Melissa Gordon

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Melissa Gordon

Work from her oeuvre.

“‘Material Evidence’ was Melissa Gordon’s first solo exhibition in a public space in the UK, the result of a residency hosted by Spike Island and Spike Print Studio. As well as site-specific productions, the show included work from three ongoing series – Gordon’s continuing investigations into the legacy of Modernist abstraction and the intimacies of process. The particular success of ‘Material Evidence’ was how Gordon synthesized in her site-specific work both her inter-series dialogues and her response to the eight-metre-high main gallery.

This response was Structures for Viewing (2013), a two-colour triptych and diptych. Each set of canvases comprises screen-printed blocks of halftone lines on the diagonal, and, suspended a couple of metres in front of these, wooden frames strung with nylon cords of contrasting colours, threaded on the opposing diagonal. Patterns of disturbance occurred where blocks had been overlaid, while further interference could be introduced by the visitor, either via his or her movement through the gallery, or by viewing the prints through the half-mesh of the suspended screens. To walk between screen and canvas felt disruptive.

Process – or, rather, the evidence of process – is the focus of Gordon’s ‘Material Evidence’ series, which she began in 2011. The two paintings created for this show, Material Evidence (Table)and Material Evidence (Wall) (both 2013), were based on photos of the work surfaces in Gordon’s London studio, the images blown up and cropped to highlight details then re-created on canvas. The series title recalls an earlier painting of Gordon’s, Crimeboard for an Elusive Primadonna (2005), a montage of images from an incident room. ‘Material Evidence’ similarly depicts a presence indicating an absence, a series of traces in place of a missing referent.

The term ‘Material Evidence’ suggests proof, but also justification – a loaded term in the context of Gordon’s ‘Blow Up’ series (2011), her study of Western Modernism’s legacy of patriarchal abstraction. Gordon is on the look-out for weaknesses in the male line: she researches reproductions of works by canonical artists (Mondrian, Pollock and Van Doesburg), specifically, images that reproduce visible traces of deterioration in the original work. She then abstracts from these abstracts: enlarging these signs of distress, she highlights the works’ limited life span as objects in the world, simultaneously extracting from them new abstractions. The resulting black and white screen-prints suggest the inkiness and granularity of photocopies of photocopies; they speak of well-worn, over-handled images.

Similar strategies of mediation and abstraction are evident in a third line of enquiry, the series ‘The Daily News RIP’ (2013), in which Gordon engages with the structures of newspaper layouts to create scenarios for abstract composition. Taking the front pages of now-defunct newspapers, Gordon empties them of text and uses the remaining grid structures as the basis for full-colour paintings. This exercise brings to mind Kenneth Goldsmith’s Day(2003), where he transcribed all the text printed in The New York Times on 1 September 2000. The weighting of news items via the paper’s layout and grid structure was removed in Goldsmith’s act of transcription, hierarchies of significance destabilized by facile juxtapositions. In Gordon’s two diptychs, Daily Evening Star/The Washington Star (1852–1981) and Daily Evening Transcript/Boston Evening Transcript (1848–1941) (both 2013), suggestions of informational hierarchy were retained by the structures, despite their being emptied of text: her use of colour to fill in the grids suggested an encoding, rather than an elimination, of the original content.

Thematic ley lines cut across this show, paralleling the cross-hatching created in Structures for Viewing by the interactions be­tween viewer, canvas and screen. These cross-currents were not restricted to the gallery: the field of response and counter-response extended across the nearby river, to the Arnolfini Gallery and Ian Hamilton Finlay’s exhibition there: among the hundreds of postcards on display was one bearing the text, ‘Join the Saint-Just Vigilantes and be a counter-composition.’ The accompanying image, a black abstract which brought to mind one in Gordon’s own ‘Blow Up’ series, with a note from Finlay: ‘acknowledgement to Theo van Doesburg’.” – Natasha Soobramanien, Frieze Magazine 

Mike Womack

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Mike Womack

Work from his oeuvre.

