Lynn Aldrich and Sabina Ott
March 23 to June 4, 2017
Surrender your imagination to the surreal beauty of a box of aluminum foil, a ball of Styrofoam, a toilet plunger and other household stuff at Material Girls, an exhibition that features the work of artists Lynn Aldrich of Los Angeles and Sabina Ott of Chicago. Guaranteed to surprise, Material Girls unfurls a selection of stand-alone pieces, as well as sprawling installations by these two nationally renowned artists.
Bedford Curator Carrie Lederer has watched these artists for years and is delighted to have them transform the Bedford. But it’s not all fun and games. A selection of Ott’s work is influenced by Dante’s Divine Comedy and uses a grid pattern that implies contrasts between infinite space, confinement and support in many of her pieces—the ambiguity is intended to be somewhat menacing. And Aldrich sees her work existing between gratitude for the extravagance of the cosmos, and despair over the losses we experience with rampant materialism.
“I’m drawn to the work of Sabina Ott and Lynn Aldrich because of their uncanny capacity to combine and transform banal materials—fabric, wire, rope, Styrofoam—into unique artworks that are startling and unexpected,” Lederer says. “The sculptures are steeped in personal concerns about social and global politics, yet also have an audacious and playful sense of humor, so the work is coupled with comic relief. These two artists enthusiastically embrace the idea that their eccentric yet beautiful work will at once delight, overwhelm and astonish us.”
Ott’s work in Material Girls is drawn from her series titled here and there pink melon joy, as well as newer work. Ott references Gertrude Stein’s work in all of her artworks’ titles.
“The titles are not descriptive and are not meant to explain the works, but to sit alongside of them in all their poetic glory,” Ott says. “Because the text does sit alongside the artwork, associative meaning and a conversation begins to happen between the title and the piece.”
For Aldrich, each artwork is a construction challenge to arrange totally unglamorous consumer products in a simple and elegant way. She assembled Starting Over: Neo-Atlantis (2008) from sponges, scrubbers, scouring pads, mop heads, brushes, and other items and it is her largest “coral reef” sculpture to date. The work started with a shopping trip for cleaning implements.
“I started noticing how organic and aquatic these brushes and scrubbers looked and with just a slight twist or fold or just bunching them together, I began to see sea anemones, sea cucumbers, barnacles and starfish!” she says.
Lynn Aldrich was born in Bryan, Texas and lives and works in Los Angeles. She holds a BA in English Literature from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; a BA in Fine Art from California State University, Northridge; and an MFA from the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, California. She is represented by Edward Cella Art + Architecture in Los Angeles.
Sabina Ott holds a BFA and MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. She lives and works in Oak Park, Illinois and is represented by Aspect/Ratio Gallery in Chicago. Ott was the recipient of the 2015 Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship and has received many other grants, fellowships, and awards. In 2014 the Chicago Cultural Center exhibited a large solo exhibition of Ott’s work titled here and there pink melon joy.