Karen Starosta-Gilinski’s solo exhibition Unfinished Gem: Intrinsic Beauty. Comprising numerous pedestal and wall units displaying ready-made and forgotten objects, this is the Miami-based artist’s first solo exhibit with Primary and marks a temporary return for both artist and gallery to the Miami Design District (Melin Building, 3930 NE 2nd Ave, Suite 201).
For the past three years, Starosta-Gilinski has been collecting two types of objects from the world. While going about her daily life in Miami, or when traveling abroad, she has kept an eye on the ground for bits of oxidized metal: screws, pieces of chain, or other errant items that had once served a purpose but were then lost or abandoned as scrap. She displays these items within similarly collected glass jars, found along her daily journey. These jars are then displayed upon acrylic pedestals or on plexiglass shelves within wall-mounted cabinets, turning the gallery into a contemporary wunderkammer that also resembles a fashionable boutique. The latter is not accidental; the artist has displayed the objects as valuable commodities in an attempt to return to them the value they once had.
This project marks an ambitious development in Starosta-Gilinski’s process, which has long altered the found consumer object, often in subversive or humorous ways. Within this system of collection, classification, and display, she engages similar critiques that occupied the artists of the Pop and Conceptual schools. These shelves and pillars, which hint at notions of the archive, also have a biographical importance for the artist. Many of the jars still contain remnants of the label or expiration date, pinning them to an exact point in her past, be it a memory or a moment. In doing so, she creates a poignant tension between the innumerable flow of objects within consumer society, and the relatively few that touch a single life.
- Karen Starosta-Gilinski, Intrinsic Beauty