“In his fourth exhibition with the gallery, Mike Womack presents 14 works of sculpture that act as mnemonic mausoleums. This body of work was conceived in the winter of 2011, while the artist was caring for his ailing mother, who was struggling with long and short term memory. Having a prior interest in various scientific subjects and theories (including mirror neurons), Womack came across the work of neuroscientist Yadin Dudai and was struck by his comment that recollections are corrupted each time one thinks of them, and thus “the safest memories are those in the brain of people who cannot remember.”

Womack compiled a list of compelling memories and worked with a hypnotherapist to retrieve the unrecalled memories. During the sessions, the artist, an accomplished draftsman, would make charcoal drawings of each memory before the hypnotist instructed him to forget the content of their sessions. With the help of the therapist and an assistant, the drawings were covered, catalogued by the memory and the artist’s age at the time, and then never seen by the artist.

“I wanted to extract early memories in the form of drawings and re-entomb them in a surrogate vault so that one could see the residue of the extraction but never truly know what’s there – so I decided to cast them in concrete. I was drawn to this fragile understanding of knowledge – that to know something is to ruin it. I see this starkly paralleling the Uncertainty Principle or Observer Effect and in this regard relates closely to my previous work on technology. After each drawing we spent a lot of time doing exercises that would allow me to forget and have no memory of what I’d drawn. I truly recall very little from these meetings and I have never seen any of the drawings, beyond the margins that are now visible in the sculptures. I then spent 9 months learning how to cast a sheet of paper into a block of concrete. I determined the best way was using glass fiber reinforced concrete in various combinations with steel, fiberglass mesh, and basalt rods. Each drawing is cast in just one pour – making for the strongest bond. I cast them while they were slip-sheeted and at the last moment I would pull off the slip sheet and place the drawing into the mold face down, so that the image was never visible to me.”

Womack’s concept aesthetically codifies an idea of uncertainty by casting the memory drawings in inscrutable concrete, a heartbreaking, obliterative dance with quantum mechanics. The lyrical charcoal gestures are subsumed by the comparatively stark, industrial material of their blocky, monolithic outer armor. With only the faintest charcoal scuffs as ghostly hints of evidence, each sculpture’s silent weight directly confronts the viewer’s imagination. The works are of varying size and shape; they lean, hang, rest on the floor and are mounted on the wall or pedestals. The result is both a deeply provocative, emotional investigation and an object lesson in the methods of display of modern sculpture, consolidating the visual whole in historical terms.

That both his parents passed away during the making of this body of work only enhances the potent poignancy of these sculptures. Accessing his earliest memories and then having the self control to preserve them unseen offers the epistemological consolation that knowing is possible.” – Zieher Smith Gallery

Price Bullington

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Price Bullington

Work from his oeuvre.

“My universe is an ongoing creation of my own mythology, it’s a reflection of my fleeting, ever evolving conciousness.

I turn my brain off when I create, it’s a moving meditation like Tai Chi where the end result is creation.

Like dreams my work reveals my unconcious through metaphors, riddles that needs to be deciphered.

I invite you to join me on this journey, see my works like advanced rorschach images, riddles only you can solve.

You have the keys to the kingdom, but you need to focus, don’t lose your balance or you might fall and lose yourself forever.” – Price Bullington

Megan Francis Sullivan

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Megan Francis Sullivan

Work from “Dropping Syllables” at Matthew, Berlin.

“On the exterior of Mathew, the colors of the Jamaican flag wrap the side window, projecting to the surrounding neighborhood. In the moment of the FIFA World Cup, flags call messages throughout the cityscape.

