Historic building in small town Texas now home to immersive art installations

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Historic building in small town Texas now home to immersive art installations
Edison Peñafiel, Land Escape.

CORSICANA, TX.- Reenactments of a Perpetual Cycle is the first collaborative exhibition between artists Rachel Wolfson Smith and Edison Peñafiel, and is being held at 100W Corsicana, an artist residency one hour south of Dallas, TX. On May 25th the artists invited the public to navigate through the renovated historic 100W building, where they experienced site-specific drawing and video installations in the building’s upper levels. The exhibition focuses on movement in the landscape; interpreted by Peñafiel as a backdrop for human migration, and by Wolfson Smith as expansive hand drawn environments. Echoing the building’s ritualistic legacy as the home of the International Order of Odd Fellows, the duo transforms the enormous space into settings for physical exploration and contemplation of timeless realities.

Rachel Wolfson Smith’s immersive drawing installation is set in the 2400 SqFt light-filled room the drawings were created in. A row of 12 ft graphite drawings featuring dense landscapes line the 60 ft wall in the second floor studio, and share an expansive intimacy with the space. Wolfson Smith constructs her drawings from dozens of sources over many sessions. Thoughts and notes collected over the course of the residency are jotted on the paper with urgency, and are erased or covered over as scenes develop on top of them. The process becomes marked as a record of time on the page. Her work creates a tense balance between cycles of movement and stillness, reenacted again and again in different forms.

Edison Peñafiel’s multimedia installation combines video projections and physical objects to create an immersive audiovisual environment. Through the combination of mediums such as drawing, photography, video, and found objects, his installation stages a caravan of masked characters gradually marching through an animated never-ending terrain. The historic Odd Fellows building, which periodically hosted rituals and enactments of Old Testament narrative in the past, once again becomes a stage for a virtual performance that focuses on the contemporary exodus throughout Europe and the Americas.

“The video loop brings up the idea of the perpetual and the eternal. We see these marching characters trapped in a specific time and place, a moment that keeps happening repeatedly, both in the installation and with migrants around the world.” Says Peñafiel. “The cartoonish quality that represent these absurd situations is not far from reality.”

“The connection between our work is visceral” says Wolfson Smith. “I focus on creating dark still moments in bright chaotic spaces, and Eddy projects light into the darkness. I connect to the landscape on an intimate level, and he does so much more broadly. Moving from my light-filled space to his darkened room is a powerful sequence to experience.”

100W co-founder Kyle Hobratschk comments “We often talk about space being material, so we try to identify artists who can justify three thousand square feet.” He goes on to say “We don’t decorate, the building’s exterior ornament is enough. The place is kept minimal so that the work is focused.”

Rachel Wolfson Smith is an American artist with an interest in landscape and psychology. She is known for engaging audiences through her large-scale graphite drawings of constructed landscapes and crashed vehicles. Wolfson Smith was a 2018 member of The Contemporary Austin’s Crit Group, and has created public projects in collaboration with the Austin Fire Department. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, most recently at the Wignall Museum in CA and the Vignette Art Fair in Dallas, TX. Wolfson Smith holds an MFA from Indiana University and a BFA from MICA, both in painting. She divides her time between Texas and the Netherlands, and can be found on Instagram at @wolfsonsmith

Edison Peñafiel is a visual artist who focuses on video and multimedia installation. After having experienced and witnessed firsthand one of the turn of the century’s everlasting dilemmas, immigration and the economic and political instability in South America, he developed a strong sense of responsibility and duty towards his surroundings. Born in Ecuador, Edison is currently based in Fort Lauderdale, FL. He holds a Bachelors in Fine Arts and Art History from Florida International University, and he blends digital and physical elements into his artwork; particularly through the use of clever projections and installations. Edison’s multimedia installations have been shown in solo exhibitions at Elsewhere Museum, Greensboro, NC; The Projects FAT Village, Fort Lauderdale, FL; Centre Gallery University of South Florida, Tampa, FL among others, including the forthcoming Florida Prize in Contemporary Art 2019 exhibition at the Orlando Museum of Art, Orlando, FL. He is on Instagram as @eddypenafiel

100 West grants artists and writers residencies to create work in a historic, decommissioned Odd Fellows Lodge repurposed for studio space. Large-scale, light filled rooms are provided alongside complete living accommodations and wood shop access to produce work in two or three dimensions, installation, or writing. This residency experience is enriched by artist-made furniture and antiques in building virtually unaltered since the 1890s. Original mill work, light fixtures, painted doors and walls, now cracked and worn, remain amid six years of preservation work, effectively contrast contemporary modes of art-making. 100W maintains a close connection with Dallas culture fifty miles from downtown Corsicana, where the backdrop of nineteenth century oil boom vestiges, now faded, are quintessential Texas. 100W is hosted and furnished by Texas-based artists and writers, for artists and writers from a national and international scope. 100W can be found on instagram at @100w_corsicana

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