Friday, January 7, 2011

Street Reflections 301: Cleanliness Next to Godliness

Elizabeth Michelman, Street Reflections 301: Cleanliness Next to Godliness, January 2011

BEVERLY, MA January 2, 2011- Montserrat College of Art Galleries’ Frame 301 is pleased to present Elizabeth Michelman’s Street Reflections 301: Cleanliness Next to Godliness, curated by Lydia Gordon. The kick-off exhibition of 2011, takes a look at downtown Beverly by focusing on the relationship between Frame 301 and two neighbors: a laundromat and church.

Michelman’s site-responsive installation Street Reflections 301: Cleanliness Next to Godliness prompts a questioning of collective relations. By noticing how Frame 301 stands across from a church and a laundromat, the artist wonders how much these pillars of the neighborhood know of and understand each other. These three institutions offer different routes for expressing fundamental values in contemporary American culture: the art school practice, private worship, and personal hygiene. Street Reflections 301 quotes the words of a familiar proverb to capture, meditate on, and reflect these ideas back out to its viewers.

Street Reflections 301 dramatizes the window’s physical characteristics of transparency and reflection, conveying its message through illuminated language best visible at night. The words “cleanliness” and “godliness,” emanate from the window with a projection of inner light and color. By linking elements of each building through the proverb, the artist renews our curiosity with the streetscape and our relationship with the streetscape. The installation implicates Montserrat College as a cultural agent, situated to observe and comment on the disparities between our exterior environment and the inner feeling underlying the everyday needs, purposes, and values of our audience.

Elizabeth Michelman is an interdisciplinary artist exhibiting public and site-responsive installation art, video documentaries and artist’s videos. Her range of media includes sculpture, drawing, painting, poetry, video, and installation. Both as an artist and a curator, she has organized many site-responsive exhibitions and community participatory projects throughout New England. Michelman has taught and lectured on a range of subjects including exhibitions, 2D/3D design, drawing, sculpture, and interdisciplinary art and installation at Mass College of Art and around New England.

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