Drawing great attention to the unremarkable calls into question what can be considered precious and worthy of investigation. Taking the form of drawings, sculptures, and installations, my work is rooted in observation- an homage to the delicate structures that are so woven into our everyday experience they are often rendered invisible. Materials, separated from their original function, are used to reveal unexpected connections and often drive the concept behind a given work. By dissecting, duplicating and mimicking the objects, underlying patterns and organizing systems that make up the backdrop of our lives, I seek to expose a universal fabric that binds us all. (Words and images via Visions West Contemporary)
Recognized for his refined pastel color palette that often depicts serene California landscapes, Maxwell’s work engages viewers through hypnotic subtle imagery. In his surreal landscapes, the artist often employs the image of a tall skinny palm tree, an iconic symbol of California romanticism. Other paintings see the occasional appearance of planes, people or tranquil puffy clouds resembling silhouettes of recognizable figures. With all of his work, Maxwell finds a composed compositional balance, a skill he has an instinctive knack for and is a defining characteristic of his practice. For Down to Earth at Public Land, the artist will be showing all new works along with a site-specific installation. Maxwell graduated from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and has had solo exhibitions at Gallery Nucleus in Portland, OR and at The Standard Hollywood in Los Angeles, CA. He has been included in a long list of group exhibitions and has painted several public murals, one outdoor large-scale project most recently commissioned by Dropbox.
Words and images via Public Land
The term Mother Lode can refer to a both a principal vein of ore, and a rich source, both of which conjure something valuable. Furr’s work references the feminine archetype, which she seeks to restore by working against the current phallocentric age and issuing in a new yonic era. If a phallic signifier points to action, explosion, and fortitude, a yonic signifier points to the subconscious, the sublime, and the cosmic void. A phallus points outward, a yonis inward. If the phallic is physical, the yonic is celestial. It is a portal into the dark unknown.
The paintings are small but impactful. Oil paint is slathered on with thick maneuvers, yet is controlled and detailed in its execution. Compositions are tight with objects bouncing off the edges as a way to create object to space tension. The small size of the work asks the viewer to move closer to create an intimate experience.
Furr grew up on the Midwestern prairie and that landscape influences her choices in painting. The daytime colors of gold, cerulean, yellow and white oppose the nighttime colors of emerald, indigo and black. The enormous starry skies offered her a glimpse into the vastness of the universe.Through the small window of her paintings, Furr disassembles symbols from patriarchal systems to show the female aspect breaking through. (Words and images via Sargent's Daughters Gallery)
The geometric patterns of Santa Fe converge with beautiful landscapes in Matthew Mullins' oil paintings. Mullins is deeply influenced by the interconnection of human consciousness and the natural world. By placing these weaving and geometric patterns over landscapes, Mullins wills us to think not only about the natural world but also the web or path we follow within it. For this reason, he will often incorporate natural materials, like Mica, into his paintings. (Words and images via Vision West Contemporary)
The title of the exhibition, The unspeakable openness of things, is a phrase that philosopher Timothy Morton uses when describing art and it resonates strongly with the artist. Eliasson describes how “Art exists both in and beyond the realm of language. Before the form of an artwork emerges, there’s a not-quite-graspable feeling that flows into the artistic process – and that remains in the finished work as something that cannot be fully expressed. At the same time, the artwork is fundamentally open to visitors. It is ready to listen to them, and able to host their questions and experiences.”
As Yan Shijie observes, “Like the leader of a think-tank, Eliasson uses art to protect, vocalize, and inspire consensus and action from the perspective of climate and civilization. He navigates the depth of time, changing light and shadow, advocates dialogue between man and nature, and practices the philosophy of harmony between heaven and humanity. Every piece of work by Eliasson is carefully presented in this exhibition to reveal new tension and dimensions to the artist’s oeuvre. He may have one hundred ideas for a piece of work, and then delete them one by one. In the end, there may be only one pure essence left. We tried to perfectly combine the spaces of the Red Brick Art Museum with the energy released from the works of Eliasson; to display an art scene with a profound dialogue between the work and the space. When the viewers enter the exhibition and immerse themselves in the experience of science and technology, the works provide them with heightened sensations and awareness.” (Words and Images via Red Brick Art Museum).
