Francine Hunter McGivern
April 19 – May 18
“Doors and windows are cut out to make a room, but it is on its non-being that the utility of the room depends. Therefore turn being into advantage, and turn non-being into utility.” - Lao Tzu
The Williamsburg Art Center is proud to present ROOM 310, Francine Hunter McGivern’s first solo show in New York since the artist returned from Italy in 1998.
ROOM 310 is both the space and the location of Francine Hunter McGivern’s practice. This installation of painting, photography and video works focuses on the notion of change and the possibilities of its embodiment. ROOM 310 is both a physical and conceptual location; a room among many in her artistic practice. Space for the artist is part of an action to make room for contemplation; a zone that is permeated with color and punctured with light.
This permeable area of reflection is a constructed study of the very same space she questions, a place where the artist explores the very limits she sets herself to overcome. We are invited to enter a landscape of doors and windows and recognize in doing so a primordial grid embedded in our walls. For Hunter McGivern any picture is a boundary which needs to be confronted and worked through, a journey that enables a crossing to the other side. The artist offers a view through things, a conduit to a change in perspective, a door out of a room and into another. It is not so much about the mark but about its frame, its template or stencil. What is framed is a diagram, a symmetrical logic of repetition that functions as a map locating us in this space. The very possibility that enables us to follow a line and recognize the sameness throughout the pattern prison house is the grammar that allows us to begin to focus on difference. The works position us while making room for our own room in a space with a number.
Under the nom d’art of Jungle Red, Francine Hunter McGivern developed important experimental work in theatre, performance and cabaret as a member of the New York underground from the late 1970s through the 1980s. In 1977 she founded the legendary Jungle Red Studios, an alternative venue for interdisciplinary activities and a focal point for her multimedia installation work. While living in Italy, from 1989 through most of the 1990s, the artist developed a unique vocabulary for framing spaces and materials that has evolved into her present practice.