Rena Detrixhe · Kahlil Irving · Brian Jungen · Miles Neidinger · Michelle Segre · Susan White

Exhibition image of Ephemera.Organized in concert with the 27th International Sculpture Conference (Oct 25-28, 2017) in Kansas City, Ephemera features the work of Kansas City-based artists Miles Neidinger and Susan White, Oklahoma-based artist Rena Detrixhe, St. Louis-based artist Kahlil Irving, British Columbia-based artist Brian Jungen, and New York-based artist Michelle Segre.

Each artist employs seemingly ubiquitous materials to evince a sense of the fantastic - of the ordinary made extraordinary. Inherently their working processes reference the act of collecting, hunting and gathering materials to both inspire and realize their work. In so doing, familiar things are repurposed and transformed - emphasizing the duality of ephemeral objects. In each instance, the commonplace is employed to convey evocative and often personal content.

Rena Detrixhe works with natural materials, namely the red soil of Oklahoma to create rug forms imprinted with elaborate patterns. At once beautiful and compelling, Detrixhe hints at the uneasy tension between nature and humanity. Her site specific work for the Nerman Museum will reference both the ubiquitousness and preciousness of the earth just below our feet.

Likewise, Susan White utilizes nature for her work. Her unique installation for the Nerman will utilize the spiky thorns of the honey locust tree to create a piece both fragile and menacing. White’s elegant, ethereal wall mounted thorn works spread across the wall in clusters evoking clouds, smoke, landscape or other natural forms.

In contrast, Kahlil Irving’s complex ceramic sculptures derive from found urban detritus. They appear as accretions of compressed Styrofoam food containers, plastic bottles, thrown pottery forms, bricks, etc. They are amalgamations of discarded products – meticulously recast in clay and enhanced by seductive glazes, lusters and decals. Irving’s practice explores the history of decorative ceramics, personal history, racism and sculpture.

Brian Jungen draws from his family’s ranching and hunting background, as well as his Dunne-za heritage (Athabascan First Nations), when reimagining consumer goods into modernist assemblages. Jungen transforms Nike Air Jordan shoes, plastic chairs, garbage bins, sewing tables, and golf bags into semblances of Northwest coast ceremonial masks, totem poles, whales, etc.

Repurposing of the industrial or mass produced object also pervades the artistic practice of Miles Neidinger. Neidinger’s recent sculptures are realized from metal conduit and electrical boxes – informed by his employment in the commercial electrical industry. He comments “Living several months of my youth among home remodeling projects had a great influence on my work. For months I witnessed the tearing out of walls, exposing the raw studs, plumbing pipes, and electrical wiring. My home had an anatomy and I was helping my parents tear off its skin exposing the skeleton.”

Michelle Segre’s phantasmagorical sculptures reference surrealism run amok. They are eccentric, disquieting, improvisational and hallucinatory. She remarks “I use raw materials that are very much of this earth, such as rocks, plants and very low-tech stuff like steel rods and yarn. They ground the work in reality so that you can have a very real thing, but at the same time, there is the sense that you are going beyond that, into a realm of more theoretical thinking.”

Rena Detrixhe was born in Kansas, and she received her BFA in Expanded Media and Art History from the University of Kansas in 2013. During the spring semester of 2011, she studied at the School of Visual Art, Hongik University, Seoul, South Korea.

Brian Jungen was born in Fort St. John, British Columbia, Canada in 1970. He earned a BFA in 1992 from Emily Carr College of Art & Design, Vancouver, British Columbia.

Kahlil Irving earned his MFA at Washington University in St. Louis in May 2017. He completed his BFA in art history and ceramics at the Kansas City Art Institute. Irving was born in San Diego and relocated to St. Louis as a teenager.

Miles Neidinger graduated from KCAI in 2000 with a BFA in Sculpture. His work was featured at the Nerman Museum in 2010 as part of the group show Museum Interrupted, and at the former JCCC Gallery of Art in 2005 as a Charlotte Street Foundation Fellow.

Michelle Segre was born in Israel and lives and works in New York. She received a BFA in 1987 from the Cooper Union School of Art, NY, and studied abroad with the Tyler School of Art, Rome, Italy. She currently teaches at Laguardia Community College and is a Cooper Union Visiting Artist.

Susan White was born in Dublin, Georgia and earned a BA in 1971 from Drury University, Springfield, MO, a BFA in 1996 from KCAI, and studied at the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI.