Friday, February 29, 2008

Non-engagement vs. engagement

The response via e-mail concerning my last post has been wonderful. I'd like to find out more concerning people's views on how 1708 can best interact with local media and the local Richmond community. At what points specifically between total non-engagement and total engagement should we expend our energies?Is relegating our responses to internal e-mails and this blog closer to the former or the latter? Aren't we supposed to be challenging people and expanding their thoughts concerning contemporary art?Is this blog the best means to do so? If there are no responses to this post, my guess is no.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Response to Style Weekly Review of Jillian Mcdonald's recent show.

In response to

Be careful when you fight the monsters, lest you become one.

Friedrich Nietzsche
German philosopher (1844 - 1900)

I send my personal apology for 1708's sidestepping art of the heavy, “deep” and moribund variety. Doing so, in Jillian McDonald’s show this February, has clearly unsettled Becky Shields’ tastes. She writes, “If I see one more hipster kid….I’ll scream.” Her nerves may be worn thin by irony, but while reading her review, I found it drenched with the thing that she claims to decry. As it stands, her review could have stopped after the first sentence. “If you’re into irony, you’ll love “Fanatic,” New York artist Jillian Mcdonald’s solo extravaganza of postmodern video, multimedia installations and photography at 1708 Gallery.”
Ms. Shields writes in reference to the media in the show, “One might expect an explanation of performance and video art itself, but the multimedia presentation seems almost incidental.” I’m not sure if she is reaching for some kind of Modernist self-referencing in this statement or if she is concluding that Richmonders are so clueless, that like mythic lost tribes, they can’t make out what’s in front of them when confronted with electronic technology.
Shields goes on to extol the merits of “using performance and video art to their full, shocking potential”. I’d like to extend an invitation to Ms. Shields to enlighten us by helping to curate a show of wonderfully shocking performances and video. All irony aside, I’m all for it. 1708 might be the perfect place to start such a radical aesthetic revolt. Let's have some fun, as long as the hipster kids are also invited. -Justin Lincoln

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

FANATIC by Jillian McDonald review

Our current exhibition featuring the work of Jillian McDonald has recently been reviewed by Urge Magazine! The review is available online.

If you have not yet seen the exhibit please do so! It will run through Saturday, March 1, 2008.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Patrick John Costello: Undergraduate Forum Nominee

"I am interested in sustainability as a difficult and necessary goal: idealistic, yet attainable. I am intrigued by the complexity of a lifestyle that considers its impact on the future of the environment and the people in it. As an expanding movement, sustainable living stresses interconnectivity and cause-and-effect awareness, but it still maintains destructive societal norms such as consumerism. Because sustainability is a relatively new mainstream concept, the movement towards the idea is fraught with many issues and complications."

"With this as a starting point, I want to construct a body of work that comforts, provokes, and celebrates whimsy. My thesis project has developed into a laterally expanding and constantly readjusting way of moving through and responding to my environment. Making has become my central tool for exploration. I believe that making is a radical act; it provides a thoughtful way of sifting through and playing in the world around us. Furthermore, I think that gallery and display spaces should take an active role in fostering this attitude. It is important that the processes of making, connecting, and questioning continue after the initial installation of an art show. Galleries can function as community centers -- places of constructive dialog and skill sharing."

"I look to process-based works and drawing to suggest conceptual themes in visual and tactile ways. This approach spurs my interest in edifice and materiality—I want to make the constructedness of my work apparent and relatable. It is important for me to build layers, to assemble pieces into a whole in much the same way that individuals come together in a community. Craft, feminism, radical politics, independent music and “do it yourself” ethics are some of the diverse elements that inform my aesthetic choices and methods. I delight in repetitive patterns, 1960's and 70's textile designs, and flat fields of color. In addition, I draw inspiration from children’s narratives and illustrators like Maurice Sendak, allowing me to work within imagined worlds. In these places, I can communicate my real-world ideals and questions with the subtlety and the open-endedness of imagination."

Patrick John Costello is earning his BFA at University of Virginia and works in a variety of mediums, including printmaking, fibers and sculpture.

Katie Laub: Undergraduate Forum Nominee

"I discovered an amazing, wonderful creature living inside of me, or rather it discovered me...or I discovered myself.  It all happened through a series of exchanged elements and excited interactions in side my head.  How indescribable is the wonder of these microscopic monsters living inside my head, allowing my brain to function, my thoughts to wander,  A neuron.  I know little of their existence.  But, I know there are millions up there all working together and I know that just a single neuron in itself is such an amazing complex structure and without them I would not be able to think, do, live..."

Above: "Synapse" glass, 2007

The true essence of God, or if there is no god, the truth of this life, this existence is not conceivable to the human mind.  Ho human can know the truth, one can have faith, but no once can have ultimate truth.  What if there was a way to know, to answer the unanswerable question of life?  What if the answer was as close (or as far away) as the end of a simple number? A number with no consecutive pattern, no feasible ending.  An infinite number, Pi.  If one was to fid this ending, could it hold the answer?  One can only wonder. 

