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Exhibit explores life's ups and downs
Posted Nov. 8, 2006

Maria Villalpando

Friend and colleague of the artist Katie Grinnan, Marcelino Gonçalves attended the opening reception for “Project Series 31: Katie Grinnan.” The reception was held on Sunday in the Pomona College Museum of Art. Goncalves’ paintings are now on exhibition at the Cherry and Martin Gallery in Los Angeles. See story online.

“The Rise and Fall” is the latest in the Project Series in the Museum of Art at Pomona College. Katie Grinnan’s work can be viewed until Dec 17. 

Take some time to examine the exhibit, it’s a tricky one. Grinnan uses a mix of pictures, plastics and wood to express the building up of life and the breaking down of it as well.

 “It is kind of dense,” Aaron Morse said. “It’s challenging and takes a while to piece together.”

Grinnan’s work is a mix of architecture, memory, pictures and space. She takes photos of a subject and fixes them to a frame for the structure. The pictures are strategically placed to mirror each other and to create sharp designs. 

“I took pictures of an abandoned nursery,” Grinnan said. “I used wood from the base of the nursery for the frame of the sculpture.”

She said it took eight months to gather the pictures she used in the sculpture. The base of the piece is made with pictures of the abandoned nursery and the top part of the sculpture is made up of pictures from the condominiums that were being built on the same plot of land.

The pictures were reprinted in various angles and flipped upside down, inverted and placed on pieces of colored plastic. 

“It’s interesting the way she uses plastic and lights,” said Michael O’Malley,  assistant professor of art at Pomona College. “I like the way she uses the lights in real life and the lights in the photos.”

O’Malley said she used the space in an interesting way. 

Grinnan used rocks to surround the base of the wood, which served as the frame. She also used plastic as a way to make the photos more 3-dimenisonal. 

 The small room that houses the exhibit also has a flat screen plasma TV on the wall with a video playing as part of the exhibit.  Grinnan said they built a float, like in a parade, that was made the same way as the sculpture.  It was easily broken down and put back together, to symbolize the idea of this project.  They had someone riding on the float and playing music. 

“Most people didn’t even really see us,” Grinnan said.  “They would just let us go by, in some places we were a spectacle.”

The work featured in the exhibit was completed about two years ago and has, until now, never been on display in Los Angeles. 

Grinnan began sculpting in 1992 and completed her graduate work at UCLA.  Before that she was working and studying in New York for five years. 

For more information on the exhibit you can visit www.pomona.edu/museum.

Rick Montañez can be reached at rick.montanez@hotmail.com.