Opposites collide in ‘Phase Velocity’

An exhibition of new work by Andrea Stanislav combines nature and technology, love and hate, the sacred and the profane all in one glittering, shiny show.

"Someday Never Comes" by Andrea Stanislav (Photo courtesy of the artist)

"Phase Velocity"  opens tonight at Burnet Gallery in Minneapolis with a reception at 6 p.m.; it runs through Oct. 12.

The show features both sculpture and collages. But as Stanislav points out, the collages are so thick with layers that they, too, are essentially sculpture.

Stanislav is known for her use of glitter and more recently refractive film (commonly used in creating holograms) to create bold pieces that are both beautiful and disturbing. When lit, her works burst with color and change at every angle.

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"I'm interested in making art that is experiential in a very physical way. I’m working with that play of light, with the viewer’s experience in mind," Stanislav said. "I want to give the viewer almost too much to look at, and maybe create a sense of confusion, which is my experience with modern technology and being bombarded by too much information."

Stanislav's sculptures juxtapose shiny mirrors and crystals with taxidermy of coyotes, rabbits and birds. The animal spirit world has been mounted and stuffed, presented in a way that reminds one just how far removed the modern world is from nature.

"Broken Column" by Andrea Stanislav (Photo courtesy of the artist)

Stanislav describes herself as an "obsessive collager" but usually she reserves that process for the studio, when planning projects. For this exhibition the collages play a central role, bringing together everything from decaying Russian sculpture to headless women in lingerie. Compared with past exhibitions, the mood is darker, more foreboding.

"I grew up on a lot of bad Italian horror films," Stanislav said with a chuckle. "That Gothic nature informs my work. It’s important to have the beauty and the color, but also the dark -- the poison and the magic -- to create tension in the work.”

Stanislav likes to work from an uncomfortable place, and to push herself.

"I like to set myself on the edge. Glitter and rhinestones, for example. I hated them, so I decided to work with them as this challenge," Stanislav said. "It’s a cheesy material – can I confront it and bring it to a point where I have to embrace it? Where I can engage with it conceptually?"

"Dispersion / Sympathy for the Devil" by Andrea Stanislav (Photo courtesy of the artist)

This is the first time Stanislav has incorporated women's bodies in her work. Typically her work is focused on men and masculinity, and comes across as cold and angular. At the beginning of her career, she sid, many people assumed her work was made by a man.

"In the 80s we were anti-feminists, we didm't want to be labeled 'female artists,"'she  explained. "And at first I thought of it as a badge of honor. I’m completely comfortable with being a female artist now, and I think culturally we’ve moved past that too. And perhaps that’s why the women are showing up in my work now."

Stanislav said  some viewers might enjoy trying to find the many art history references she's layered into her collages and sculpture.

"I'm mashing up a lot of 'isms' with my work… minimalism, modernism, Dadaism," she said.. "My work even goes back to the Baroque; I think about Breugel, and other painters who have engaged the viewer, really activated the eye on the plane with lots of activity."