Theresa Anderson and Amber Cobb installation view at Gray Contemporary, Houston
Theresa Anderson and Amber Cobb installation view at Gray Contemporary, Houston
17/ sack foam, rubber, pantyhose
17/ sack
foam, rubber, pantyhose

February 16, 2016

Gray Contemporary is pleased to present the exhibition:

Sacks and Covers: Theresa Anderson & Amber Cobb
February 27 – April 2, 2016

Sacks and Covers is an exhibition that brings together the work of Theresa Anderson and Amber Cobb. Both artists have created new bodies of work that highlight a shared affinity to color, texture, material, and a process of reduction. Anderson’s work stems from objects used in performance art, while Cobb’s focus relates more closely to formal aesthetics, the end result for both is work that conveys a feeling of sensuality and sexiness. Each piece is anchored by gravity and defined as much by the physical weight of the materials as the conceptual weight of the objects they have employed.

Entangling the work of these two artists in one exhibition shows the diversity of outcomes that can spawn from very similar processes. Both Anderson and Cobb respond to and engage materials that physically appeal to their senses or conceptually tickle a point of interest. Anderson uses tights, cloth, dragon skin, and pigmented pillow soft foam; Cobb repurposes mattresses and bedding under layers of silicone. In different ways, each artist begins with the body as a point of departure, then through a process of layering and subtracting materials, they ultimately arrive at work that leaves only a shell or skin haunted by the presence of a form that was once intimately involved but has since moved on.

Speaking to our private desires and dreams, the ideas held within Sacks + Covers are versatile. Both are a noun and verb connoting objects and actions. The verbs are used in sports, war, and love while the nouns allude to what is soft, pliable, sensual, and comforting.

The materials they employ have undeniable and unapologetic flairs of feminine, yet they do not align with traditional norms associated with domestic or female materials, quite the contrary. The feminine we find in Anderson and Cobb’s work is liberated, without a defined sexual orientation, and one that certainly breaks rules. The soft, plush, oozing elements in their work make us want to touch, lick, climb inside, and at times even eat the art. In one light, Cobb’s work might appear to be drenched in melted ice-cream or dipped in frosting, while in another it might appear sopped in semen and latex. Anderson’s work equally sends mixed signals, elucidating the beauty in the grotesque, or the contradiction of pleasure found in pain. In these new bodies of work, both artists have turned away from the soft, pink, and airy colors of their former art towards a dark palate that subtly intensifies an apathy to define the works intention. We are not sure if the work has a patina of Patten leather, been tarred without feathers, or lit on fire.

Introduced in 2011 by fellow artists, Anderson and Cobb immediately bonded over their studio practice that is guided by their interest in charged objects and process. Since then, the two have been working in close proximity. Their work has been exhibited together in exhibitions at Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver, the Biennial of Americas, and RedLine where they both participated in the Artists in Residences Program.

An essay by Mardee Goff, Curator, Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art

Theresa Anderson (b. 1967, St. Paul, Minnesota) Theresa Anderson recently completed a two-year residency as a resource artist at Redline Denver. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at such venues as the 2013 and 2015 Biennial of the Americas, Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver Art Museum, Soo Visual Art Center, Ice Cube Gallery and was included in the exhibition, Thief Among Thieves, at the MCA Denver.

Amber Cobb (b. 1980, St. Louis, MO) Cobb has created a diverse body of work that explores the duality of the attractive and the abject. Her work has been shown in national and international exhibitions at such venues as xiao shan xiao at the Hunan Province Art Museum in Kaifeng, China, Sweat Baby Sweat in Los Angeles, and Direct Connect in Berlin. In 2013 she was part of the Biennial of Americas and 2015 she was included in the exhibition, Thief Among Thieves, at the MCA Denver.

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