Ground Floor Contemporary is pleased to present, Everywhere and There: Directions in Contemporary Figurative Painting, curated by Bryce Speed.  This exhibition brings together four different interpretations of figurative painting by artists Sam Bornstein (NY), John Dilg (IA), Amy Pleasant (AL), and Christina Renfer Vogel (TN). 

Join us for the opening reception on Thursday, July, 12th from 5:00-7:30pm.

The presence of representation in contemporary painting offers the artist and viewer infinite possibility as a means of establishing visual dialog. The paintings in this exhibition all have a recognizable subject that grounds an otherwise abstract idea. This curious relationship between people and place creates a tension away from a literal narrative, and instead emphasizes the very nature of the relationship between metaphor and image. In particular, the figure within the landscape has been an important subject in this evolving language of representation and will be a focus of this exhibition.

Ground Floor Contemporary is a cooperative art gallery committed to promoting and expanding the visual arts scene in the greater Birmingham area. The gallery space is open to the public from 1pm to 4pm on Sundays and by appointment. It is located at 111 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd S, Birmingham, AL 35233. 

About the artists:

Sam Bornstein

Sam Bornstein has lived and made artwork in New York City for his entire life. With the exception of a period of time spent living in Copenhagen Denmark in 2013 and 2014, the artist has claimed New York City as a center of artistic production. In addition to international and American exhibition experience, the artist has worked professionally as a musician, an actor, and an architectural draftsperson from an early age. Bornstein recently graduated from Hunter's MFA program, and previously attended Bard College. The artist has several upcoming shows in Denmark and a solo show scheduled for the fall of 2018 in New York City. 

John Dilg

John Dilg grew up on the north side of Chicago, IL. He received a B.F.A. in Painting and Filmmaking from the Rhode Island School of Design and is the recipient of a Fulbright Grant to India, a National Endowment for the Arts Individual Artist Fellowship, and three Residency Fellowships at the Yaddo Foundation. Recent solo and two-person exhibitions include Devening Projects, Chicago, 2018; Mild Climate, Nashville, 2017; Taymour Grahne Gallery, NY, 2016; Jeff Bailey Gallery, Hudson, NY, (2-P), 2014; Steven Zevitas Gallery, Boston, 2013-14; and Regina Rex, Queens, NY, (2-P), 2013. Group exhibitions include Spring Break, NY, 2017; Ortega y Gasset Projects, Brooklyn, NY, 2016; Whitespace Gallery, Atlanta, 2015; Sikkema Jenkins & Co., NY, 2012; and Edward Thorp Gallery, NY, 2010. 

Dilg has been a visiting artist at more than 40 institutions, including the University of Pennsylvania, Sarah Lawrence College, Yale University, the University of Chicago and Stanford University. His work is in the collections of the Figge Museum of Art, Illinois State University, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, the Arkansas Art Center, and several other public institutions. Reviews include Art in America, the Boston Globe, the Huffington Post, Hyperallergic, and The New York Times. 

Amy Pleasant

Born in 1972 in Birmingham, Alabama, Amy Pleasant received a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1994) and an MFA from the Tyler School of Art (1999). 

Pleasant was recently named a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow (2018) and received the South Arts Prize for the State of Alabama (2018).  Other awards include a Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Award (2015), the Mary Hambidge Distinguished Artist Award (2015), and Individual Art Fellowships from the Cultural Alliance of Birmingham (2008) and the Alabama State Council on the Arts (2003).

She has held solo exhibitions at Jeff Bailey Gallery, Hudson/NYC; Whitespace Gallery, Atlanta, GA; Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, IN; Birmingham Museum of Art, AL; Atlanta Contemporary, GA; among others.  Her work has been included in numerous two-person and group exhibitions at venues such as the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, AL; Adams and Ollman, Portland, OR; Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, TN; Cuevas Tilleard Projects, New York, NY; Knoxville Museum of Art, TN; Zuckerman Museum of Art, Kennesaw, GA; Lamar Dodd School of Art, Athens, GA; Hunter Museum of American Art, Chattanooga, TN; and Weatherspoon Museum of Art, Greensboro, NC.  Her work has been reviewed in many publications including Art in AmericaArt Papers,ArtforumThe Brooklyn Railand Sculpture.  Pleasant’s work is in numerous collections, including the Birmingham Museum of Art, The Progressive Art Collection, and Art in Embassies.  

Christina Renfer Vogel

Christina Renfer Vogel holds a MFA from the Massachusetts College of Art and a BFA from Tyler School of Art, Temple University. Recent shows include solo exhibitions at Augsburg College (Minneapolis, Minn.) and the Julia Martin Gallery (Nashville, Tenn.). Vogel has participated in artist residencies at the Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts (Rabun Gap, Ga.), the Virginia Center for Creative Arts (Amherst, Va.), the Vermont Studio Center (Johnson, Vt.), and the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts (Nebraska City, Neb.). Most recently, she attended an artist residency at JSS in Civita (Civita Castellana, Italy), supported by a Lighton International Artists Exchange Program grant. Vogel is a recipient of an Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation grant among other awards. She currently serves as an assistant professor of painting and drawing at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Curator and Artist:  Bryce Speed

Bryce Speed was born in 1978 in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. In 1999, he earned a BFA in Painting and Drawing at the University of Mississippi and in 2005 he graduated with an MFA in Painting from the University of Alabama. Bryce has taught at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and is currently Assistant Professor of Art in Painting at the University of Alabama.

Bryce’s work has been included in numerous exhibitions over the past decade. In 2006 and 2011 his work was selected for publication in New American Paintings Southeastern and Western editions. In 2014, he held a solo exhibition at Valdosta State University in Valdosta, GA and was part of a three-person exhibition at HERE Art Center in New York, NY, titled Suburbia: Is Anyone There?In 2015-16 he exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy Open Exhibition in Edinburgh, Scotland and at the Visual Art Exchange’s Contemporary South Exhibition in Raleigh, NC during 2016. In 2017, he had a solo exhibition at the North Wall Arts Center in Oxford, UK. Bryce is an Assistant Professor of Art at The University of Alabama and since 2017, he has been represented by the Cole Pratt Gallery.