Animal Animal Mammal Mine_Review by PIFA
SHOW: Animal Animal Mammal Mine
GROUP: Penn Dixie Productions
ATTENDED: Sun., April 14, 8 p.m., Underground Arts
CLOSES: April 20
A devised theater piece that grows out of extensive interviews with women who have inherited the technology of the 60s. It weaves these characters together with dance, projections, and the breathtaking hybrid sculptures of Martha Posner.
WE THINK: Writer-director Anisa George concocts a fascinating adventure, based on conversations with women about reproduction that were expansive enough to explore concerns about climate change and the nature of life itself. As with other works of this style (think Pig Iron Theater Company, New Paradise Laboratories, Applied Mechanics, and anything staged by Mark Lord), we're embraced by a dizzying variety of fascinating images, action, and sounds most of them showing low-tech innovation, like Martha Posner's wearable sculptures from an on-stage glacier and menacing animal activists to the giddy thrills of actresses singing while circling the audience on bicycles and discovering their capacity for flight.
Set designer Amy Rubin uses Underground Arts' basement space well, surrounding us and a deep, sea-blue playing area with eerie bare trees. Often funny while also surprisingly moving, Animal Animal Mammal Mine makes the question of bringing children into an ailing world real and personal, and balances that worry and cynicism with a hopeful message about life's resilience.
Animal Animal Mammal Mine: A Meditation on Fertility, Ecology, and the Fate of Humankind
Animal Animal Mammal Mine
An original dance-theater piece, part of the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts.
Who: Penn Dixie Productions in collaboration with Martha Posner
Previews: April 10th and 11th
Performances: April 12th -14th and 16th -20th
Where: Underground Arts, 1200 Callowhill Street, Philadelphia Pa. 19108
Accola Griefen: MARTHA POSNER Frozen Charlotte and Other Stories
For Immediate Release:
February 23th March 31, 2012
Reception: Thurs., Feb., 23 from 6pm to 8pm
NEW YORK, NY, FEBRUARY 2012 - ACCOLA GRIEFEN GALLERY is pleased to announce the opening of Martha Posner: Frozen Charlotte and Other Stories. The exhibition will open with a reception on Thursday, February 23 from 6 - 8 PM and continue through March 31, 2012.
Martha Posners work is marked by an emotional rawness which is due in part to her evocative and corporeal transformation of materials: beeswax, synthetic hair, pigment, mud, fabric and fibers. (Ann Landi, ArtNews) Her sculpture and drawing combine autobiography, mythology, alchemy, history and fairy tales.
In her earlier work, Posners signature garments are empty vessels filled with associations. In the artists newest sculptural series, Under, the previously omitted figures have taken form. Their life-size child-like bodies are caught in a moment of transformation. The implied movements and added life forms suggest pagan mythology yet leave themselves open to other stories. In addition to the sculptural work, a Victorian doll that was given to girls as a cautionary tale at the turn of the 20th century inspires the drawings in the Frozen Charlotte Series. All the work addresses the questions at the core of Posners practice: What makes an object greater than its materials? Why is the mask of a shaman or the surface of a Greek icon more than feathers, wood and paint? When is the moment of transformation?
Martha Posner has had solo exhibitions in the United States and abroad: Centro Cultural de Cooperacion, Buenos Aries, Argentina; Heidi Cho Gallery, New York City; The Allentown Art Museum, Allentown, PA; The Hunterdon Museum of Art, Clinton, NJ; Albright College Museum, Reading, PA; The Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL and The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland OH, among others. Her work is held by numerous private and public collections including The George Gund Foundation, The Allentown Art Museum, The Butler Museum of Art, Youngstown, OH; and the Great Northern Corporate Center, Cleveland, OH. She has received the Mary H. Dana Award from Rutgers University, The Experimental Printmaking Award from Lafayette College as well as Fellowships from The Ragdale Foundation and The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Posner lives and works on a farm in Martins Creek, Pennsylvania.
Accola Griefen Gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 AM to 6 PM. For more information visit accolagriefen.com, contact Kat Griefen at email@example.com or call 646-532-3488.
Frozen Charlotte and Other Stories
Opening February 23- March 31st 2012
Accola Griefen Gallery
547 West 27th Street #634
New York, New York 10001
The Spirit and The Flesh II
A site specific installation at The Garrison Art Center, Garrison, NY. in the Gillette Gallery, June through Fall 2011.
An Untamed Place
A site specific mixed media installation at the Urban Arts Festival, Lafayette College, Easton PA. From spring - fall 2011.
