Rachel de Joode

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Rachel de Joode

Work from Soft Inquiry.

The representation of objects, the consciousness of matter and the exposed and secret nature of things continue to be the main points of departure in de Joode’s latest body of work.

Through an installation of beguiling objects that straddle the realms of sculpture and image, de Joode chooses to focus on depictions and abstractions of basic and primordial materials such as clay (a mainstay for the artist), rocks and the occasional dash of algae. Swaths of skin and passages of boiling mud are images isolated from photographs to form lyrical compositions that nod to the physical and virtual worlds.

Organically shaped, bright and flesh colored clay appear sumptuous to the touch, but closer study reveals an even, smooth surface. All of the seeming tactility is frozen in photographs, which are cut and hung on handmade ceramic hooks. Textural paintings serve as a meditative focal point when descriptions of matter begin to act as new entities, divorced from the material they logically reference. Here, the surface of clay becomes a thing in itself.

As is common in de Joode’s work, questions of perception arise through a truncated, two-dimensional version of these materials (skin made to operate on the same phenomenological plane as mud) which go through an accordion-like process, beginning in full form, compressing, and finally extending into a state imbued with previous iterations.

The tenets of classical sculpture are observed through a process of creating poetic gestures. A cast of de Joode’s pinky toe enlarged and forged in bronze resonates with the aura of inferred grandeur. An enigmatic choice of subject for the historicity of bronze, the toe – the isolated body part – becomes an object in its own right and operates as a whole through the act of its abstraction. Hands enter from the tops and sides of images to lift, smear, or otherwise manipulate materials found within the frame – a narrative of intent that questions how we formulate visual culture through ever more complex systems of media, continuously encountering our origins anew.

Jordan Tate

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Jordan Tate

Work from Working From Photographs.

This interview accompanies Jordan Tate’s exhibitions, Working From Photographs, at Denny Gallery in New York City from March 15 to April 26, 2015, and concurrently at Angela Meleca Gallery in Columbus, Ohio. The title of the exhibition, “Working From Photographs,” refers both to
Tate’s background as an artist who has primarily worked in the medium
 of photography and to the photographic origins of much of our experience and knowledge of the subjects of the exhibition. Tate’s works include photographs of objects and objects based on photographs, ancient artifacts as well as modern day tourist photography, and thus he makes deliberately ambiguous the relationship between the artwork constructed by the artist in a studio and the appropriated image mined from vast, heterogeneous sources.

Jordan Tate (JT) interviewed by Elizabeth Denny (ED), March 2015.

ED: Why did you choose to call your second solo exhibition with Denny Gallery “Working From Photographs”?

JT: I view the photographic as the primordial medium of the post-internet era. Given my process, and the modus operandi of visual inquiry and production, I wanted to pay homage to the photograph both as the root of my experience, as well as the expansive governing force in work.

ED: What kind of artist are you?

JT: That is a more difficult question to answer than I would expect. Conceptually and rhetorically, I still very much consider myself a photographer, but materially I view myself as simply as an artist. This is in some way an attempt to have a discursive home in a medium to provide context for my work, thought process, and practice, while at the same time affording me the freedom to wildly experiment with forms and processes that aren’t traditionally considered photographic.
ED: What is the difference between the two sites of Working from Photographs- South America/Rapa Nui (exhibited at Angela Meleca Gallery) and The Levant (exhibited at Denny Gallery)?

JT: There is an important geographical and chronological shift that occurs between the two shows that acknowledges the photographic compression of these entities (8,000 miles and 3,000 years), and while both focus on “ancient” or “primitive” cultures, they, at their core deal with the notion of removed perception. The idea of removed perception to me is essentially photographic, in that the photograph can replace in us the need (or desire) of “having been there,” which may have been crucial to understand the thing.

While the archival photographs from the Met Museum do their best to capture the likeness, presence, or aura of the art objects they depict, they are still not “there”; there is a slippage between what we perceive as reality and what we perceive as the image. This has been my core concern with the photograph for the past decade.

