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
My practice focuses on our experience with light and how it interacts with the world. I am interested in the way it impacts modern human consciousness and defines our existence. Using the formal properties of photography, light, paper and chemistry, I create photograms by using the lumen print process through layers of artificial and natural light from a specific location. The different colors and hues are the result of the combinations of these lights while also embodying the time and location where and when the printing process took place. Thus, each piece is about the variations of the elements of the specific space and time.
Through observation, research and experimentation, the photograms serve as studies on the relationship between the absorption of light, the geographical component and the optical experience. I cut, manipulate and layer shapes to compose architectural forms that are rooted to the place where the print is produced. Without a photographic image to represent a place, the simple forms embody a spatial geography and materialize the spectrum that surrounds us every day.
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.
Rachelle Bussières (b.1986, Quebec City, Canada) received her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2015. 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. Her work has recently been exhibited at the General French Consulate (San Francisco, CA), the Center for Fine Art Photography (Fort Collins, CO), Robert Koch Gallery (San Francisco, CA), Minnesota Street Project (San Francisco, CA), R/SF Projects (San Francisco, CA), Galerie l’Inlassable (Paris, FR), Headlands Center for the Arts (Sausalito, CA) and Present Company (New York, NY). In the last two years, she was awarded residencies at the Banff Centre in Alberta, the Vermont Studio Center and the SIM residency in Iceland. She is currently a Charter Resident at Minnesota Street Project in San Francisco.
Courtney Sennish (b. 1991 in Saginaw, Michigan) lives and works in San Francisco, California. She received her BFA from Rhode Island School of Design and graduated from her MFA at California College of the Arts. In 2015 she received the Headland’s Graduate Fellowship Alternate and was an artist-in-residence at Anderson Ranch for the summer of 2011. Courtney has been showing around the Bay Area, in multiple group shows and in 2016 she had a solo show at Johansson Projects.