Trevor Paglen


Trevor Paglen

Work from Nonfunctional Satellites.

Developed in collaboration with aerospace engineers, the nonfunctional satellites are space-worthy sculptures designed as small, lightweight satellites that expand to become large, highly reflective structures. Placing one of these objects into low-earth orbit would create a visible “sculpture” in the night sky, visible from the earth below after sunset and before dawn as a bright, slowly moving, flickering star. The sculpture would remain in orbit for several weeks before burning up upon reentry through the atmosphere.
These designs are responses to the question of what aerospace engineering would look like if its methods were decoupled from the corporate and military interests underlying the industry. The nonfunctional satellite recasts the old question of “art for art’s sake” within a different context, asking whether we can imagine something like “aerospace engineering for aerospace engineering’s sake.”

William Pope.L


William Pope.L

Work from “Gold People Shit In Their Valet” at Catherine Bastide, Brussels.

“Pope.L’s new exhibition at Galerie Catherine Bastide Gold People Shit In Their Valet, titled after one of the new paintings featured in the show, will present five large-scale paintings on canvas and twenty smaller ones on paper closely related to the artist’s Skin Set Drawingsproject (1997-ongoing). The Skin Set projects visual, gestural and aural ambiguity. Skin Set was begun in 1997 with declarative sentences riffing for example on racist affirmations about black people (“Black People Are The Root Of All Evil”) and continues today with various other colors assigned to people and absurd, poetic sentences that are intelligible yet not reducible to a simplistic meaning. The paintings are titled after the text inscribed on them, the larger paintings referencing Gold People and the smaller referencing Gray People. In a short video interview for the Whitney Museum, Pope.L says the Skin Set project was created “to interact with language at the level of the mixed message, where people say two or three things at the same time.” The paintings in Gold People Shit In Their Valet bear slogan-like text that is at times decipherable, and at others obscured by the gestural abstraction of the paint.

Some paintings show words that are clearly decipherable yet unintelligible, such as Gold People Blue Movie. The text is inscribed in pink lettering with light orange and paler pink accents over white paint on the top half and raw canvas on the bottom half, while a blue downward curved line underscores the word “blue” over the white background; a green shapeless brushstroke inside the curve of the “G” accentuates the top half whereas a yellow dot placed where white paint and raw canvas meet on the lower right side balances the composition. The painting’s description indicates that the paint hues being used are “flesh pink and white” on canvas, a nomenclature clearly ignoring the billions of people whose flesh is neither pink nor white – especially Gold People.

Elsewhere are puns that work visually but not aurally. For example, the viewer of Gold People Shit In Their Valet, will recognize “valet” is the visual cousin of “wallet,” but then realize another painting in the series is Gold People Shit In Their Vale. These visual puns, while present in the title, are not clearly legible within the painting; on the contrary, they belong to paintings where the overall effect is closer to gestural abstraction, as is the case with the two other paintings in the Gold People set. The same variations can be observed in the smaller paintings on paper, with Gray People Peonie or Gray People Smell Like The Universe veering toward almost total abstraction. Pope.L states that his “primary interest is the gestural aspect of language as enunciation, as performance, intention and desire.” Here traces of the body’s action on language present in the physical act of painting blur the already ambiguous and absurd message, the humor present in the words often deformed by pictorial gestures.

Additional objects such as Skin Set T-Shirts and Skin Set In A Bottle will be displayed on specifically designed banisters made to interfere with the space and disrupt the visitors’ view. The bottle labels of Skin Set In A Bottle reference the colors of the Belgian flag and sport the mottos “Belgium Are Nice” and “Belgium Are Lice,” revealing Pope.L’s “mischievous way of conflating commodity, language, nation and abstract expressionism into one container.”” –  Catherine Bastide

Johnny Abrahams

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Johnny Abrahams

Work from his oeuvre.

“On first encounter with Abrahams’ work one lets oneself slide comfortably into comparison with known oscillators of our viewing pleasure… Riley, Albers, Vasarely, Stanczack, Biggs and Collings and Cruz Diaz amongst others. There is a continuity of tradition evident, however, with each successive artist having the advantage of hindsight, different circumstance, and the knowledge of a new world, each has brought us a different speed, a new take, aesthetically and conceptually. By setting himself up in broad comparison to these artists, Abrahams ultimately feels encouraged and inspired, like his antecedents, to try to bring something different to the previous practitioners in this space bringing something new to the party.

Abrahams shares with the op artists a focus on making the viewer the subject, emphasizing the effects of one’s movement around it. He is exploring what can be done only with line to the exclusion of the other elements (colour, shape, texture, space, form), and in subsequent series he plans to gradually introduce these individual elements one at a time. This, he anticipates, will likely be a very protracted pursuit evolving over many years.