 

Based on a version of artist Tom Burr’s Screens, The J-Board is a mirrored paravent at the gallery’s entrance. While Burr explores and constitutes an autobiographical complex in his work, Sullivan shrugs off the affirmation of an ‘I’ by inventing an arbitrary system of identification—shifted down one letter to ‘J’. Michael Jordon, Jill Johnson, jury duty, Michael J. Fox, and the Jamaican flag are sudden affiliates. The mirrored surface on the front of the folding object catches the hedges beyond the gallery window and situates the viewer in the scene of the large-scale painting oppo- site.

 

The Untitled painting is based on a work by Rosa Bonheur, the French artist born in 1822, whose monumental painting The Horse Fair (1853) hangs prominently in New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. Rosa Bonheur made The Horse Fair in the mid-1850s, early in her career. It was an immediate success. Subsequently, Bonheur seemed less interested in the making of masterpieces than the pursuit of her own eccentric version of artistic existence.

 

A chateau in Fontainebleau hosted all sorts of exotic animals for her to paint, and she is said to have enjoyed consistent demand for her animal portraits from prominent supporters. Manipulated at will to update and alter its narrative screen, Sullivan’s reenactment of the painting was a performance of a flamboyant fantasy of the masterpiece.

 

In the office are a series of works on paper, Stags #1-4. Based on motifs found in the 1900 catalogue raisonné of Rosa Bonheur produced by gallerist Georges Petit of Paris, the stags in the woods might, in a non-linear reading, suggest an innuendo to gay cruising.

 

Underlying the works are arcs of expression that involve acts of making, using, and shuffling; not loyal or invested in ideas of identity or time, they employ references and symbols that undermine and renew their signifying possibilities.” – Matthew

Ben Schumacher

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Ben Schumacher

Work from Rebirth of the Bath House

“Schumacher’s brief experience as an architect gave him an interest in diagrams, notes and drawings, as well as models, material samples and more or less sophisticated printing and graphic techniques. But what has also actively enriched his art is the abstract side of architecture, particularly “speculative execution” based on methods of production assisted, if not entirely generated, by computers, and, more specifically, artificial intelligence software that creates its own computing architecture and programmatic structures, evolving in an autonomous manner with regard to the amounts and types of data involved.

Rebirth of the Bath House is to be taken at face value, given that it comprises, among other things, a response to a call for tenders to renovate a bath house in New York. Schumacher was assisted by young architect Andrea Macias-Yanez, to whom he delegated part of the design, the formal aspects and the technical execution of this sculptures and images, e.g. the 3D simulations, models and flexograph printing.”

Khalil Rabah

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Khalil Rabah

Work from his oeuvre.

“Khalil Rabah’s Palestinian Museum of Natural History and Humankind (2003–ongoing) is an elusive national museum that was established, in the words of its newsletter, “to inspire wonder, encourage discovery, and promote knowledge.” With departments spanning fields such as botany, geology, and paleontology, the Museum through its newsletter assumes a cheerful naturalism as it describes botanical research encountering territorial obstacles in the field, or considers the legal rights of trees and other natural objects. As a playful reading of the political reality of Palestine that also implicates the blissfully remote framing mechanisms of the natural history museum, we encounter a complex geological and geopolitical wink when its Earth and Solar System Department announces its fascination with how our world is “constantly being remolded by powerful forces beyond our control.”

For his exhibition at e-flux, Rabah presents the Summer 2011 issue of the Museum’s newsletter, which takes on three new forms: a printed copy of the twenty-four-page document stacked on the exhibition floor for visitors to take; a glaring red neon sign of the cover’s headline, In this issue: Statement concerning the institutional history of the museum, installed nearby as a stand-in exhibition title; and a new series of paintings based on pages of the Museum’s most recent newsletter, suspended in sliding archival racks. Here Rabah explores ways of both spatializing and personifying the Museum and the ideas it represents at an important moment of institutional reflection. Staging the display of these highly abstracted physical forms in a schematic representation of an art institution’s gallery and storage space, Rabah enacts a warped, cyclical process of materialization and dematerialization, ultimately implying the impossibility of an idea becoming form in the first place.

