And On TOBY, the project wall:
Emily Gui: A Big Enough Vessel (Blue Shrine)
Nov. 9th - 23rd.
Blue is the color of myths and folktales. It spreads across our skies and oceans, it symbolizes the celestial, the spiritual and the otherworldly, and it crystallizes both our most ethereal sensations of beauty and our most tragic miseries. It is a property that embodies both light and weight, one that can either lift us up to the heights of the divine, or plunge us into the depths of misery.
Blue is also a color that has a long tradition in art. Beyond its origins as a supremely rare color that was very expensive and difficult to obtain and thus mostly limited to royalty and the wealthy, blue has more recently appeared in the works of Yves Klein, Joseph Cornell, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Spencer Finch, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol and many others as a symbol of value, private feelings, the heavens, death, desire and the mysterious Other that is separate from ourselves. Steeped thus in mythology and associative meaning, blue has certain similarities with the Romantic figure of the artist—an archetype that, mystical and misleading though it may be, finds as much purchase in today’s hypersensitive, heavily monetized and glamorized culture of art as it did in the 18th century when Goethe penned his novel about the young artist Werther in his blue coat.
In the present installation, artist Emily Gui mines these cults of blue and the mystical artist to find something new, something she can make her own and something that still rings as personal and authentic in the midst of so many historic and contemporary visual references. Blue represents both Gui’s struggles with the light and weight of the artistic discipline, and the fruit of her investigations as she claims these histories and reinvents them for herself. In A Big Enough Vessel (Blue Shrine), blue is more than a material: it is the artist’s subject, explored through a mix of ceramics and cyanotypes that straddle the divide between functional and ornamental. As Gui states, “What does it take for you to dedicate yourself to a concept, or color, or action, as an artist? Where do you draw the line in the sand that says, ‘Here is where a choice is made,’ or, rather, ‘Here is where I am and over there is something entirely different and good, and that thing is me?’”
Emily Gui lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She holds a BFA from Bard College and has exhibited throughout Brooklyn as well as at 30 Main in Peterborough, New Hampshire and at BCB Gallery in Hudson, New York. Most recently, Gui’s work has been shown at the International Print Center in New York City, and in 2013 she completed a public installation called Moon Phases for ArtBridge in Kingston, New York. Gui was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts.
Curated by Candace Jeanne Moeller