Fragments of urban life and daydreams unite the works of Rachelle Bussières and Courtney Sennish in Concrete Utopia on view at Johansson Projects. The works lure you in through their use of color and material; comparing the softness of a sky palette to the texture of concrete. Both artists, sculpting their mediums, record different processes of perceiving, experiencing and relating to the physical world.
For Bussières, the lumen print process allows her to layer colored light exposures of cut shapes to build a glowing geometric presence. She considers the light of specific geographical locations when creating. In the darkroom, in the studio and outside, her shapes are manipulated, overlapped or aligned, to create records of sculpted moments. The dusty pinks and lavenders regress next to glowing yellow shapes, akin to lunar moments viewed through architecture. The photograms radiate next to Sennish’s concrete sculptures which stand as silent urban monuments. Her sculptures are made of familiar textures and materials that become symbols of our constructed landscape. She stacks, puzzles and combines moments recorded during her city walks. In her work, our relationship to nature within the built environment is recorded as a single tree shadow. (Words and images via Johansson Projects)
"My practice focuses on our experience with light and how it interacts with the world. I am interested in the way it impacts modern human consciousness and defines our existence. Using the formal properties of photography, light, paper and chemistry, I create photograms by using the lumen print process through layers of artificial and natural light from a specific location. The different colors and hues are the result of the combinations of these lights while also embodying the time and location where and when the printing process took place. Thus, each piece is about the variations of the elements of the specific space and time." - Rachelle Bussieres
"My artwork examines the urban landscape through isolating specific moments and features found through my pilgrimage. I grant a spatial story to these accumulations through research into the history of the landscape’s geography as well as intuitive experiential qualities. These works collage the flat and vast worlds that exist simultaneously within and before us. The diverse mediums represent different processes of perceiving, experiencing and relating to the world around us." - Courtney Sennish
Taurus and the Awakener takes its title from the astrological lexicon, and makes reference to the recent ingress of the planet Uranus into the zodiacal sign of Taurus. In his 1995 book Prometheus the Awakener, cultural historian Richard Tarnas describes how astrologers have come to associate Uranus with “change, rebellion, freedom, liberation, reform, revolution, and the unexpected breakup of structures; with excitement, sudden surprises, lightning-like flashes of insight, revelations and awakenings.” Suggesting that the planet was misnamed, he instead connects its archetypal terrain to the myth of Prometheus, who disobediently stole fire from the gods in an egalitarian act of technology-sharing.
Uranus entered Taurus in May 2018, and will remain there, save for a brief return to Aries later this year and early next, until July 2025. Taurus, as a sign whose symbolism is related to the sensual, the earthy, the grounded, and the fecund, would seem to counteract the excitability and ruthless penchant for innovation that define the Uranian archetype. But combining their themes conjures visions of radical natural structures and an eclectic, searching femininity that inspires a distinctly embodied form of sense perception.
It is this spirit that Taurus and the Awakener seeks to channel by juxtaposing sculptures whose intellectual rigor and experimental ethos are inextricable from their physical expression. Materials used to make the works on view include glazed clay, tires, cigarette packs, incense, dyed velvet, bronze, and broken mirror. They are alternately imposing, ephemeral, dimensional, and provocatively flat; some explode with–or explode as–psychedelic bursts of color, while others rely upon subtle and brooding variations of hue to bring out the intensity of their textures. Rich in concepts articulated via non-linguistic modes, the exhibition teems with intricate patterns and esoteric geometries.
These broader formal considerations are rooted in conversations that emerge between individual works. For example, the intense, monumental presence of Chakaia Booker’s sculptures built from sliced tires, which function as wide-ranging metaphors for a host of social and environmental conditions–labor, race, class, urban development–enter into idiosyncratic dialogue with the assemblage constructions of Paul Pascal Thériault, in which constellations of cigarette packs and other found materials are perched on shelves or pedestals. Both artists bring new life to discarded objects by subjecting them to an abstract sense of order.
Polly Apfelbaum reformulates the category of the monumental altogether in a sprawling floor-bound work composed from quantities of dyed fabric pieces. Essentially a horizontal painting, it nonetheless has a distinct materiality that allows it to keep some of its many feet in the realm of sculpture. Such dismantling of genre divisions is a recurring theme. In an example from Betty Woodman’s Aztec Vase and Carpet series, a large-winged ceramic vessel rests on a piece of canvas layered with flat ceramic fragments; all elements have been glazed or painted with bright colors and patterns so that they unify in a Cubist-inspired tour de force of spatial illusion and visual rhythm. Ruby Neri, whose contributions to the show also come in the form of ceramic vessels, produces boldly Venusian images of the female body, glazing the undulating sides of large pots with relief paintings of women in Dionysian revelry.