This exhibition involves works from Abrahams first two Series. Series 1 is an ongoing exploration of the fundamentals of design, testing and pushing the possibilities of the most basic element of design: line. Within the panel, the collections of black and white lines create a strained and dissonant juxtaposition. The termination of many lines along an implied edge creates the impression of many suspended planes interacting with one another above a white background. Approaching a work, a design may appear subtly constructed of two tones or tone gradations, but within a certain distance threshold these reduced elements become vibratory, destabilizing the fixed gaze of the eye and generating afterimages of colour as light is broken into its constituent colors due to the interaction of so many dark and light figure-ground relationships.

Series 2 continues to work within the restraints of line to the exclusion of other design elements, focusing on the interaction of two sets of parallel lines suspended above a white background. Inclining the top set of parallel lines by a few degrees here or there creates an unpredictable phasing and a superimposed pattern of interference emerges, generating organic and natural patterns from the very rigid and limited constituent elements. As the different groups of parallel lines become indistinguishable, the original signals are lost and an alias is generated in its place. The work titled “interference study” is an example of this new direction. In this painting he has essentially created two sets of parallel lines with the top set angled at 5 degrees from the bottom set, the resultant wave patterns being caused by this phasing of lines. If it reminds you of a photograph of a television screen, the same principles are at work.” – Vigo Gallery

Amanda Ross Ho


Amanda Ross-Ho

Work from Who Buries Who at The Approach.

“WHO BURIES WHO is a new installation by Amanda Ross-Ho that demonstrates her vested exploration into photography as an analogue to experience, the archaeology of activity and time as a material. The artist has transformed the gallery into a cryptic tableau, operating as both theatricised photography studio and abstracted crime scene. Employing symmetry, scale shifts and a forensic gaze, she creates an environment reminiscent of sites of production, examination and dramatisation.
The central work in the installation, THE UNSUB, is based on a found image mined from a vintage text used to describe the effects of light on objects for the purpose of interior decorating. In the source, a single mask is composited into the same picture plane 8 times using different lighting effects, producing a chorus of faces betraying simultaneous timestamps like a sundial. Like phases of the moon, or incremental nuances between Comedy and Tragedy, the confrontational gaze of the masks presents a dramatized diagram of universal structures. Produced to the exact proportions of the page in the original text, painted canvas provides a backdrop for the masks which are enlarged as individual photographs and a pair of photo umbrellas on stands frame the scene, suggesting a moment of capture. Photographic umbrellas are a tool used to direct light onto a subject, sculpting it for pictorial effect. Here, the umbrellas are stripped of their utility, operating as props and signifiers of a photographic condition, invisibly pantomiming the lighting effects taking place in the photos. The word unsub, short for Unknown Subject, is a term used to describe a person of interest in the context of criminality. Here, the term could also refer to the self-consciousness of the tableau as photographic subject.

On the direct opposite side of the gallery, TWIN REFLEX (DOUBLE TRAGEDY) acts as photographer in the production tableau created by THE UNSUB. This doubled found image illustrates the stereotypical pitfall in amateur photography of allowing the finger to obscure the lens. Here, the camera also obscures the face, creating another mask. The aperture that has captured the staged photograph, remains silently on the other side of the image, in the realm of the viewer.
Through shifts in scale, an anatomical intimacy with form is demonstrated and the sensation of a ‘close up’ is produced, heightening a viewer’s awareness of their gaze as an optical apparatus.

Various other pairings teeter throughout the installation. A massive pair of upscaled blue nitrile gloves–native to both studio environment and the space of examination– suggest undisclosed rigorous activity. Large-scale hair bands and bobby pins scattered on the floor refer to the 0 and 1’s of binary language, representing a relationship between opposites and a constant flow of information and data. Replicas of used X-Acto blades suggest surgical precision now inert and dulled through activity. A pair of upscaled crystal glasses filled with simulated iced wine evokes the duality of a conversation in progress and act as a timepiece—the paused melting of ice suggesting the perpetrators of such a discussion have freshly left the scene.

The title WHO BURIES WHO is appropriated from Harry Nilsson’s track “Down by the Sea”, made in collaboration with John Lennon in 1974. The song woozily describes a couple who have sold it all and escaped to seaside retirement after a long full life, taking stock of their remaining responsibilities…

“…And now the big question is ‘Was it all worth it?’ and ‘Who buries who?’ You bury me or I bury you?…”
Linguistically, WHO BURIES WHO is a core sample of a never-ending pattern, a looping question and a philosophical moebius. Like this bombastic query of finality, this exhibition investigates the questions and artifacts that time itself presents.” – The Approach

via Contemporary Art Daily

Matt Borruso


Matt Borruso

Work from House of Wax.