The exhibition at Angela Meleca gallery focuses on 14th century South America and Rappa Nui while the exhibition at Denny Gallery in New York addresses the Levant (contemporary Middle east) circa 2000 B.C.E. to 0. While these two times and places are worlds apart, our perceptions are far less removed than that. The difference here is political – we view the Levant as a highly volatile region that governs (either through religion, history, or energy policy) a great deal of world politics – yet culturally, we group the Mesopotamians, Assyrians, Aztecs, Mayans, and all other so-called primitive peoples in the same group – ignoring the fact that Machu Picchu was constructed in the time of Michelangelo and 500 years after the founding of Oxford University.

And therein lies the rub – we celebrate Isaac Newton as one of the greatest minds in history while ignoring the unquantifiable contributions of cultures not embraced by western history– when the Levant could be considered to be the birthplace of writing, mathematics, literature, the wheel, astronomy, banking, and a code of laws.
ED: Unusually for an artist working with photography, your works have a strong immediacy that cannot be anticipated by looking at the images of the work. In this show, I was most struck by the appearance of printing dots that reveal that some of the images are scanned from books. Why is it important to consider the objecthood of the work and what factors into that consideration for you?

JT: Fundamentally, I was interested in showing the trace (origin) of the images. In a way, this happens in an archeological sense where you can see the “artifacts” of the printing process when translated to a different context. I wanted to acknowledge sources for the images that have the half-tone patterns and in that dialogue begin a discourse with myriad forms of the photograph both in a contemporary and historical context.

ED: You have used images of antiquities and ancient art in your work in the past. What dialogue do you wish to have with these objects? Or is the dialogue with the images, archiving techniques and historical preservation of these ancient things?

JT: Ironically, the sculptural artifacts are where the work gets more photographic. I am interested in the early polemics of the photograph as a medium that is capable of compressing both distance and time through the pursuit of taming the exotic and allowing the viewer, in a sense, to own an experience through the image. In many ways I am trying to point out the disconnect between the photographs, these places, and the objects and histories that have been codified into our understandings of “primitive” cultures.
ED: You openly appropriate or source images from various places, including images of artworks in books and museums’ image archives of their collections. Where do you stand on these issues or what do you find to be interesting about them?

JT: Fundamentally, I see photography existing in two ways, one as the constructed image (i.e. studio shot) and the other as inherently appropriative (assemblage of the visible world). I think this is what keeps me connected to the mind of a photographer – the act of appropriating an image from a museum archive (which is a pallid reproduction of a cultural artifact) or a book to me isn’t inherently different than traveling to Petra to photograph it for myself, as the images of Petra are largely preformed in my mind from the deluge of images in the cultural milieu starting with National Geographic and ending with Indiana Jones.

ED: Where do your source images come from? Are you “faithful” to the quality of the images you appropriate or do you manipulate them to improve their quality or resolution?

JT: The artifacts came from the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Antikenmuseum Basel und Sammlung Ludwig. The idea of faithfulness is an interesting and tricky notion, are the images edited? Often. Are they faithful? I would argue, yes. I guess I would argue that I am faithful to the spirit of the law rather than the letter of the law (as the saying goes).

ED: Is the viewer you have in mind for this body of work culturally specific?

JT: No, just culturally aware.

ED: One of the pieces is a virtual reality video that will visually transport the viewer to the environment of the Middle East, where the United States has been at war for much of the past twenty-five years. Will the viewer feel like they are in a military training exercise?

JT: I think if it did look like a military training exercise it would be a very boring and ineffective one given the vastness and openness of the desert I am depicting. The war thing is tricky, and I am using the desert to set the tone and context of the region as a place and lived in landscape. It will be a sort of forced first person perspective.
ED: Militant extremists in the Levant, namely ISIL, have been looting or destroying archaeological treasures of the region in order to fund and fuel their activities. Is it a coincidence that while you were working with the material history of the region, mediated through photographs of its archaeological sites and artifacts, the destruction of such objects would be performed for video broadcast for international viewing?

