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Historically, the formulas of Modernism have lent themselves to the imposition of structures on nature. Utilizing an economy of means, or a paring down of form, some artists have drawn attention to the processes and materials that they employ in order to comment on limitations inherent in human observation and experience. The impossibility of this search for certainty is prescient in a world rife with unforeseen technological advances and consequences. From Kurzweilian “singularities” to the embrace of dystopic or parallel hyper-realities, many artists today use Modernist tropes to draft odes to possible futures.
In the face of such infinitely malleable destinies, the ten artists selected for this exhibition remain undaunted. In bold, minimal and idiosyncratic terms, they propose new, decidedly un-grandiose, vernaculars through various mediums such as video, photography, and sculpture. Their works concern themselves with an intensely personal present tense, with lives lived and documented in real time. These works are inward, solipsistic, and in some instances, similar to an occult experience or an exercise in ritualized revelation. The art object is often left over from actions performed in service of an impossible quest, or crafted in playful celebration of it. These artists seem to exist in cultural peripheries, lobbing ruminations out of left fields, revealing epistemological truths—truths that have little or nothing to do with changing the world.
Featuring: Bas Jan Ader, Olaf Breuning, Jennifer Cohen, Scott Hug Kevin Lips, Niall McClelland, Jesse McLean, Kristie Muller, Rbt. Sps., Brent Stewart
July 28 – August 26, 2011 | Opening Reception: Thursday, July 28, 6-8pm P.P.O.W.
535 West 22nd Street, 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10011
Mary Anne Kluth’sVisitor Center project is a multi-layered series involving ceramic rocks, talks with her geologist father, and detailed dioramas. Here is a description of the project in the artists own words:
My recent work is a conceptual project which began with a simple exercise. I asked my geologist father to describe the formal attributes of his favorite rocks from his collection, which he has been amassing over his entire 40-year career. Then I made ceramic models based only on his descriptions, having no other specific knowledge of the originals. Once I had these ceramic “abstracted rocks”, I then asked my dad to guess which rock sample matched up with which ceramic piece, and got him to tell me basic stories about the places he found each original. I then made dioramas to re-create the scenes he described, and took photographs to document these simulations.
The final presentation is a faux-museum, displaying the c-prints and ceramics alongside the language we used to create them, as well as watercolors made from the original rock samples my dad was thinking of, and infographic paintings elaborating on the ideas and conversations sparked by the process.
Saddo is an insanely detailed illustrator from Berlin, Germany. He graduated from the University of Art and Design in Cluj Napoca, Romania, and currently specializes in bright, intricate, and surreal characters. His mediums include acrylic paint, watercolor, pencils, and marker pens while his canvas of choice is white paper, but has been known to work on street surfaces and wood.
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Photographer Jeremy Ayer and graphic designer Julien Mercier have been collaborating on a series of photographs titled “Aude” that feature a nude female exploring, or used as a decoration in, a large mansion. In some of the photographs, the female body appears to be on ornamental display, almost doll-like, and contrasted with some of the other objects on display in the mansion. Despite her nude body, the photographs are shot in such a way as to leave the female figure shrouded in a bit of mystery.
“With her pale skin, her slender body, she represents a certain ideology of beauty, as dictated by contemporary magazines. But paradoxically, the raw image remains in a direct visual language, not constrained by any commercial obligations. There is no digital manipulation which would withdraw all of her natural eroticism. In the same process, the statues whth their perfectly carved silouhettes, oppose with her curves left intact. The brutal and frontal lighting, exposes here entire body. But always fleeting, she remains inaccessible to the viewer, out of reach, in height.” (via ignant)
SVA grad Mu Pan brings East Asian woodblock aesthetics to his colorful, animated paintings. Not much of a “Zen” vibe is to be found here, though. Full of life, the Brooklyn artist’s work explodes off the canvas in a rush of sex and violence. Base, animalistic sensibilities are collected and processed en masse within each piece, and hardly any opportunity for impact is passed over. Really engrossing stuff, whether the focus is placed on a few central figures, or all-encompassing atmosphere.
I am really enjoying Los Angeles-based artist Adam Tullie’s recent portfolio of drawings. He uses painstakingly intricate mark-making to create simple shapes, hinting at tribal masks. Adam Tullie recently featured his work in San Francisco, I may just have a friend of mine over there pick up a few of his show’s postcards for my wall.