Steven Wolf Fine Arts presents Wax House of Wax, an exhibition of new work by San Francisco based artist Matt Borruso. The sculptures, collages, prints and paintings Borruso has constructed for this exhibition gather numerous disparate elements to form an uncanny personal universe.

In the main space, slabs of polished burl are paired with plastic reproductions of ears, candles and scythes. These precarious arrangements are supported by chipboard table bases and Plexiglas tubes. Surrounding them are images of the fantastic and domestic: macramé pot hangers, latex monster film props, feather boas, chrome furniture. Pages from how-to photography books and European cooking magazines have been incised and effaced, while posters bearing the devotion and abuse of past fans have been reoriented, their figures redacted and their seams amplified.

In the second room numerous objects are set on a single table: some found, others have been mechanically cast in black wax. Magazines lay open, the two-dimensional images on their pages sliced apart and remade as sculptural components. Replicated in mirrors, their display is both vertical and horizontal, drooping and laid out flat. Finally they enter the reaching non-space of multiplied reflections.” – Steven Wolf Fine Arts

Peter Puklus

The Epic Love Story of a Warrior
The Epic Love Story of a Warrior
The Epic Love Story of a Warrior
The Epic Love Story of a Warrior
The Epic Love Story of a Warrior

Peter Puklus

Work from The Epic Love Story of a Warrior.

“Seems like sculpture-based photography but with the human body and soul in the center; this is what my new and ongoing project, ‘The Epic Love Story of a Warrior’ is about: a fictional family story in Central Europe during the 20th century. An associative voyage through our commonly shared history: we used to celebrate the pain, suffer and tears. The story happens in a book form again while mixing up different genres and techniques and make them to relate to each other.” – Peter Puklus

Aram Bartholl

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Aram Bartholl

Work from Hurt me Plenty @ DAM Gallery.

Nick Hay


Nick Hay

Alessandro Bava

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Alessandro Bava

Work from City of God

“City of God is a book of poems by Harry Burke and architectural renderings by Alessandro Bava. The poems are a response to the architecture, which in turn illustrates an imagined mega-church and monastery for a post-bankruptcy Detroit.

Each drawing is like a poem, and each poem is like a space in which you can live. Each reading is like a confession. Together they build a city of belief, a City of God.

In the context of a bankrupt city, the project is a machine which isolates islands of Grace from the sea of Evil of sprawling urbanization. Sacred space is unveiled as one of the foundational elements of the American city (morally-politically-spatially), and a device to organize communities before and beyond the secular imperatives of production.The Temple of Jerusalem is the ur-type which is used to order the shrinking of Detroit at the urban scale, the spatial liturgy of the monastery, and the symbolic form of the Megachurch.”

Eric Wesley

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Eric Wesley

Work from “Daily Progress Status Reports” at Bortolami, New York.

“An artist who often thematizes various rubrics of success and failure, Wesley’s newest works are large paintings that depict “Daily Progress Status Reports.” Each DPS is a blank form for assigning and evaluating the efficiency of a workday; broken up by the hours of the day (from 10:00 am and 6:00 pm), it has space for delegating an “assignment” for each hour and a box to note whether or not these tasks have been finished satisfactorily. Wesley’s paintings show these DPS worksheets after they have been “completed”: scribbled on, evaluated, crumpled up, stained, faded and folded.
Wesley constantly reinvents his means of working — each body of work bears little if any resemblance to previous projects — and for these new works he experiments with “trade secrets” of painting, using oils, acrylics, airbrushing and various methods of screenprinting and stenciling. The painstaking trompe-l’œil technique at which he ultimately arrived contrasts extravagantly with the apathy and ennui which the marks on each form convey, making the exhibition a droll meditation on artistic labor and the constant demand to be productive.
Eric Wesley (born 1973, Los Angeles) has had solo exhibitions in galleries internationally as well as at the MOCA, Los Angeles and Foundation Morra Greco, Naples, Italy. In 2015, he will have a large-scale exhibition at 365 Mission Road in Los Angeles. Among others, Wesley’s work has been included in exhibitions at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Musée d’Art Contemporain, Bordeaux; Fundación/Colección, Jumex, Mexico; Museo d’Arte, Benevento, Italy; the 2004 Whitney Biennial; The Prague Biennial; Institute of Contemporary Art, London; MoMA P.S.1, New York; and the Studio Museum in Harlem. He is one of the founders of Los Angeles’ Mountain School of Arts.” – Bortolami