Exhibitions | Salt Lake Area Exhibitions

Clare Kambhu: Seating Arrangement at Office Space

Salt Lake City
April 25, 2022 – July 31, 2022

Office Space is proud to present Clare Kambhu’s series of works on paper plus an installation in her debut solo exhibition at the downtown Salt Lake City gallery space as well as a virtual presentation of the exhibition including an exclusive interview between the artist and the curator. This show offers a figurative contrast to the artist’s purely abstract works shown in the gallery booth within the last year’s edition of Art Fair 14C in Jersey City, NJ.

Seating Arrangement was inspired by a variety of objects the artist has investigated in her art practice that reside within the classroom and educational systems. The exhibition consists of eight works on paper and a stack of whiteboard paper, which can be drawn on with dry erase markers by visitors when they come to the space. Kambhu’s textural use of paint creates dimension on the flat, paper surfaces. . The rough dragging marks and raised brush stroke ridges signal the frequent use and wear of the chairs. Chair 1 and Chair 2 incorporate checkered tile floors, reminiscent of school floors, contrasting with the dark blue hard backed chairs. These chairs despite their roughness and texture are the most stable of them all. When moving through to look at the other six chairs they become placed in unrecognizable spaces that are abstract. The classroom dissolves as the chairs become the focus in an endless sea of various colors and brush strokes. The viewer relationship changes throughout the pieces as the point of view shifts from looking straight down at the seat, to looking at the chair from the sides or corners. As the works become more abstract, the shapes become less and less legible as chairs. Though specific and faithful in their rendering, the cropping and angles render the works abstract leaving the viewer to search for the recognizable form of a school chair in each piece. In some of these pieces, the impasto builds up even further, creating an almost frenetic energy. In others the chairs become almost transparent providing a moment of calm amongst the chaos. In Chair 14 the back of the chair is reflected in the seat. The posts refract and waver in the reflection on the seat. Other pieces such as Chair 13 give us very little in the way of visual information about the object. This chair presents itself as a very flat square shape. The outline style gives it a sketch-like quality with touches of streaks that look like they could have been created by a hand dragging pencil lead across the page in streaks.

In none of the art do we see figures or any other details about the classroom within the visual field. All we are left with is the evidence of people through the wear and tear of the chairs’ roughness. The streaks tell the stories of hundreds of people that slide and sit on the chair every day, recording the movements and flow of people within a school. The presentation of the classroom world in this way is striking because it forces a hyperfocus on the furniture in the school rather than the people who make up the school. Leaving only pieces of evidence, viewers must dig up the answers and clues to what is going on with these objects, much like an archaeologist digs up artifacts and cities of ancient societies. The intimate workspace that the exhibition takes place in will create a viewer relationship with the work that allows them to look close revealing the depth in the texture and motion of the paint. Through the exhibition the importance of education shines through as the work yearns for the viewer to think about the challenges within educational institutions and the people affected by them. The artist strives with her work to find the humanistic qualities in the inanimate pieces of larger systems while also making viewers aware of their own connection to these systems.

—Bryce Chatwin

In the first of a series depicting the interaction between the gallery staff and the artist roster, curator Bryce Chatwin conducted a videotaped question and answer session with Kambhu. The link to the video can be found here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjkcJcecKJI).

Clare Kambhu is an artist based in New York City. She received her MFA in Painting from the Yale School of Art in 2018. Clare holds a BFA in Studio Art and an MA in Art Education from New York University. She has taught in the Yale Prison Education Initiative and works as a public school art teacher. She recently participated in the Art & Law Program and Bronx Museum AIM fellowship. She curated a booth at this year’s SPRING/BREAK art show. Clare is also the recipient of an upcoming apexart Travel Fellowship.

OFFICE SPACE and OFFICE SPACE BURBANK

350 East 400 South
Room 415
Salt Lake City UT 84111
Francesca Ball, Bryce Chatwin, Alexis Davidson, Adrienne Krueger, Steven Bahati, Albert Abdul-Barr Wang, and Melissa Prosser

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