Niche Audience

Claire Cowie & Leo Berk



OPEN STUDIO

August 16 – October 13, 2021
Monday – Friday (12-5pm)

EXHIBITION OPENING

October 14, 2021 (5:30-7:30pm)

EXHIBITION PERIOD

October 15 – November 20, 2021
Tuesday – Saturday (12-5pm) by appointment

ARTIST TALK

Thursday, November 18 (5:30pm)
Additional details coming soon

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In their first large-scale collaboration, Seattle-based artists Leo Berk and Claire Cowie expand on the boundaries of their domestic partnership through Niche Audience — an exploration of public versus private space as it relates to maintaining both community connections and personal distance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through an extended residency period, the two aim to fully integrate their creative practices to produce an entirely new presentation of their work.

Inspired by the form and function of architectural niches, this exhibition comprises a series of free-standing sculptural alcoves made almost entirely of recycled and refuse materials collected from area construction. This material decision is not only a response to ecological issues and material waste, but also conceptually ties into collective human experiences of adaptation and happenstance. A selection of these structures host imaginative figurative objects while others are left empty, creating opportunities for visitors to actively engage with the work and temporarily become part of the installation. In this way, sculptural figures and gallery visitors are both audience and exhibition.

Berk and Cowie are interested in the cultural significance of niches and how these intentioned spaces have been utilized across cultures and time as places of isolation and shelter. They consider this as we emerge from our own protective pandemic shells and begin reengaging with the community, reimagining these nooks as places for contemplation and individual retreat. Through Niche Audience, Berk and Cowie exploit methods of experimentation and spontaneity, providing space for visitors to engage in ways that honor the collective art-viewing experience while maintaining a sense of personal comfort.

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