The human–or humanoid–form plays an equally important role for Huma Bhabha. Her hybridized figures take many shapes, with some immediately recognizable as people or creatures, and others built from rough-hewn, harder-edged, modular components; what unites them is their mysterious emotional availability. Mindy Shapero’s totemic sculptures, with their psychedelic vortices of rainbow color, retain human warmth even when they depart completely from figuration. In one new work, two sizable interlocking circles, covered with swirls of puffy paint and reflective shards, are like the rings of planets, or rings of smoke blown by a fanciful deity.
The galleries will in fact be filled with the smoke wafting from Evan Holloway’s incense holders, whose cylindrical forms–made from steel, plaster, clay, and other materials–also bear melancholic and slightly sinister stains left behind by the spent batteries used to create the characteristic circular openings in their surfaces. Holloway pits an avuncular, even hopeful otherworldliness against the unromantic facts of life on Earth in an era profoundly marked by the effects of industrial processes. The relationship between nature and artifice comes to the fore in works by Arlene Shechet, especially one in which a painted wood base supports ceramic forms that themselves appear to have been crafted by natural forces.
Throughout much of this exhibition, art follows the way of nature, guided by its innate compositional drives and responding to its sense of proportion. Barbara Chase-Riboud’s sculptures, made from ribbon-like lengths of bronze and silk cords, are poetic exercises in polarity. They combine extremes of hardness and softness, rigidity and flexibility, and structure and ornament, and not only suggest that the most powerful innovation might in fact be a radical act of synthesis, but remind us that the physical world in which we live is constantly inventing ways to unify and balance itself. Given that an instinct toward violent ideological polarity has become a defining feature of our species, perhaps Uranus’s transit through Taurus over the next seven years symbolizes the paradoxical shock that will accompany true harmony, if and when it comes. (Words and images via David Kordansky Gallery.)
Known for integrating words with line drawings, Russell continues his exploration on themes of hope and human connection using play and poetry to communicate his message. Ten large paintings on panel, in addition to a suite of over 50 of the artist’s “fake fliers” mounted to panel, as well as an installation featuring smaller wooden sculptures, are all elements to be on view during the exhibition. In offering a selection of work in different sizes and prices, Russell underscores his passion for cultivating community through art.
Often using humor as an entry point, Russell provokes viewers to consider their place in the universe. His clever words and bold graphics illuminate sad truths of contemporary culture, as well as empowering values. These themes of hope, reflection and transcendence take on a particular significance against a contemporary backdrop of cultural disconnection and distraction. The artist expands on this sentiment in a new series of paintings that exude the same harmony without the use of text, rather through expressive forms. This collection of large-scale paintings on panel—featuring naturalistic forms, cut and rejoined much like a jigsaw puzzle—are suggestive of objects coming together through abstract compositions and formations. Large color blocks and lines sweeping off the frame elude to a raised hand, or a simple symmetrical shape topped with a white sphere implies a dandelion, are examples of this body of work.
Nathaniel Russell explains, "I want to create work that is sincere, hopeful and optimistic. I hope that when someone walks away, that they have learned something about another person—therefore about themselves."
Additionally, the artist presents an installation featuring his fake books series, smaller woodcut sculptures, as well as a 38-foot wall with over 50 fake fliers mounted to panel. While his intent is for the viewer to find meaning in community and the interconnectedness of all beings, the artist engages us in lightness with sculptures of books never published, flyers for events that don’t exist, and a few pieces that are small enough to fit in your hand. Peace Jazz is the culmination of the diverse modes of communication in Russell’s practice, each piece a tangible representation of the artist’s ethos. (Words and images via Gallery 16)
Alignments, the inaugural exhibition co-curated by Santiago R. Guggenheim and Claudia Paetzold featuring works by Tatiana Trouvé, Artur Lescher and Margo Trushina explores the human journey through both physical and metaphysical realms. Redefining the spatial and conceptual parameters of the art experience, the organic shapes and meandering expanses of IK LAB’s unique exhibition spaces immerse the visitor in a meditative state, serving as a gateway to discovery and connectedness.
