Unfinished Gem: Intrinsic Beauty by Karen Starosta-Gilinski
Primary Projects returns to the Design District with Unfinished Gem: Intrinsic Beauty a show by Miami-based artist Karen Starosta-Gilinski, her first solo show with the gallery. Positively moving in its simplicity, empty glass jars, found objects, and tiny bits of metal –screws, scraps, nuts, and bolts– are elegantly displayed on pedestals and clear Plexiglas shelves throughout the Primary Projects pop-up space. The throwaway jar of a gourmet jam once enjoyed at the breakfast table, or a plastic container picked up somewhere along Starosta-Gilinki’s travels, are given a second life in this exhibition.
As if designed to mirror the elemental luxury of the neighborhood, reclaimed materials are presented to the viewer as objects of value in a clean gallery setting, almost completely eclipsing their alternate fate as a practical commodity. Most poignant is the irony that these empty receptacles represent, and how they are contained by larger containers – and then placed on pedestals and pillars – to elevate their cultural currency. Starosta-Gilinski asks the viewer to question their inner worth (are we nothing but empty vessels in a fancy exterior? Just kidding.)
“This project marks an ambitious development in Starosta-Gilinski’s process, which has long altered the found consumer object, often in subversive or humorous ways. Within this system of collection, classification, and display, she engages similar critiques that occupied the artists of the Pop and Conceptual schools,” explains Primary founder and curator, Books Bischof. “These shelves and pillars, which hint at notions of the archive, also have a biographical importance for the artist. Many of the jars still contain remnants of the label or expiration date, pinning them to an exact point in her past, be it a memory or a moment.”
Karen Starosta-Gilinski (b. 1982) was raised in Caracas, Venezuela, and holds degrees from the Accademia Del Giglio in Florence, Italy, and Miami International University of Art & Design. Previous solo exhibitions include the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood, 6th Street Container, and the project space at Primary, Downtown Miami. A commissioned sculpture is permanently on display at the Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum.
Unfinished Gem: Intrinsic Beauty is on view through November 7, 2015 at 3930 NE 2nd Avenue, Suite 201. For more information, visit the website at www.primaryprojectspace.com.
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