Free admission (all visitors, all hours)


The Arts Center at Duck Creek is pleased to announce “Down and Dirty,” a two-person exhibit featuring sculpture by artists Bonnie Rychlak and Jeanne Silverthorne. Jeanne Silverthorne and Bonnie Rychlak create sculptures that share a tale of disruption and playful decrepitude. When they met in the 1980s, New York was suffering from a historic market crash. Still, the city was teeming with resourceful artists. These conditions shaped Rychlak and Silverthorne’s approach to making art, and as Bonnie put it, “Sometimes an artist has to get down and dirty” to depict a subject truthfully.

In this exhibition, both artists draw on works dating as far back as 1991. They explore the object in our everyday lives through an unsettling yet humorous juxtaposition of materials and metaphors. The sculptures are for the most part positioned on the floor, deflated, converted and/or incongruously repurposed into non-functional objects, mysterious objects that solicit interpretation.

Bonnie Rychlak’s process is quite physical and transformative. She uses mutable materials, such as beeswax and paraffin, to describe objects that conventionally are made from more stable elements, such as steel or wood. Standing above one of her “grates,” Rychlak places the viewer in the precariousness position of relying on a soft wax to cushion an imaginary fall into what lies beneath. In an interview with Katie Geha, Rychlak says, “Objects placed on the floor, my drains anyway, infer something underground, underneath… It’s about culverts that penetrate the surface and you may never know what is at the other end or below.” Placed in a clean gallery or grassy field, the works speak about the archeology of urbanism, industry, and our failed environment.

Since the early 1990s Jeanne Silverthorne has explored the idea of the artist’s studio as an outdated ruin. “My sculpture has the impulse to push against the heroic and the monumental” she states, but her process is physically intense. Silverthorne models the detritus of her studio in clay, making molds, and finally, casting each sculpture and all its elements in rubber. These objects, which so carefully imitate the contours and textures of reality, are rendered absurd in their rubber form. And Silverthorne invites you to indulge in both the process and the pun.

This exhibition originated at the Dodd Galleries in Athens Georgia, where a full-color catalog was published, including an interview with the artists and scholarly essays by Terrie Sultan and Katie Geha. The artists will participate in an outdoor talk with former Parrish Art Museum Director, Terrie Sultan on May 22, at 3pm (rain date May 23, 3pm).

Bonnie Rychlak has shown in many exhibitions throughout her 40 year career, including recent solo exhibitions at The Viewing Room (New York, NY) and Art Space Kiumra (Tokyo, Japan). Rychlak graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California at Los Angeles and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She has held numerous residencies including Surnadal Billag (Norway) and was a visiting artist at the American Academy in Rome. She is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Grant in sculpture. Her works are in collections in the United States, Europe, and Japan. Since 2010, she taught at the Pratt Art Institute and the ArtBarge on Long Island. Rychlak is the former curator and studio assistant for Isamu Noguchi, his museum, and foundation. As an independent curator and writer, she was published in Looking Forward: Ivory Press, Books, and Stories (2020) and authored Henry T. Segerstrom: The Courage of Imagination and the Development of the Arts in Southern California (2013). Past curated exhibitions include an outdoor sculpture exhibition at LongHouse Reserve in East Hampton, New York and On Display in Orange County: Modern and Contemporary Sculpture which opened in 2011 as part of the Pacific Standard Time project in California. Rychlak currently lives and works in East Hampton, New York.

Jeanne Silverthorne received a BA and an MA from Temple University. For over two decades she showed at McKee Gallery up to David and Renee McKee’s retirement in 2015. Her one-person museum exhibits include PS1 (New York, NY) the ICA Philadelphia (Philadelphia, PA); Phillips Collection (Washington D.C); and the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY). In 2017, she was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship. Her work is included in many major museum collections including the Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY); MFA Houston (Houston, TX), the San Francisco Museum of Art (SF, CA); and the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY). Silverthorne currently teaches at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) New York and is represented by Marc Straus Gallery in New York and Shoshana Wayne Gallery in Santa Monica, CA.