In a gallery adjacent to this storage space pages 7, 8, and 9 of the twenty-four page Summer 2011 newsletter have been extracted from the Museum archives to become a series of paintings, giving them and their content prominence over the remaining twenty-one pages. The three pages on display report on the Botanical Section’s recent international conference in Palestine, Conservation in the 21st Century: A New Geo-Political Science, which feature a debate on the intertwined destinies of architecture, education, and politics; and the Education Section’s news of victory in the Swiss Federal Supreme Court for five olive trees that had been refused recognition and citizenship by both the United Nations and the Canton of Geneva. In discussing contemporary issues of exile, naturalization, and the rights of stateless beings, the paintings paradoxically articulate the Museum’s own resolutions on these topics. In order to ask what the form of a territory or subject of study must be, the Museum inverts the question: What is it not?

Khalil Rabah was born in 1961 in Jerusalem and studied architecture and fine arts at the University of Texas. Rabah is a co-founder of Al Ma’mal Foundation for Contemporary Art in Jerusalem in 1998 and of the Riwaq Biennial in 2005, and is also the founder of The Palestinian Museum of Natural History and Humankind. He is also a member since 2010 of the curriculum committee of Home Workspace Program, a pioneering educational initiative in Lebanon launched by Ashkal Alwan. Rabah has participated in several biennials including the Istanbul (2005), Liverpool (2008), Venice (2009) and Sharjah (2010) biennials; as well as group exhibitions, most recently at the Queens Museum of Art, Brooklyn (2009); Mathaf Museum of Modern Art, Doha (2011); Arnolfini, Bristol (2011–12); Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC) Marseille (2012); and the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2012). His solo exhibitions include Review, Beirut Art Center (2012), The Third Annual Wall Zone Sale, Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center, Ramallah (2004); 50,320 Names, Brunei Gallery, London (2007); United States of Palestine Airlines, Home Works, Beirut (2007); and Art Exhibition, Ready Made Representations, Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Hamburg (2012).” - e-flux

Martina Klein

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Martina Klein

Work from her oeuvre (and in part from her current exhibition at Galerie Tschudi.

“Martina Klein, born in 1962 in Trier (DE), makes large monochrome canvases, which are most of the time not hanging on the wall in an usual way, but stand against the wall or stand free in space, like an object. According to Klein the composition is not made in the painting it self but occurs in the space, within the relation of other paintings. The various monochromes make a choreography of color planes which defines the space and gives it character.

Klein builts up her painting with several layers of self made recepies of paint. Adding more pigments to the oil, give the painting a radiant effect. Her specific use of colors and the way of painting gives her work an extra quality. Recently she cuts the canvases loose of the stretchers, so that they hang partly free from their support.” – Slewe Gallery

Justin Hodges

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Justin Hodges

Work from Under Construction.

“The still life has an expansive history in artistic practice, generally conjuring images of tabletops filled with flowers and wine glasses. Less obvious, though, is its ubiquitous existence as advertising, spanning the gap from print to screen.

Simply, Under Construction is a body of work, which questions the way meaning is constructed, and the schemes that are employed to make a thing meaningful. Some, images are filled with tools, which provide a litmus test for a priori understanding. Fundamentally, a speed square makes any attempt to deconstruct the squareness of a right angel difficult. Others serve to question the effectiveness of the photograph as agent of validation.

In addition, Under Construction works to recontextualize the tropes of advertising, stock, and product photography through playful reorientations andpeculiar assemblages. As such, Under Construction investigates the ways in which images are used to construct meaning, and the manner in which changing contexts alter it.” – Justin Hodges

Ger van Elk

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Ger van Elk

Work from his oeuvre.

(1941-2014)

“”No one is more adept at calling attention to the way art calls attention to itself,” Susan Tallman wrote of van Elk in A.i.A. in 2009.