Artur Lescher reveals an invisible spatial structure through the verticality of his suspended sculptures. In this redesigned space the visitor’s perception of matter is questioned by seemingly fluid floor based marble and basalt pieces unveiling infinity.
The relativity of perception is revealed in Margo Trushina’s works. The apparent solidity of rocks is transcended by undulating polished metal shapes projecting matter into movement, while the flickering neon dissolves the illusion of permanence of the bright white human outline.
A 12 meter high adjacent dome built according to ancient principles of sacred geometry is reached through a passageway across a natural water flow. It houses Tatiana Trouve’s 250 Points Toward Infinity, 250 pendulums descending from the heights of the dome in diagonal lines pointing towards an intricate constellation on the ground as if directed by invisible hands.
While dialoguing with the uneven floor and meanders of the first space the artworks operate as poetic gestures orchestrating an explorative journey, the installation in the dome becomes an invitation to meditate in the presence of a metaphoric union of heaven and earth. (Words and images via IK LAB)
A Forgiving Sunset exhibits Albrecht’s most recent body of work offering an evolved approach to his unique graphic languages. Largely rooted in typography, his work reconsiders the relationship of message and viewer. With each work being made up of dozens, sometimes several hundreds of individual pieces that are cut, sanded, painted and re-assembled, often at varied depths, the works shift the conversation to a more visual language of relationships starting with form and color.
The narratives of Scott’s work often pull from or reference his own experiences and distill them into a more universal interpretation to allow the viewer to relate their own experiences, and in turn showing how we are more connected by these shared events. Recalling the works in the exhibition he says: “The work for this show pulls from a range of experiences and inspirations over the last two years. A recurring point of reference in the work was the social climate and the growing gaps I was seeing among relationships — both on a cultural level as well as a personal level — and my own desire to return to something more connected. When I began this collection I developed a somewhat daily habit of listening to the poem, Desiderata by Max Ehrmann. Although it was originally written in 1927, it is, among many things, a fairly timeless call for empathy, compassion and understanding, which seems just as relevant and needed today as I’m sure it did when it was written.”
Among the works this influence plays out in various ways whether it’s showing the commonalities of our shared differences (e.g. “From You” light & dark), or referencing our own personal histories that inform our paths (e.g. “A Series of Moments”) these works are a call to moving forward in today's tumultuous times. The title of the exhibition, A Forgiving Sunset, serves as a metaphor for healing and starting anew. These references of intimate moments and larger societal events are built upon a common history, and these works are the artifacts of his individual experience that he is now sharing with the public. By personally reflecting on these larger themes, and distilling them into the work, he reveals one avenue of this interconnectedness.
It is impossible to speak of the equation known as The RAMM:ELL:ZEE without acknowledging the cypher that he was; an arsenal of contradictions conveyed through an unremitting verbal and creative flow. At once manic genius, prolific polymath, irascible overlord, charming hustler, quantum hobbyist, and incoherent madman; at the core, Rammellzee was a supreme myth-maker, one who makes sense of the senseless.
As a young graffiti writer and MC growing up in the urban miasma that was New York City in the 1970s, Rammellzee existed from the start as an outlier. Born of mixed African-American and Italian heritage, and raised in the projects of Far Rockaway, aka Rocky Far-Away—the isolated seaside community stationed at the southern end of the A train—he bore his singular street identity as a mantle of the alien and otherworldly.
The official mythos begins with legal decree in 1979, abandoning his given name, and adopting the militaristic equation The RAMM:ELL:ZEE as his lawful moniker. It was also this year that Rammellzee penned the first of a series of complex, discursive, visionary manifestos detailing his ever-developing cosmology of Gothic Futurism and the concept of Ikonoklast Panzerism. Rammellzee perceived language as a structurally-flawed agent of an antagonistic societal operating system. He formulated an evolution of wildstyle lettering that would liberate, weaponize, and deploy the letter like an immune system response, circulating an attack on what he called contemporary “diseased culture” and the institutions of control.
