Unsuspected Possibilities: Leonardo Drew, Sarah Oppenheimer, and Marie Watt
In the summer of 2015, SITE Santa Fe will present the exhibition Unsuspected Possibilities, a collaboration between artists Leonardo Drew (b. 1961), Sarah Oppenheimer (b. 1972) and Marie Watt (b. 1967), and organized by SITE’s Curator Janet Dees. The three artists will create new installations that are not only specific to SITE’s space but also responsive to each other. The conception of each artist’s work is in direct response to the others’ during the planning stages of the project, and the resulting exhibition is a lively thoughtful interplay unfolding in the galleries in real time. Unsuspected Possibilities will feature architectural interventions into SITE’s space by Oppenheimer, as her work will partly serve as the connective tissues between all of the artists’ installations.
This project represents a new collaboration for these artists and provides an opportunity for them to push the boundaries of their practices by working together to create an exhibition that is conceived from the start as a phenomenological unit. They are engaging in an experimental situation which challenges curatorial conventions, but is also in keeping with SITE’s tradition of producing new commissions and exploring new directions in exhibition design and curatorial practice.
In their respective practices these artists employ evocative and culturally resonate materials and site-ings to create works that are both conceptual and visceral. Oppenheimer’s primary material is the exhibition space itself. Through a series of architectural interventions that she calls “holes,” Oppenheimer seeks to serialize the different types of interventions that can be made in any given space. Her “holes” traverse the physical boundaries of the exhibition environment, breaking through walls, floors and other boundaries revealing the proximity of objects and experiences that seem to lie at a distance from one another. Drew is known for evocative abstract sculptures assembled from diverse material including cotton, burned canvas, wood, and found objects, often detritus from the urban environment Marie Watt creates two and three dimensional works in a variety of materials from cornhusks, to reclaimed blankets, and felt, invoking a multiplicity of artistic references and influences ranging from the Bauhaus and Joseph Beuys to Pendleton blankets, and their attendant cultural, historical and social associations. Her process is often collaborative, engaging a network of local participants.
The exhibition is made possible by a generous grant from the New York-based Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. This grant is part of the foundation’s Artistic Innovation and Collaboration Grants initiative, a program that advances the values promoted by the artist and activist Robert Rauschenberg during his lifetime and career.