Alisha Kerlin : Roadrunners That Wont Run Far

Alisha Kerlin : Roadrunners That Wont Run Far

exhibit-roadrunners-250-6-6-14Exhibit : Alisha Kerlin : Roadrunners That Won't Run Far
Monday, June 2 - Friday, July 25, 2014
Clark County Government Center Rotunda Gallery, 500 S. Grand Central Parkway, Las Vegas, NV 89101

Opening Reception Thursday, June 5th, 6-8PM Artist Talk at 6:30PM at the Clark County Government Center Rotunda Gallery

The title of Alisha Kerlin’s exhibit, "Roadrunners That Won’t Run Far," originated at a Vegas Swap Meet conversation over a doorstop in the shape of a roadrunner. The salesman and the artist were discussing the irony of making a doorstop—something that physically stops motion—in the form of a roadrunner—a bird built for speed.

The roadrunner is an ideal form with which to contemplate the phenomenon of static movement as a sculptural problem. Caught in mid-stride, the roadrunners will constitute a link between contemporary manifestations of motion and the work of well-known sculptors such as Alberto Giacometti and futurist Umberto Boccioni, whose "Unique Forms of Continuity of Space" (1913) is still regarded as a landmark expression of speed, fluidity and forceful dynamism, one hundred years after it was conceived.

The slender, fast-running birds, often depicted in public sculpture and kitsch figurines throughout the desert southwest of the United States, follow closely the form of the actual lizard-eating Greater Roadrunner of the cuckoo family, but rarely, if ever, follow the form of the popular Looney Tunes cartoon character. Kerlin's work for this exhibition mines the intersection of these two very different but equally popular notions of the roadrunner.

The Roadrunner, as an American icon, is inextricably associated with the Warner Bros cartoons in which Wile E. Coyote, like an ambitious artist, devotes his time to catching the roadrunner with the planning and construction of devices that always fall short of the success he longs for. The Roadrunner is the dangling carrot to the Coyote, with the endless loop comparable to the art-making process, and the artist who struggles to reach an ideal. The Coyote, the viewer, and the cartoon are acknowledged by the appearance of a hand-made sign installed in the center of the Rotunda Gallery, warning visitors of the possible danger of falling anvils. The anvil and the notion of objects dropping from an infinite height will extend the area of the show, by implication, up into the larger vertical area of the Rotunda Gallery space.

The color palette of Kerlin’s larger than human-scale concrete roadrunners is pulled from the artist’s surroundings in Las Vegas. The birds are painted in four colors: 1) Brassy-Futurist-Figurine-Gold, 2) Flamingo-Yard-Art-Pink 3) Carrot-on-a-Stick-Orange, and 4) Southwest-Suburban-Stucco-Housing-Hue.

Kerlin received her BFA from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and MFA from the Milton Avery School of Art, Bard College, New York. She moved to Las Vegas from NYC after teaching as the Artist in Residence at UNLV in Spring 2012, and currently serves as the Marjorie Barrick Museum Collection Manager. Her work has been exhibited throughout the United States, including one person shows in New York, Brooklyn, Long Island City, San Francisco, Boston and Knoxville. Her work has been included in numerous group shows including "Greater New York" at PS1 MoMA, 2010. Interviews and reviews about Kerlin’s work can be found in publications such as Spike, Art Forum and New York Arts Magazine.

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