The advent of Fluxus and Happenings made Amsterdam a breeding ground of avant-garde activity during this time. Van Elk was associated with the influential Amsterdam gallery Art & Project, founded in 1968, alongside contemporaries like Gilbert & George, Jan Dibbets, Sol LeWitt, Lawrence Weiner and Allen Ruppersberg. Even so, the artist spent many of his most prolific years in New York and Los Angeles, where he was good friends with fellow Dutch expatriate artist Bas Jan Ader.

Recently, van Elk’s oeuvre has gained renewed interest. Art & Project alums were featured in the exhibition “In & Out of Amsterdam: Travels in Conceptual Art 1960-1976″ at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2009). “When Attitudes Become Form” was revived at the Fondazione Prada by Germano Celant during the 2013 Venice Biennale.

Van Elk’s practice defied singular classification. Throughout his career, the artist employed an interdisciplinary approach, working in mediums ranging from sculpture and installation to video and photography.

In an obituary posted on Kunstverein München’s website, director Bart van der Heide explained van Elk’s conviction that “truth and reality do not exist and that every depiction of this is inherently unreliable. As a rule of thumb—the more realistic an image appears, the greater the lie.”

The Kunstverein is currently hosting van Elk’s first solo exhibition in Germany since 1988 (through Aug. 31) and features recent as well as older works from the artist’s private collection.” – Julia Wolkoff, Art in America

Pierre Huyghe

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Pierre Huyghe

Work from his recent exhibition at Museum Ludwig.

“In The Host and the Cloud, a live ex­per­i­ment was car­ried out over the course of one year in an aban­doned ethno­graph­ic Mu­se­um in Paris. A group of peo­ple were ex­posed to live si­t­u­a­tions that ap­peared ac­ci­den­tal­ly in the en­tire build­ing. The Host and the Cloud is a ri­t­u­al of se­pa­ra­tion in which the in­flu­ences of a cul­ture were ex­or­cized, brought to contin­gen­cy, by a self-gen­er­at­ing op­er­a­tion. Some wit­ness­es in­vit­ed to en­ter the build­ing were left alone within the un­fold­ing ex­per­i­ment. In par­al­lel the event was filmed.

Dur­ing dOC­U­MEN­TA(13), Pierre Huyghe cre­at­ed Un­tilled, a com­post site within a baroque gar­den, a non hi­erarchi­cal as­so­ci­a­tion that in­clud­ed a sculp­ture of a re­clin­ing nude with a head ob­s­cured by a swarm­ing bee­hive, aphro­disi­ac and psy­chotrop­ic plants, a dog with a pink leg, an up­root­ed oak tree from Joseph Beuys’ 7,000 Oaks among other el­e­ments. This grow­ing sys­tem re­mained in­d­if­fer­ent to the pres­ence of the view­ers that en­coun­tered the site.

Both the dog, Hu­man, and the sculptue with the bee­hive-head are part of the ex­hi­bi­tion in Cologne.

For the first venue of this ret­ro­spec­tive—the Cen­tre Ge­orges Pompi­dou—the ex­hi­bi­tion root­ed it­self within the re­mains of the pre­vi­ous show, ded­i­cat­ed to Mike Kel­ley. Pierre Huyghe used the ex­ist­ing walls, dis­placed and cut them in or­der to place his works. For the se­cond pre­sen­ta­tion or “oc­currence” at the Lud­wig Mu­se­um, the works at­tached to their walls have been cut out of their pre­vi­ous en­vi­ron­ment and dis­placed to the Mu­se­um Lud­wig, en­ter­ing in con­tra­dic­tion with a dif­fer­ent ex­hi­bi­tion con­text and con­di­tion. For the artist, the ex­hi­bi­tion unites a dy­nam­ic sys­tem of works vary­ing in in­ten­si­ty, from which should emerge the pos­si­bil­i­ty of an event…” – Museum Ludwig

via Contemporary Art Daily.