JT: While the Levant is a historically fraught region, the work wasn’t prescient in the sense that I was directly engaging in the iconoclasm of ISIL. That said, I did want to address the irreplaceable contributions that have historically sprung from the Levant. Also, the notion of iconoclasm (particularly in this region) is one that was imported from Byzantine Christianity. I would also argue that the politics of representation and historical engagement with iconoclasm as a political action inform and historically contextualize the actions of ISIL in Mosul. However, a significant number of the artifacts in museums worldwide (and fortunately in Mosul) are plaster replicas, and the notion of historical “authenticity” and replication is one that I was quite purposefully dealing with.

DRAPE WAVE

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Rick Silva and Jordan Tate

Work from DRAPE WAVE at New Shelter Plan.

“DRAPE WAVE is a collaborative exhibition by Rick Silva and Jordan Tate that addresses the mutability of the image. Through various surface outputs and rendering processes, the artists explore the malleability of medium and meaning. The works in DRAPE WAVE are fluid, used as entities that obfuscate form while relying on those forms to provide structure. Images gather, fold, drape, and otherwise extend into multiple intersecting dimensions – 2D transferred onto 3D, rendered in 4D, simulated on an ocean wave, seen from a hammock.” – DRAPE WAVE

Oliver Laric

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Oliver Laric

at AR/GE Kunst

“Working mainly in the media of sculpture and video, his practice addresses questions concerning how images are appropriated, interpreted, translated and re-circulated in a number of possible versions or iterations. 
His interest in iconic images, which he extracts from contemporary culture and mythology alike, derives from an attentiveness to the creation and fluctuation of their value and power; a value no longer determined by any uniqueness or truth in the images themselves, but by the collective and often anonymous dynamics that, through distribution, transform them into icons. In this exhibition at ar/ge kunst Laric’s research develops in two complementary directions. These consider anthropomorphism, shape-shifting and forms of hybridization as ways of exploring the relationship of reciprocity and continuity between the human figure and other agents, be they animals or objects; a subject spanning religion, science, folklore, popular and sub-cultures. A new version of the Hunter and His Dog Relief (2014) is presented as a series of bas-reliefs: three copies of the same sculpture by John Gibson (1838), 3D-scanned and hand-cast by Laric himself. The choice of this particular subject, an everyday scene in which Gibson portrayed a boy holding his dog by its collar, derives meaning from its mode of representation, which sets the human figure in a dualistic relationship with the dog. While Laric takes the white marble of Gibson’s detailed neoclassical sculpture as his starting point, he employs a different technique and a different material so as to transform the relationship between the two figures. The man’s former control over the dog becomes a continuity between two bodies, two subjectivities. In his new video Laric further questions this dualistic system of categories (human–animal, human–object, man–woman…), exploring the notion of metamorphosis through a selection of scenes from illustrations and animations from the nineteenth century to the present. As with the sculpture, he chose not to work with the original material and instead commissioned three illustrators to redraw fragments and imagery from Russia, America, Japan and other countries known for their animated films. This act of redrawing isolates, from the original context, the process of shape-shifting so as to visualise the intermediate state of a character’s transformation from one recognisable form to another, a state existing somewhere in-between classifiable states. Laric actively perpetuates this continuous state of ‘becoming’ as a desirable condition that produces a whole range of hybrid subjects freely moving across gender and identities. With a written contribution by Rosi Braidotti. Curated by Emanuele Guidi.”

via Mousse

Vera Kox and Dag Erik Elgin

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Vera Kox and Dag Erik Elgin

Work from Temporary forms and permanent doubts @ Gallerie Opdahl.

Pakui Hardware

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Pakui Hardware

Work from Shapeshifter, Heartbreaker at Jenifer Nails

With their installation Shapeshifter, Heartbreaker at Jenifer Nails in Frankfurt, the collaborative duo Pakui Hardware (Neringa Černiauskaitė and Ugnius Gelguda) closed out a big year that included the solo exhibition, The Metaphysics of the Runner, at 321 Gallery, in Brooklyn, New York, and the Iaspis residency, in Malmö, Sweden. Last month Černiauskaitė, a graduate from Bard’s Center for Curatorial Studies, and artist Ugnius Gelguda delivered a performance lecture at the Moderna Museet where topics ranged from digital materiality and technological prosthesis to high frequency trading. But don’t worry, if you miss their post-office installation you can see them at KIM? Contemporary Art Center in Riga, Latvia where they open their next show on January 13th.

