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Mitzi Pederson

February 29, 2008 - May 25, 2008

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Mitzi Pederson was born in Stuart, Florida, in 1976 and lives in San Francisco. She received her BFA in 1999 from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, and her MFA from the California College of the Arts, San Francisco. Pederson has had solo exhibitions at Ratio 3, San Francisco; Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery, New York; and White Columns, New York. Group exhibitions of her work include the 2008 Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the 2006 SECA Art Award Exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and those at New Langton Arts, San Francisco, and the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center. Writings on Pederson’s drawings and sculptures have appeared in Frieze, Flash Art, and artUS, as well as on Artforum.com. This is the artist’s first solo museum exhibition.

About the Exhibition

By Claire de Dobay Rifelj

 

An installation of Mitzi Pederson’s sculptures carries an aura of stillness and a subtle, humble energy. Building on the postminimalist practices of artists of the late 1960s and 1970s, such as Richard Tuttle and Eva Hesse, Pederson works with banal, everyday materials, often on a small and intimate scale. Thin sheets of wood wrap into cylindrical structures; mirror-lined papers bounce light back and forth; plastic rings dangle from strings; sand-encrusted wooden slats prop up one another, forming precariously balanced towers. Pederson uses these materials in part out of a desire to be simple and accessible. In an untitled work from 2006, a piece of plywood bends into an arc, held in place by a ribbon of blue cellophane. How the sculpture has been constructed is clear, yet one can see that it is more than the sum of its parts, that its materials have been carefully crafted into something new and unexpected.

 

Pederson’s choice of materials also reflects the limitations of her studio space: relatively small in size, it does not accommodate constructions of great height or mass. Thus the artist resorts to what is lightweight and easily transportable, all held together with household items such as glue, string, or tape. In earlier works Pederson used found objects to construct her sculptures. More recently, however, she has sought out specific materials but limits her choices to those that are commercially produced. Each is widely available and carries with it particular properties and inconsistencies, and she plays within these constraints, pushing the material to its physical extremes by tugging, pulling, and placing it in unfamiliar positions. In the same untitled work from 2006, tightly stretched cellophane reaches from one corner of the plywood arc to the other, rippling under the strain. The cellophane’s tension causes the plywood to hover over the ground, barely touching the floor at two points, allowing air and light to travel beneath it. Decorative elements, like the tiny streak of glitter on the plywood’s top edge, add a touch of glamour to these simple materials, which the artist has transformed into alluring objects. More

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