Steadfast in his mission, Rammellzee advanced his mythos of Gothic Futurism through various arenas of power. After having earned a reputation as a seminal graffiti writer and MC by the early 1980s, he caught the attention of the contemporary art world, where he quickly ascended the ranks finding further opportunity and bedrock for the development of his ideologies. Where kinetic subway cars provided the viral methodology needed to distribute his burgeoning theories, the artworld of the 1980s—influential, wealthy, and eager to harness the vitality of authentic, New York graffiti writers—proved to be the vessel best suited to propel the war machine.
Over the next decade, he would produce, with unassailable acumen, a diverse and materially-rich body of work, much of which was quickly acquired and tucked away in collections throughout Europe. As the decade came to a close, the frequency of exhibitions and museum shows thinned. Conveniently, the mythos, poised for the next phase, had already begun work on what would become his magnum opus and the final leg of his corporeal mission.
By the early 1990s, the increasing density and complexity of Rammellzee’s epistemology necessitated a materialization of ideas and proliferation of personalities, made real through elaborate epoxy-driven assemblages and costumes. His Tribeca loft, a sprawling, uncontainable construction known as the Battlestation, became the hangar for his fleet of Letter Racers, Monster Models, and Garbage Gods, all forged from the detritus of the local consuming class. In a schizophrenic gesture, Rammellzee himself fragmented into oppositional battalions of alien bookies and demi-god gangsters, tricked out with ornate robes, masks, and weaponry exquisitely crafted and engineered from garbage. Performing as these various identities, Rammellzee presented in its most complex and fully realized form the binary battle of opposition that pervaded his mythology.
RAMMΣLLZΣΣ: Racing for Thunder presents, for the first time, a diverse selection of artworks, music, writings, rare archival documentation, and ephemera, gathered from disparate sources around the world, to outline a chronology of this remarkably complicated artist. Told by the people closest to him, the collection of oral histories, recorded on site and presented throughout the exhibition, act as a shared history, framing Rammellzee’s influence and memorializing the man who inspired, compelled, and galvanized nearly every person he encountered. While enigmatic and esoteric, Rammellzee’s work is also premonitory, warning that language has been co-opted as a tool of social and political manipulation. It is safe to say that we are far closer to the beginning, than the end of measuring the full impact left by The RAMM:ELL:ZEE.
Playful and ambiguous, his luminous and ostensibly radioactive worlds suggest a metaphysical interest in the possibility of alternate realities: the endlessly shapeshifting and protean nature of fantasy at the intersection of the imagined and "real." Wallace's paintings combine realistic rendering with elements of the surreal, and near-magical references that include eerily cast light sources bordering on the supernatural. Playful and macabre, his works combine intense thematic contrasts between light and dark to achieve suspense and evasion.
Children are a recurring theme in his compositions, representing a kind of primordial link to something invisible and beyond comprehension, exempt from the rationalizations of the adult. Often using his own children as models, Wallace's narratives are open-ended, filled with suggestion and partial disclosures rather than forceful assertions or posited certainties. The themes of connection and communication resonate throughout Wallace's imagery, as the works' protagonists seem ever in search of fugitive contact. The skeleton is a recurring figure throughout Wallace's imagery as well, appearing at times as a sinister harbinger of some kind and at others as Halloween costume level kitsch.
Wallace's pieces convey a kind of sci-fi nostalgia harkening back to a Spielberg-era of extraterrestrial-themed filmmaking. At times their implied innocence and naiveté give way to darker and more dystopian readings, surfacing amidst the neon-hued glow.
Juan Travieso creates visually complex worlds suspended in a state of fracture. Dismantled into seismic shards, these fragments are subject to the disorienting effects of constant spatial interruption. Combining a realist painting technique with surreal juxtapositions, spatial splicing, bright palettes, and geometric abstraction, Travieso conveys the textures of a universe in breach, distorted and split by its endless potential for loss. Fascinated by the extinction of countless endangered species and the often irrevocable influence of human intervention, Travieso presents the reality of a world in transition. His compositions often look like digitized renderings, informed by the awkward, artificial simultaneity of 3-D models, and devolve in moments to pixelated digital facsimiles, reminding us of the unavoidably temporal nature of disappearance.