Shapeshifter, Heartbreaker, is an installation on two levels composed of sculptural work and 3D computer animations that are both abstract and figurative. On the first level Pakui Hardware has designed an office desk using the typical components of a trading floor. However, this is not a work station for individuals; it is for computer aided trading, non-human activities which are approximated in the three channel videos atop desks noticeably lacking keyboards and mice. These activities often occur at an exceedingly fast pace, in the blink of an eye, an expression that lends its name to a video installed on the second floor. There, the blinks of a humanoid form have been accelerated to illustrate how fast the body would have to consciously react if it were operating at the speed of decision making that resulted in the stock market’s ‘flash crash’ of 2010.

via DIS

Wendy White

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Wendy White

Work from her oeuvre.

“At street level, New York is buried beneath a dense, dirty layer of signage and posters, graffiti and stickers, texts and other markings that represent every degree of legibility, legitimacy, and endurance. Heavily trafficked spots take on a life of their own as these elements trace a cycle of accumulation and decay, shouting over one another through the ambient noise. A resident of Manhattan’s Two Bridges (a downtown neighborhood adjacent to the Five Points mythologized in Gangs of New York), Wendy White is exposed to this war of words on a daily basis, and it exercises a continuing influence over her work. “There’s something profound about the relationship between architecture and disembodied marks,” she reflects. “It’s haunting—like a previous tenant.”

Initially a sculptor, by the mid-‘90s, White had moved toward painting. Yet she never neglected the third dimension, and has gone from exhibiting objects alongside her pictures to making the panels themselves more object-like. Increasingly, they also have a “modular” quality, like flat-pack furniture. (“It feels more modern,” she has said, “if things can be broken down and moved.”) White has also incorporated both studio-made and externally fabricated components, again exploiting resources offered by the city. The results are slippery, hybrid creations in which the languages of painting, photography, printmaking, collage, and digital imaging—as well as writing—are fused with the solidity of real-world places and things.

In making her series Fotobilds—parts of which appeared in Pix Vää, the artist’s 2012 solo exhibition at New York’s Leo Koenig, Inc.—White digitally manipulated original photographs of metropolitan sites and then had them printed onto vinyl. She juxtaposed these with painted canvases to arrive at large-scale, multipaneled works in which structural components overlap one another or rest on the gallery floor. Stacked and abutted, these parts also act in concert with one another, even—or especially—when they reproduce the jarring mishmash of their referents. Fotobilds (the German title suggesting, to an English speaker, construction as well as picturing) comes closer than any single-medium work could to a physical, visual, and associative palimpsest of the city itself.

The real locations represented in Fotobilds are also referenced in their titles. El Rocko Lounge, 2012, for example, incorporates a washed-out mirror image of the eponymous bar printed sideways across its upper half, while 197 Madison, 2012, reproduces shots of burgers and sandwiches from a deli at that address, their colors sun-bleached to pale magenta and dirty yellow. The “accidental aesthetic” of the latter is something for which White feels affection, alluding as it does to a human project lost in part to entropy. She is more interested in change than in that which pretends to permanence, limiting the amount of time she spends on any given work in order to maintain an atmosphere of flickering transience. “When I set out to make ‘Fotobilds,’” she remembers, “I’d been poring over the NYC Municipal Archives, thinking about historical photographs versus Instagrams; amateur versus professional; how manipulation of photographs is de rigueur and no one really believes in images anymore. The Archives—real photos of real places and of people now long-dead—felt real to me in a way that painting alone didn’t anymore.”

In the works’ painted portions, gestural marks—airbrushed Twombly-esque scribbles and scrawls—are combined with fragments of “real” text: lettering that almost but never quite adds up to a complete and correct word or words. Initials, abbreviations, and individual letters and numbers drift across hazy fields of color. Other elements interrupt the conversation. In the series Text Constructions, certain letters seem on the verge of breaking free from the rest of the composition, abandoning the rectilinear plane to become dimensional forms in their own right. In Part, 2010, for example, the titular word perches atop a panel, extending from its edge like some sort of linguistic battlement.

