Concrete Utopia

Featuring: Rachelle Bussières and Courtney Sennish
Show runs: August 3 – September 22, 2018
Artist reception: August 3, 5-8pm

Press Release

Fragments of urban life and daydreams unite the works of Rachelle Bussières and Courtney Sennish in Concrete Utopia on view at Johansson Projects. The works lure you in through their use of color and material; comparing the softness of a sky palette to the texture of concrete. Both artists, sculpting their mediums, record different processes of perceiving, experiencing and relating to the physical world.

For Bussières, the lumen print process allows her to layer colored light exposures of cut shapes to build a glowing geometric presence. She considers the light of specific geographical locations when creating. In the darkroom, in the studio and outside, her shapes are manipulated, overlapped or aligned, to create records of sculpted moments. The dusty pinks and lavenders regress next to glowing yellow shapes, akin to lunar moments viewed through architecture.  The photograms radiate next to Sennish’s concrete sculptures which stand as silent urban monuments. Her sculptures are made of familiar textures and materials that become symbols of our constructed landscape. She stacks, puzzles and combines moments recorded during her city walks. In her work, our relationship to nature within the built environment is recorded as a single tree shadow.

Bussières Artist Statement

Approaching the darkroom as a sculptor – cutting, layering and manipulating photographic materials – I create architectural forms that are rooted to site-specific locations by recording the light of those locations. I have a developed a sky palette by using the lumen print process through layers of natural and artificial light, of those specific locations, to create hues and gradations of colors as photograms on gelatin silver paper. Each piece is about the variations of the elements in a specific space and time. While the simple forms embody a spatial geography, they are also a  manifestation of a utopian architecture, in which light is the only material used to compose these constructions. Through this, forms, movements, chemistry are revealed through it.
The vision of the future is held in the materialization of the spectrum that surrounds us every day, and in our desire to encompass it – or surpass it.

Bussières Artist Biography

Rachelle Bussières (b.1986) received her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. She is the recipient of the 2015 Graduate Fellowship Award from the Headlands Center for the Arts, California; and the Award for Excellence from the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation in 2008 and 2009. In 2015, she received an Honorable Mention for the Snider Prize from the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago. In 2016, she had a solo exhibition at Robert Koch Gallery that was reviewed by Art Forum as a critics’ pick. Her work has been included in many group shows in San Francisco, Paris, New York, London, Bodo and Vienna. In 2017, she was an artist-in-residence at the Banff Centre and at the Vermont Studio Center where she was awarded grants for both residencies. She is currently a Charter Resident at Minnesota Street Project in San Francisco.

Sennish Artist Statement

I amble through the city of San Francisco in search of illuminations: silent monuments bearing subtleties that transform my being in place. My process is an accumulation of labor, historical research, and intuition resulting in a phenomenological and physical conversion. Contemporary generations have grown accustomed to a lifestyle devoid of wilderness, accepting a contained form of nature. How does living in such a heavily fabricated and dictated environment change our biology? I question how the physical structures guide my everyday practice.

My artwork examines the urban landscape through isolating specific moments and features found through my pilgrimage. I grant a spatial story to these accumulations through research into the history of the landscape’s geography as well as intuitive experiential qualities. These works collage the flat and vast worlds that exist simultaneously within and before us. The diverse mediums represent different processes of perceiving, experiencing and relating to the world around us.