Audible Interruptions: Van McElwee and Cameron Fuller and Sarah Paulsen

May 9, 2014 - Aug 10, 2014

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Sarah Paulsen and Cameron Fuller: Echo, 2014, installation view, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, May 9–August 9, 2014. Photo: David Johnson.

Sarah Paulsen and Cameron Fuller: Echo, 2014, installation view, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, May 9–August 9, 2014. Photo: David Johnson.

Sarah Paulsen and Cameron Fuller: Echo, 2014, installation view, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, May 9–August 9, 2014. Photo: David Johnson.Sarah Paulsen and Cameron Fuller: Echo, 2014, installation view, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, May 9–August 9, 2014. Photo: David Johnson.

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Using site-specific installations that infuse the Museum’s utilitarian spaces with art, the Audible Interruptions series brings unique and unexpected auditory experiences to familiar areas such as hallways, restrooms, and elevators. This summer St. Louis-based artists Cameron Fuller, Van McElwee, and Sarah Paulsen present new work in the restrooms and first-floor hallway.

Using sound to evoke specific colors and imagery, Van McElwee’s works Tertiary Pastels and Dark Green explore and challenge conventional notions of gender. Installed in CAM’s restrooms, the stereo sound fields reverse the traditional gender associations connected to the colors in the their names. Tertiary Pastels, located in the men’s room, consists of manipulated field recordings McElwee made in Beijing of Chinese schoolgirls reciting lessons in unison. In the women’s room, Dark Green is made up of bird sounds, evoking a forest at dusk, with plant greens drifting to black. Headphones placed outside of each room will enable listeners to experience both works.

Located in the first-floor hallway, Echo, by Cameron Fuller and Sarah Paulsen, consists of an experimental stop-motion animation video and sound compositions that reflect the physical space of the hall. Using source material from St. Louis and Paris, and combining sound with footage shot on 8mm film and digital video, the work examines the way in which different cultures define and relate to geometry and space.

Audible Interruptions is guest curated by St. Louis-based artist, musician, and engineer Kevin Harris.


Van McElwee (b. 1948, Meridian, Mississippi) lives and works in St. Louis. His single-channel sound works, installations, and web projects have been exhibited extensively worldwide, and he has received numerous grants and awards, including the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, the American Film Institute Independent Filmmaker Award, the National Endowment for the Arts Independent Production Fund, and a travel grant from the Government of India. McElwee is represented by The Kitchen in New York, Bruno David Gallery in St. Louis, Heure Exquise! in France, LUX in the UK, the Inter Media Art Institute in Germany, and Trabant Gallery in Austria.

Sarah Paulsen (b. 1977, Ames, Iowa) lives and works in St. Louis, where she teaches art and animation at the Saint Louis Art Museum, Marian Middle School, and the St. Louis Community College, Forest Park. An artist, filmmaker, and community organizer, Paulsen has exhibited work widely nationally and locally. A 2010 Regional Arts Commission CAT Institute fellow, Paulsen founded the annual People’s Joy Parade on Cherokee Street, which will soon be in its sixth year. Paulsen holds a BA in visual art from the University of Missouri, Columbia, and an MFA from the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Art at Washington University in St. Louis.

Cameron Fuller (b. 1975, Chehalis, Washington) lives and works in St. Louis. His installations have been shown at Fort Gondo, White Flag Projects, Maps Contemporary Art Space, and Gallery 210 in St. Louis and at La Esquina in Kansas City. Since 2008 Fuller has collaborated on installations with Sarah Paulsen at Laumeier Sculpture Park and Open Lot in St. Louis and the Foundry Art Centre and St. Charles Community College in St. Charles, Missouri. He holds a BA in printmaking from San Francisco State University and an MFA from Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Art at Washington University in St. Louis.

Kevin Harris (b. 1975, Oklahoma City) lives and works in St. Louis. The former proprietor and curator of Floating Laboratories, a St. Louis multimedia performance space, Harris’s most recent artwork uses multi-channel audio and video synthesis to present complex sensory environments.