Not Quite Nothing

  • San Diego Art Institute 1439 El Prado San Diego, CA, 92101 United States

The San Diego Art Institute (SDAI) is pleased to present “Not Quite Nothing”, a collection of sculpture, video, installation, and performance work by local artists Don Edler, Gordon Holden, Matt Nichols, Chantal Wnuk, and SDAI artists-in-residence Brian & Ryan. “Not Quite Nothing” displays a fascination with the esoteric, the road less traveled, form versus (dis)function, and a quiet, contemporary primitive aesthetic. These artists from Southern California are all engaged in a dichotomy of seriousness and play—and at times playfulness—that is seen in work that brashly celebrates an unconventional minimalism all their own. This exhibition will also feature a selection of youth art created during SDAI's Teen Summer Intensive, created in response to the theme. “Not Quite Nothing” opens to the public at 6pm on Friday, August 19 at San Diego Art Institute and runs through September 21. Sponsored by Lagunitas Brewing Company.

About Don Edler’s “The Father, The Sun, and the Holy Road”
“The Father, The Sun, and the Holy Road” is a short experimental documentary that juxtaposes a conceptual pilgrimage to Robert Smithson's “Spiral Jetty” (1969) and the artist’s father's evolving relationship to religion. Shot over the past two years, the film began as a means of exploring Edler’s own artistic practice as a pseudo religion. Through the course of filming, Edler became interested in better understanding his own feelings towards faith in art, and how it relates to other faith-based practices. As the project developed, Edler began to see various connections between the stories and experiences of his past, specifically the teachings and personal philosophies of his father, and his approach to art. By juxtaposing his father's narrative with Edler’s religious pilgrimage to a holy site in post-modern art history, Edler could articulate an abstracted representation of himself through two influential experiences that have informed him and his artistic practice. 

Don Edler holds an MFA from New York University, and a BFA from the University of Florida. Born in Germany, Edler now lives and works in Los Angeles.

On Wednesday, September 14 at 7pm, SDAI will hold a special screening of “The Father, the Sun, and The Holy Road” alogn with a Q&A with artist Don Edler. 

About Gordon Holden’s “The Nature of Us”
Gordon Holden creates work that captures visual and tactile expression through the backwards mishmash of an osmosis of pop culture and personally-derived abstract apprehension, through the self-reflective style of a “teenage caveman”. This complex marriage of playful curiosity and cynical observation produces works that are both whimsical and thought-provoking. He describes his creations as “a collection of things to like and things to dislike”. For this exhibition, Gordon forests the gallery in ridiculously adorned fake plastic trees to address the notion of human nature in its progressive and simultaneously regressive state in order to survive the contemporary social climate that we have constructed.

Gordon Holden has a BA from the University of Vermont and lives and works in Encinitas. He is currently represented by Paul Loya Gallery in Los Angeles.

About Matt Nichols’ “FinchesInThePalm”
FinchesInThePalm is an exhibition addressing viewership through the use of objects. Concerned with highly crafted forms and material as language, the work is a challenge of formalist hierarchy positing faith as the connection between the physical/literal (in what one sees and experiences) and the subjective of what one knows (and feels). 

Los Angeles-based Matt Nichols holds an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a BA from the University of California, Berkeley. His installation is sponsored by Albertz Benda Gallery, NYC.

About Chantal Wnuk’s “Untitled Painting Object” sculptures
Chantal Wnuk creates tiny sculptures from rocks, twine and wood—small sculptures with a large visual impact. Often drawing on or binding the rocks together, Wnuk creates tiny monuments and totems. The direct use of string as line and rock as body physically mirrors the situation of forcing two masses together. The found rock loses its strength as it is removed from its natural environment and bound precariously with other foreign materials. A small sculpture near the floor is in danger of being stepped on or kicked by the viewer, while the same object above is not only unreachable, but could cause harm with gravity’s help. While the small size of the sculptures makes them vulnerable, proportion can be skewed with close viewing, and the small rock can temporarily turn into a boulder.

Chantal Wnuk holds a BFA from the University of Texas, Austin. She currently lives and works in San Diego

About Brian & Ryan: “Sports, Games & Leisure in Balboa Park”
Brian Black and Ryan Bulis have been working collaboratively in Southern California since 2004. This artist team appropriates iconic activities and challenges preconceptions of masculinity, athleticism, and identity. Their assisted sculptures are exaggerated archetypes taken from the workplace, sports, and pedestrian life. By adjusting the familiar and pushing the level of absurdity in their art making, they invite the audience to reconsider the sanctity and boundaries of the art institution. Their collective work allows their independent objectives and concerns to converge into what has simply become known as Brian & Ryan.

During their San Diego Art Institute Residency, this duo is exploring the many facets of Balboa park and has created a series of limited-edition postcards to document their excursions around the park. Their Park Interventions include images of the artists interacting and repurposing areas throughout Balboa Park for both sport and leisure.

For this exhibition, Brian and Ryan will have three competition-based installations. Halfpipe is a fully-functional skateboarding halfpipe. It has several modular components that can be added or removed for different competitions and feats of strength. Teeter-Totter is an oversized, fully-functional teeter-rotter that also have several modular components that can be added or removed for a variety of competitions. Trophy Case will include awards from the SDAI residency competitions as well as their many competitions over the last 12 years.

On August 26 and September 2 from 5pm-8pm, Brian and Ryan will help gallery-goers arrive to SDAI in construction-grade style. Their collaboration Wheelbarrow Valet puts the gallery visitor in the seat of a decked-out wheelbarrow and transports them directly into SDAI. Look for Brian and Ryan’s complementary service throughout Balboa Park.

*Sponsored by Lagunitas Brewing Company