White’s interest in language extends beyond her current location and period. While immersed in New York, she has her eye and ear on other sources too. “I thought a lot about Faulkner when I first started using text in my work,” she remarks, “because I’d lived in the South for many years and felt convinced that Northerners had historically underestimated the power and intelligence of the Southern vocal cadence and accent. I wanted to make paintings that were a little manipulative in how much was left unsaid or unwritten. Concrete Poetry as also an influence, at least as a general concept.”

As the latter citation suggests, White also manages to combine allusions to current and historical art with the casual beauty presented by her immediate surroundings. Alongside the aforementioned hints of Twombly, there are borrowings from domestic DIY. And while the gentle spirit of Belgian master Raoul de Keyser seems to haunt their delicate abstract sensibility, so too does the bold look of a children’s toy (see in particular the series 3-Stripes, with its sporty graphic borders). Robert Rauschenberg’s “combines” and “cardboards” and Ellsworth Kelly’s shaped panels are clear influences too.

Yet White’s work is more individual and instinctive than any such spelled-out heritage might suggest. And while maintaining her aesthetic focus, she clearly feels free to experiment by introducing new elements and allowing them to establish their own rhythms. Take, for instance, the series Shatter Ball, in which pale-hued canvases inscribed with the specters of letterforms (they look, characteristically, to have been produced using rough stencils made from lengths of tape) are studded with halved footballs and baseballs surrounded by the starburst patters of what looks like shattered glass—a jokey toy repurposed as sculptural-painterly punctuation.

At the time of writing, White’s next scheduled exhibition is a solo appearance at Maruani & Noirhomme in Brussels. The work for the show evolved, she explains, from a painting in Pix Vää that was inspired by a local building, and addresses “the intersection of Grand and Chrystie Streets—the architecture, the lay of the land, specific businesses, the park, the entrance to the D train.”

“I’m still figuring out the relationship between what happens in the studio,” she concludes, “and what happens on the street.”” – Michael Wilson for New American Paintings, April 2013.

Jeremy August Haik

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Jeremy August Haik

Work from A Unique and Non-Repeatable.

“This chapter is about copies, reproductions, recycled histories, and the poetics of science. More at non-repeatable.com” – Jeremy August Haik

Derek Frech


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Derek Frech

Work from Secure Document at Actual Size.

“Actual Size is pleased to present Secure Document, an exhibition of recent works by Derek Frech, curated by Park Myers. Secure Document consists of three main works in which Frech has established a lexicon of encryption using security measures and mechanisms of information protection. Each work as well as the exhibition in its entirety strips its original content to a point in which the constructs and devices intended to provide security become the content.

Secure Document is comprised of works that seize encryption technologies and alter them symbolically and materially. Works in the exhibition include Encrypted Documents, a series of layered prints in which an appropriated and reformed algorithm used for the encryption of visual information is applied to documents containing redacted information. Only a selection of the prints from this series will be on display, while the additional prints will be housed in a protective case in the gallery. Untitled, a screen-based animation, distorts information to a point of unintelligibility to address the cycles of abstraction that data must undergo in order to be communicated. Tamper Evident is created through a print and removal process on metal in which forms of residue and mark making become physical allusions to digital distortion.

The exhibition restructures the hierarchies of information transmission and reception to direct the viewer to the hidden mechanics of communication. Secure Document focuses on the issues of how supposed authenticated information is understood, and the invisible modifications, mediations and subsequent forms of reception that are involved in visual communication.” – Actual Size

Xavier Cha

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Xavier Cha

Images and video from “Body Drama” at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

“New York–based artist Xavier Cha incorporates video and installation in performances that play with multiple perspectives and deferred access, reflecting our fractured contemporary experience. For her new work Body Drama, Cha transforms the gallery into a mysterious setting in which an actor performs while wearing a body-mounted camera. In between performances the resulting footage is projected on the wall, offering viewers two versions of the same experience, both of which center on disorienting psychological and physical space.” – Diana Kamin, the Whitney