rope,lenses, latex tubing and metal, 86.5 x 24.5 x 11.5 inches, Courtesy of the Artist and Braunstein/Quay Gallery, SF

Theodora Varnay Jones, Transparency #32, 2007, paper, graphite, pigments, acrylic polymer, wood structure 32 X 43 X 2 ¾ inches, Courtesy of the Artist and Don Soker Contemporary Art, SF

Afterlife is supported in part by a generous grant from Applied Materials.  Manifold is supported in part by a grant from the James Irvine Foundation.  The San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art gratefully acknowledges support from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Adobe Systems Incorporated, and members of the ICA. The ICA is supported in part by a Cultural Affairs grant from the City of San Jose and by a grant from Arts Council Silicon Valley, in partnership with the County of Santa Clara and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) is an energetic art space located in downtown San Jose dedicated to making contemporary art accessible and exciting to audiences of all ages and backgrounds. Exhibitions are presented in three galleries that display the most current, relevant and often challenging art from the region, the nation and the world. The ICA is activated by opening receptions, South First Friday gallery walks, after-dark programming in the front windows, panel discussions, printmaking workshops, brown bag lunches and impromptu conversations in the galleries.  The ICA is a member-supported, non-profit organization. Admission to the gallery is free.

Monica Turner
Contributor to Stark Insider for tech, the arts and All Things West Coast for over 10 years.