Travieso was born in Havana, Cuba. He credits his love of color in his work to the scarcity of resources in his home country, a stark contrast to the sheer availability of art supplies and imagery in the US. Inspired by this profusion of access to information and paint colors, the artist has taken on a series dedicated to endangered bird species, capturing them on the cusp of imminent disappearance. In the works, their facets are compartmentalized into geometric patterns and their edges striated to dissolve into quasi-architectural grids. A requiem of sorts for the irremediably compromised state of our biodiversity, Travieso's paintings capture the cataclysmic energy of its decay and the transience of this biological exhaustion and loss, proposed in stark contrast to the permanent ambitions of the digital age. This re-articulation of environmental damage through the visual and graphic language of digital culture gets at the fundamental contradiction between the organic and the artificial, the finite and the infinite; the natural world is forever at odds with the perpetuity of artificial, manmade technologies.
As an activist and environmentalist, Travieso hopes that his dynamic works will draw attention to the ecological carelessness we've abetted and the necessity of our continued vigilance in the preservation of what's left. This compassion for the vulnerable and voiceless has clear political affinities for Travieso, relating to his personal experiences growing up in Communist Cuba where persecution for perceived dissent was a constant threat and the silencing of censorship unavoidable. Perhaps in keeping with this tendency to combine oppositions like freedom and constraint, Travieso depicts the lawlessness and diversity of nature at odds with the enforced geometry of human constructs.
When René Magritte reached his 40s, something unexpected happened. The painter, who had honed an iconic Surrealist style between 1926 and 1938, suddenly started making paintings that looked almost nothing like his earlier work. First he adopted an Impressionist aesthetic, borrowing the sweet, hazy palette of Pierre-Auguste Renoir―which he described as “sunlit Surrealism.” Then his style shifted again, incorporating popular imagery, the brash colors of Fauvism and the gestural brushwork of Expressionism. And then Magritte returned to his classic style as if nothing had happened.
René Magritte: The Fifth Season looks at the art Magritte made during and after the stylistic crises of the 1940s, revealing his shifting attitudes toward painting. Subjects explored in this volume include the artist’s Renoir period; the période vache, with its Fauvist- and Expressionist-style paintings that are little known to American audiences; the “hypertrophy of objects” paintings, a series that plays with the scale of familiar objects; and the enigmatic Dominion of Lightsuite, paintings that suggest the simultaneous experience of day and night.
Featuring full-color plates of approximately 50 oil paintings, and a dozen of the artist’s gouaches, René Magritte: The Fifth Season offers a new understanding of Magritte’s special position in the history of 20th-century art.
In a career of almost half a century, Belgian Surrealist René Magritte (1898–1967) probed the distance between object, language and image. Even as he playfully explored new styles, his painting practice remained consistent in its cautionary message not to equate the observable world with reality in all its fullness.
"Collaboration between Aaron Glasson and myself in the jungle of Tulum, México. Tulum was once a part of the Mayan empire but was one of the first points of contact for the Europeans who invaded and colonized Mexico. Our sculpture is based on a Mayan prophecy that says their ancestors are waiting underground for the right time when their ancient powers will return. We created one of the ancestors peeking their head up out of the ground. Vining plants will be planted around it so that eventually the head will have plants and moss growing on it. Our head was crafted by 11 talented artisans in just 4 days and you can find it at Holistika Tulum. Feel free to go hang out in it! It fits many people. Thank you Residencia Gorila, Tulum Art Club, and Luis' team of workers who kept us company in the jungle and tried to teach us some of their Mayan language". - Celeste Byers
Lincoln is a committed figurative painter with a bent towards the surreal, making works that depict the world and then give way to a certain slow-burning abstraction and symbolism. At face value her oeuvre features closely observed representations of plants and other elements of the natural world: ocean, sand, sun, moon, clouds, mountains, and volcanos. To render these the artist relies on sources ranging from the familiar (Lincoln’s own backyard), to the splendid (elaborate botanical gardens), to the virtual (images found on the internet), adeptly weaving together disparate imagery to create fantastic worlds rooted in the real.
Lincoln’s hard-earned painterly language, marked by opaque planes of keyed up color, graphic clarity, and flattened pictorial space, brings a somewhat cartoonish quality to each landscape, highlighting the otherworldliness of the forms depicted and inviting entry into almost alien worlds. Playfulness abounds, but it is also a smokescreen for a latent, more complex psychological content. The paintings’ insistence on formal repetition (gently pulsing light gradients and repeating motifs of leaves, stars, clouds) asks the viewer to slow down during the experience of looking and take in each compositional twist and turn. Plants take on uncanny anthropomorphic qualities and seem to exert their will on the structure of the image, competing with and complementing one another as if characters on a stage. This exhibition finds Lincoln deftly threading the needle between the familiar and strange, beauty and mystery.