The Affordable Art Fair
May 5-8, 2011
7W 34th Street (7 West 34th Street)
The Spirit and the Flesh
Solo show at the centro cultural de la cooperacion in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
October 7th 2010 -
"From a distance, Martha Posner's sculptures are sweetly balletic: Evoking blissful action, the creamy, rustic children's gowns seem to float on their own, dancing like little girls do. But step right up, and beautiful quickly turns grotesque. Posner's 'Memory of Flight' comprises a handful of such 'shape-shifters,' made of found objects, wire, feathers, pigment, synthetic hair and beeswax. The result is a texture not unlike the flesh of picked-over roadkill, wounded and sticky. It's a visceral juxtaposition of sweet and wholly unsavory, yet for the artist, transformation is the key. 'When the shape is shifting, it enters a transient state,' says Posner in her artist statement, 'which transcends categorization as either human or beast.' Whether you choose to get close or keep your distance, you won't be able to look away."
-Carolyn Huckabay, City Paper, May 5th, 2010
Article about my work by Bill Lowenburg
"... intrigued by fairy tales and foreign cultures and tells through her work beautiful but dark stories of lost passion and love, while making an attempt to combine beauty with decay. Most of Posner's creations are photographed in desolate, stark landscapes. The transformed, recycled fabrics are still aesthetically pleasing, although not as objects of fashion. They are robust structures and independent objects in the open space. In terms of shape and memory there are still traces of human presence, but a living human being is superfluous for these items to have justification for existence..."
-Georgia Haagsma, Saatchi Online Gallery Critic Choice, June 2009
"...The drama of Posner's gesturing garments is created not only by one's immediate recognition of the disruption of what is inside the body and what is outside it- with its implications of physical or emotional tensions and violence- but also, and more importantly, it is supported by complex narrative associations that alternately move between myth and autobiography, journalism and fairytales. Buttoned shoes, billowing gowns, and corsets are made of waxed surfaces dripped with yellow and red stains and encircled with clouds of thin, unkempt hair. But these sculptures are not just anthropological observations of how social constraints and expectations can be observed in the conventions of women's and children's clothing. At their best, they activate a net of associations by turning each article of clothing with struggles, emotions, desires, and social consciousness of its own plight."
-Tom Csaszar, July/August 2007
"For several years now, Posner has been creating "unwearable garments"- dresses and cloaks fashioned from fabric strips, thorns, fence wire, wild-rose canes, raw fleece, feathers, and other detritus from her world. The garment as a metaphor for an absent human figure is not a new one; Judith Shea and Louise Bourgeois, to name only two, have explored the possibilities of clothing as sculpture. But Posner manages to bring to the theme a spooky and haunting presence, the kind of emotional rawness that characterizes the best of so-called primitive art."
-Ann Landi, Art News, October 2005
"Clothing isn't just to wear, it can be transmuted into sculpture, with all its implications- metaphor, poetry, narrative and form that represents the human body.
Martha Posner doesn't make sculpture from real clothing, she creates forms of wire and stiffened fabric that mimic common garments such as coats and shirts. But while the references in her exhibition at the Allentown Art Museum are familiar, the effects they produce have nothing to do with adornment.
They evoke mystery, myth, even a mild terror- one 'shirt' is studded with wicked looking thorns from a locust tree.
These are fairy-tale sculptures in the best sense. The half-torsos called "bird shirts" allude to a tale called 'The Wild Swans,' in which the brothers of a beutiful princess are changed into swans.
Posner uses materials such as artificial hair, feathers and vines to achieve a primitive look. Yet the pieces communicate fragility and even, in the case of the striking floor-length 'coat,' grace.
The spirit of Posner's work is dark, with vague sexual overtones. These are most prominent in a large canoe form festooned with vines and hair and in a scarlet coverlet nestled in a bower of vines.
Red Bed looks inviting, but one senses that anyone who napped on it might not wake up."
-Edward J. Sozanski, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Friday, September 20, 2002
In Bed With the Wolf
"Posner's work process is a fascinating collaboration of mythologies, organic materials, and her own courageous instincts. Drawn from different cultures and religious traditions, the mythologies merge and create their own story, as in paintings of the powerful and seductive."
-Ruth Knafo Setton, from "In Bed With the Wolf- The Art of Martha Posner," Allentown Art Museum, 2002
The New York Times
"After a decade in which images of clothing have been enlisted as stand-ins for the human body, Ms. Posner's work has a lot of competition, but by drawing nature into the equation, she gives the metaphor an evocative spin."
-Holland Cotter, The New York Times, July 17, 1998
The New York Times
"Clothing as a surrogate for the absent human figure has become something of an artistic cliche over the last 25 years. In the early 1970s, Judith Shea began exploring clothing as sculpture and Robert Kushner began using it as a springboard for painting, to take just two prominent examples of a broader trend. Martha Posner at her best, however, manages to banish familiar images, finding new potential in an old idea"
-Barry Schwabsky, The New York Times, Sunday, May 24, 1998.