A Lot of Things
All at Once
Westobou Gallery is back in action with a new exhibition featuring the works of three Augusta-based artists. Jennifer Onofrio Fornes, Brian McGrath and Raoul Pacheco come together to show a variety of mediums with themes of mortality, family preservation and self-reflection.
Join us for a closing reception on August 7 from 5-8 PM (pending CDC guidelines and regulations).
Jennifer Onofrio Fornes
Jennifer Onofrio Fornes was born in Bethesda, Maryland in 1966. She earned her B.F.A. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in sculpture and painting in 1989 and an M.F.A. from the University of California, Davis in sculpture, photography, and drawing in 1991. She has exhibited her work throughout the United States and her work is housed in many public and private collections. Exhibition venues have included The Arts Center in St Petersburg Florida, Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art and The Belger Art Center in Kansas City, MO, Snyderman Gallery and Gravers Lane Gallery in Philadelphia, PA, Thomas Barry Gallery in Minneapolis, MN, and Exhibitions in Chicago, IL, and New York City, NY.
Artist Statement: Issues of mortality have been at the core of my studio practice for years. Growing up surrounded by a home library of Mayo Clinic medical books spurred my curiosity concerning physical maladies. Recently, my interest has shifted towards acknowledging the mortal self while simultaneously exploring forms that speak to what remains after the physical is no longer present.
The current sculptural work investigates mortality by reflecting on the cultural use of spiritual memorial structures such as stupas, temples, and funerary urns. These forms are often used as a means to honor, remember, and hold vestiges of the physical self while acknowledging the essential importance of such constructs as a means to understanding what it is to be human and mortal.
In terms of form, I work to create balance, movement, and symmetry through the hundreds of imperfectly hand-cut stacked, hollowed out, wood circles. By striking a balance between the characteristics of the material and the will of the hand, I look for the divine sparks embedded and hidden in our material world and for what remains after the physical disappears. Many of my works function as relics of human fragility. To this end, these forms suggest both a sense of presence and absence.
Brian McGrath is an Interdisciplinary Artist residing in Augusta, GA. He received his BFA from Augusta University in 2010, concentrating in Photography & Printmaking. After graduating, Brian began to explore new projects that involved site-specific sculptures and community involvement.
Brian opened Sweet Sticks Skateboard Gallery in 2015, stationed in Downtown Augusta, GA. The skate shop’s purpose was to provide a positive home for sub-culture residents, artists, creators, and anyone curious to skateboarding. As a business owner, Brian served on the commission sanctioned Downtown Advisory Panel to aid in updating ordinances, and to help demonstrate positive collaborative efforts from the skateboarding community.
A relationship with Sweet Sticks and the Westobou Organization was formed, allowing skateboarding events to be curated, with local artist’s involvement creating “Skate-able Sculptures.”
More recently, Brian has been exploring themes of nostalgia, rituals, and protection by connecting traditional ceramic, printmaking, and woodworking techniques with present-day conditions. Raised closely with his Korean Grandmother, Brian has been contextualizing his unique upbringing, aiming to honor and preserve his family’s history. By creating functional tableware, furniture, and daily-use items, Brian’s work encourages physical interaction and observance.
Raoul Pacheco was born in Wiesbaden, Germany. He moved frequently and spent his youth bouncing back and forth between the major European cities Amsterdam, Stuttgart, and Brussels and the small southern towns Homestead, FL, Warner Robins, GA. Myrtle Beach SC. Raoul ventured west in 2006 and earned his Master of Fine Arts Degree in ceramics from the California College of Arts in San Francisco / Oakland, California. His work has been exhibited throughout the U.S. and is currently housed in private collections internationally.
Raoul currently serves as Assistant Chair for the Department of Art and Design at Augusta University in Augusta, Georgia. He enjoys summers at the Visuals Arts at Chautauqua program located at the Chautauqua Institute in New York fulfilling his duties as Ceramics Specialist. Raoul lives in North Augusta, South Carolina with his wife Lydia, son Izaak and their four pets.
Artist Statement: Consumption as faith creeps into my conceptual landscape and the framework for the Spectacular Shine project. Though coded and negated, the work explores notions of surveillance and speculates that capitalism functions as a secular religion that intersects / determines a personal narrative while questioning spirituality in the time of excess and material gluttony. The work is a deep dive into self-reflection and consumption as citizenship. The project manifests as gilded receipts. My receipts function as a self-mapping mechanism - an abstracted portrait, the residue of my presence. Existence is power becomes an unrefined mantra and unrefinement becomes an accepted aesthetic strategy. Gold is associated with great sanctity and symbolic of divinity as well as the extremities of utmost evil and corruption. The gilding process embodies reflective aspirations and borrows from the tradition of luster surfaces as divine space, relics of holiness and tools for one to envision oneself within the divine due to the reflective material nature of historic reliquaries, spaces and their surfaces. A simple gesture intending to elevate personal detritus into the realm of illuminated manuscripts and tapestries. Spectacular Shine is a meditative open ended ritual grounded in material transcendence...Or at least a somewhat questionable interpretation of this idea on my part.