Above: An Endless Number, glass, 2007

Katie Laub is an undergraduate artist in VCU Arts Department of Craft and Material Studies.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Hank West: Undergraduate Forum nominee

Hank West - Undergraduate class of 2010

“Making Waves”- W. Hank West 2006
Three images of my muddling with water
These three images (on display in the Capital One Exhibition) are based in the idea of exerting control in a virtual space. Through digital image manipulation, I place micro-worlds in my hands and insert my influence over them. While they are a little on the megalomaniacal side, I enjoyed working with these ideas and images.

Pneumatiphonic Drum Piano” - W. Hank West, 2007.
This project exists somewhere between video documentation, sculpture and music. Constructed from materials predominately acquired from hardware stores, this percussion instrument is fueled by pressurized air and handmade pistons striking small drums and other assorted items. By nature of its name and construction, “Pneumatiphonic Drum Piano” is an exercise in overt complexity to facilitate simple input and output.
My desire to explore sound through an instrument constructed from common hardware materials stems from my experience with pneumatics while working on a robotics team in high school and my combined training with electronic keyboard and percussion. This project would not be possible without the support and influence of my parents, professor Jermey Drummond, professor Mark Rhodes, Phil Hayes, my high school physics teacher Timothy Couillard and all my past music teachers.

Pneumatiphonic Piano Drum

Lucy Marion: Undergraduate Forum nominee

Lucy Marion
Artist Statement

"I find adaptation through mutation necessary and beautiful. I apply mutations to my work and exaggerate certain features to the point of uselessness and absurdity. The object changes from something familiar to a more responsive and strengthened form. My newer work contains the familiar aspects of a house, the shingles and bricks and wooden planks, but they are no longer useful as a dwelling."

Lucy Marion is an undergraduate artist from Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts.
She is from the Department of Craft and Material Studies, and was nominated by her department chair Sonya Clark to be part of this year's 1708 Gallery Invitational Forum.

1708 Gallery Invitational Undergraduate Artist Forum!

On Saturday night, 2/9/08, 1708 Education and Outreach held the Forum, this time for invited undergraduate art students from University of Richmond, University of Virginia and Virginia Commonwealth University. Rafiya Naim, Hank West, Patrick John Costello, Kathleen Crabill, Katie Laub, Erik Gonzalez, Katherine DeGaetani and Lucy Marion gave presentations of their work and also have their work in a show at Capital One.

Ashley Kistler from Richmond's Visual Art Center was our guest critic and moderator for this Forum and was just fantastic, giving the students valuable feedback about their work and about their presentations. Thank you so much, Ashley!

I will be posting images of the nominated student's artworks and their artist statements beginning today, keep an eye out for some truly inspired and inspiring posts.

Sunday, February 03, 2008


by Jillian McDonald

Feb 1st, 2008 - March 1st, 2008


Step into the world of a true Fanatic this February with Jillian McDonald's video, prints, installation, and live interactive performance. Jillian is fixated on the human obsession with horror film genres, the female role in cinema, and celebrities - turning intimate and horrifying moments into satirical drama. This exhibition will highlight the artist's work from the past five years, which Jillian suggests is best described as "culture-jamming."


The opening for FANATIC was incredible ... so many new faces and especially so many viewers engaged in the work ...

See Jillian's blog for more info and images of the exhibition ...

New and regular gallery supporters from all over were there ...

Diana Cavanaugh (right) with Worn Gallery assisted by her husband Derek Cavanaugh and friend Cara Frye

Harry Kollatz sporting a Billy Bob beard!

... And needless to say the TATTOO performance by Jillian was a huge hit!!!

Jillian gave tattoos for 2 1/2 hours ... wow, one-on-one consultations from the artist ... and free body art to-go ... And the artist never stops smiling!!!

Jillian's assistant & photographer - 1708's own most valuable player - Garth Fry ... Wow, what a great shirt Garth!!!

Don Crow consults with Jillian on tattoo placement ...

Racine Russell (Wearable Art 9 & Wearable Art X) is loving her very own Billy Bob ....

Jillian and Amie Oliver both agree - a beautiful display of celebrity fanaticism ...

Ahhh ... now its Don's turn ...

... All those years of making art and hanging sheetrock really paid off!!!

Jillian agrees ... art is good for you!!!

What a great time we all had ... and it was all about
the love and the art.

Jillian is the best artist to work with ever!!!

See more blurbs at Rhizome at the New Museum of Contemporary Art


And if you wish you were there you can order a free do-it-yourself tattoo ...

And see all of Jillian's Billy Bob obsessions at

And see her deliberate use of jealousy in - Screen Kiss - at

And other info at

And see it all in person at:


319 W. Broad Street
Richmond, Virginia
February 1st - March 1st, 2008

Thanks Jillian!!!!!!