Ikebana Ziggurat

Ellen Bahr, Kathleen McShane

Opening reception: November 2, 6-9pm

Ikebana and Ziggurat are both distinct formalist structures. The work of Ellen Bahr and Kathleen McShane can be located within a conceptual ikebana where space is the prominent compositional element. Using an often pared-down aesthetic, McShane and Bahr share a line of inquiry that focuses on the construction of space, as opposed to a representation of space.

Bahr’s temporary, abstract arrangements are influenced by the small studio space where she works and the properties of the materials she manipulates. McShane’s drawings are informed by an extended approach to what drawing can be, and often in response to the expansive sense of space she experiences in Texas.

The exhibition is a kind of laboratory. In addition to photographs and drawings, each artist will build a "ziggurat" of works by artist who have been mentors and important influences, including Alfred alumni , as well as current and former faculty: Patrick Brennan, Jonathan Faber, Charles Goldman, John Hosford, Whitney Hubbs, Paul Kotula, Mary Lum, Lydia McCarthy, Stephanie McMahon, Ted Morgan, Sally Ross, Jennifer Niederhauser-Schlup and Linda Sormin.

Ellen Bahr studied photography at the International Photography Center and at Alfred University. She has lived in Wisconsin, New York City and Alfred, where she is a librarian at Herrick Library. Recent shows include Der Greif, Germany, Southern Tier Biennial, Black Box Gallery, Portland, Oregon, and Fourth Wall Project, Boston.

Kathleen McShane has a BFA from NYSCC Alfred and an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art. She has lived and worked in New York City, Philadelphia, Detroit and now lives in South Central Texas and teaches drawing and painting at Texas State University. Shows include the Aldrich Museum, Brooklyn Museum, MOCA Detroit, Weatherspoon Museum, Drawing Center, and her work is represented by Paul Kotula Projects in Detroit. Collections include Weatherspoon Museum, Sally and Wynn Kramarsky, Fidelity and James Rosenquist.