Portia Munson’s latest show at P.P.O.W uses photography, installation, and sculpture to create a vibrant and colorful atmosphere that examines nature, including our own.
Entering the gallery, photographic wallpaper of dandelions reach out from under a series of still life prints or memento mori: images of actual flower blossoms, carefully arranged by the artist as a mandala, inside of which, a woodland creature, formerly found along the roadside, nestles.
Of her imaging process, Munson elaborates, “I use the scanner like a large-format camera. I lay flowers directly onto it, allowing pollen and other flower stuff to fall onto the glass and become part of the image. When the high-resolution scans are enlarged, amazing details and natural structures emerge. Every flower mandala is unique to a moment in time, represents what is in bloom on the day I made it.”
When shown alongside Munson’s other piece: Reflecting Pool, a “congested installation” of heaping blue landfill trash, we are forced to confront our natural instincts– to build and discard with quick irreverence.
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
Robin Williams paints beautiful adolescent subjects performing antiquated tasks, playing dress up in vast fields, and staring at the sky while pondering the meaning of life. You can see her debut solo show in NYC at P.P.O.W on January 27th.