Snowball: Kyle Bravo, Jenny LeBlanc, Claire Rau
March 5 – 28, 2009.
Opening reception: Thursday March 5, 6-9pm.
Snowball, a print-based performance project and “printstallation” by American artists Kyle Bravo, Jenny LeBlanc and Claire Rau, was exhibited in the Open Studio Gallery from March 5 to 28, 2009. As Toronto-based writer and artist Andy Fabo pointed out in the accompanying essay, performance art often incorporates other traditional visual art media such as sculpture or drawing, but it is rare that printmaking and performance art intersect.
Taking the form of a printmaking snowball fight, Snowball found one of the trio of artists erecting a snow fort made of relief and screen prints (created during the performance) while the other two artists used printed snowballs to try and take down the printed fortress. Taking place before the exhibition opens, the performance was filmed and video documentation of the performance played on a loop during the duration of the exhibition in the midst of the residue of the snowball fight (see below).
Snowball contemplated issues related to the competitive aspects common to games and war. The artists question how the violence of games persuades real conflict and war, and what role activities such as video games, paintball and chess assume as training grounds for physical and imaginary battles.
Kyle Bravo and Jenny LeBlanc live and work in the upper 9th Ward of New Orleans. Kyle Bravo holds an MFA from the University of North Carolina. He teaches visual art at Lusher Charter High School and manages the printshop at Louisiana Artworks. He is the editor of the book Making Stuff and Doing Things: A Collection of DIY Guides to Doing Just About Everything (Microcosm Publishing). New Orleans native Jenny LeBlanc is an artist and educator who holds degrees from the Alabama School of Fine Arts, Louisiana State University (BFA, sculpture), and Virginia Commonwealth University (MFA, sculpture). Bravo and LeBlanc are founding members of The Front, a New Orleans art collective and gallery. They have exhibited their artwork widely in the US, and also in Canada, Italy, and Japan.
In 2002 the couple founded Hot Iron Press, a printmaking studio that also serves as a hub for support and promotion of grassroots arts activities in New Orleans. Through the press, they have worked to implement and organize such projects as The Rebuild Fund, the New Orleans Bookfair, Babylon Lexicon annual book arts exhibition, and the Hot Iron Press residency program. Hot Iron Press would like to express deep gratitude to the Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation whose support helped to make this performance possible.
Claire Rau was born in Sandusky, Ohio and raised in northeast Tennessee. She completed graduate work at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (2004) with the installation Body Plunder. She has taught printmaking and sculpture at several institutions and presently teaches at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. She is the recipient of several awards and residencies, including the Book Arts & Printmaking Fellowship at the Scuola Internazionale di Grafica (Venice, Italy) in 2006. Claire has exhibited in the US and internationally; upcoming exhibitions are scheduled in Kentucky, Texas and Colorado.
All three artists are also members of The Front, an artist-run collective in New Orleans.
Andy Fabo is an artist, critic, curator and educator, and is currently teaching at McMaster University.