Jen Stark’s art is driven by her interest in conceptualizing visual systems to simulate plant growth, evolution, infinity, fractals, mimetic topographies, and sacred geometries. Using available materials—paper, wood, metal, paint—Stark strives to make work that balances on a razor’s edge of optical seduction and perceptual engagement.
The resulting works often resemble organic, molecular, cloud-like structures, and are imbued with kinetic, undulating effects that serve to dislocate the viewer from staid reality into an immersive ecosphere of echoing patterns and the implausible designs found in nature. Even her vivid colors are in direct conversation with the natural world; the attractant/repellent properties of flowers encouraging pollination or insects warning birds of their poisonous traits, and the luminous mystery of phosphorescent sea creatures are among Stark’s concerns.
Like the goddess of daybreak in Homer’s Odyssey, Sarah Anne Johnson’s new landscapes recur with beauty and wonder, in a multitude of guises. In her eighth solo show at this gallery, she is taking a more general approach, not limiting herself to a specific place or distinct history. She’s focusing on photographic tropes- landscape scenes from a variety of places that depict sublime natural beauty. But as always, the artist is concerned with the loop between photographic object and “reality.” She poses serious questions, and answers with seductive playfulness. Once again she is trying to bridge that space through the psychology of place, and the dividing line between what is real and what is felt- a quality that remains a balancing act in all of her projects.
Johnson has added materials that undermine the seriousness of these scenes, and with humor she mocks our traditional sense of beauty and high art. Relief elements such as cotton balls artificial flowers and heavily applied epoxy, holographic tape, the use of photoshop and spray paint, all of these interventions gently push us to question our complicated relationship to nature and photography. How are photographs connected to reality, and how is that connection changing? How can we idealize nature with the knowledge of our globally threatened environment?
Instead of trying to harmoniously fuse the real and ideal, she plays with their parallel lives by forcing together contradictions- high and low, two and three D, sincerity and mockery. She provokes delight and suspicion. The emotional push and pull implicates the viewer in contrast to the distance of cool criticality.
This new body of work by the UK-based duo showcases their uniquely distinguishable compositions of archival ballpoint pen on paper, as well as acrylic paintings on primed aluminum panel.
Twists & Turns is comprised of two narratives; fluid deconstructed landscapes representing a calm isolation through reflection and contemplation, and hard-edged geometrics exuding energy and optimism. These parallel concepts are characterized by the duo’s hallmark precision line work, a slow methodic process of building individual thin lines upon each other creating tense kinetic compositions while a certain fragility remains. The works explores the relationship between color, shape and illusion. How the thin lines can change your perception of the shape ’twisting and turning’ you confusing the foreground and background and inviting you to float in-between the two. The tidal-like waves and intense sunbursts hint at environmental uncertainty but always hopeful of a brighter future through change.
Emil Lukas’ exquisitely strange and phenomenological objects are meditations on the way we perceive the world. “We’re affected by lots of things that are larger than us — things we don’t normally know how to see — for example the laws of physics,” says Lukas. “I’m attempting to make the invisible, visible.”
Labor-intensive and experimental, playful and poetic, surprising and delightful, Lukas’ sculptures and sculptural paintings grow out of investigations into gravity, perspective, mathematics, color theory and the properties of light.
Round “paintings” — actually parabolic bowls with tens of thousands of colored threads stretched across — manipulate our sense of space and definition of color. Chunky, plaster works composed of honeycombs of multi-colored pixels create optically vibrating fields, their convex surfaces disrupting our perception of depth. And the centerpiece of the exhibition, a monumental, pixilated, aluminum lens, both restricts and restructures our line of sight.
This exhibition is an examination of seeing, where optics — the study of sight and the behavior of light — is a metaphor for the human ability to derive insight from abstract concepts. “We have two eyes and they are set into our heads in a way that determines our reality — our perspective. Those notions of the way the world exists are what I’m trying to upend.”
Emil Lukas was born in Pittsburgh, PA. He has exhibited extensively internationally and has been collected by, among many others, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Anderson Collection. Lukas has been represented by Hosfelt Gallery since 2006. This is our sixth solo exhibition together.