Alex Gardner

Alex Gardner

Work from RomCom at The Hole.

“Welcome to Alex Gardner’s 1st solo show in New York, “RomCom”, featuring fourteen new acrylic on linen paintings by the Long Beach-based artist. His entangled ink-black bodies are draped with dramatically folding white cotton separates and posed in pastel environments where the reflections of color produce subtle gradients and thoughtful tonal shifts.

The paintings indicate in gesture and pose a wordless “romantic comedy”. As in Mannerist paintings, they capture drama with their bodies through the distortion of torsion, a clump of muscle, a knobby knuckle, a languid wrist. Over-articulated fingers and feet contrast with completely featurelessly smooth faces; expression is only through body language. Gender is hinted at but as with the skin and the clothes and the environments, all cultural signifiers are smoothed over to de-individuate and universalize.

In these paintings the artist charges the familiar with poignancy, highlights the details as important, and paints figures that all genders and races could see themselves in. Mimicking snippets of classical painting—from an El Greco hand to a Pietà carry, a crucifixion foot, a Michelangelo muscle group—he is not just inserting his contemporary identity into art history, but also opening up these art historical perspectives for all viewers to connect with.

The body parts are not anatomically perfect and, as with the drapery, willfully fancified; signs the artist is not working from figure models or photographs but from his imagination augmented by emotion. The smooth gradient paint style of layered acrylics (illogical for figure painting as a genre) must be maddening to apply, painstaking to perfect. There may be chill pastels and casual wear in these works, but the compositions scintillate with restrained emotion.

His titles try to ease the tension: “Forgot My Wallet” negates the intimacy depicted of one figure carrying the other, while “Picnic with a Future Ex” is glib. “Audition in the Frozen Food Section” emphasizes the performativity of romantic relationships as a theme, but the detached vibe doesn’t match the intense and dramatic works: as in the layers and layers of acrylic built up to form these precise gradients, there’s a lot going on beneath the surface.” – The Hole

Paul Mpagi Sepuya

Paul Mpagi Sepuya

Work from his oeuvre.

“Photographs, and photographs of photographs; cameras, and cameras pointing at cameras; models, and models posing as models: A kind of brooding over these—and the conundrum of whether, by distancing and framing portions of reality, photography thereby deconstructs itself—typifies a technical formalism that has become widespread of late. Artists in this cohort are not so much concerned with making photographs as with examining them in their manifold and contradictory capacities as objects (sheets of chemically treated paper), manifestations of social praxis (ways of relating to other people and the environment), and immaterial entities circulating freely in the world (as digital information).

Rather than offering viewers immediate access to information about the world or simply how some given portion of it looks, artists working in this mode see the techniques, conventions, and history of photography as an interpretive grid that makes some things harder to see and other things easier. They consider that their work can only reflect on the world by looping back on itself—by rendering visible its photographic character as a pre-interpretation of the world that it claims merely to show. Only by pinpointing the fact of its own fictiveness does this kind of work gesture toward some significant aspect of the world beyond. That’s how it happens that an artist like Paul Mpagi Sepuya, whose photographs are as insistently reflexive and formally refined as any being made today, can nonetheless proclaim that in his work, “the sum total of content lies outside of the conversation about art. It’s better served by gossip and friendship.” – Barry Schwabsky for The Nation (excerpted)

Karina Skvirsky Aguilera

Karina Skvirsky Aguilera

Work from Folds in the Photograph at DPM Gallery.

“We can understand the work of Karina Skvirsky Aguilera as the mechanism through which she seeks to continuously discover the profiles of her own identity, within the complex plot of ethnicity, gender, customs and family mythology woven around her experiences within the dissimilar cultural stadiums that have marked it. We refer to the two matrices of origin that determine it as an individual, and that appear here and there in their works in permanent tension. On the one hand, the afro roots of its Ecuadorian motherland, whose tales of childhood and childhood memories serve as a substrate to explore the paradoxes and the failure of the modern that surpasses the local microcosm, pairing this up with an investigation into the inadequate but subsisting notion of “race” and its social interpretations. And on the other hand the discordant signals of the advances of the North American society where his thought was born and modeled (within a family of Russian-Jewish migrants), which have tensed to the breaking point the paradigm of political correctness that regulated the speech in North America, and that Donald Trump’s access to power puts in doubt.

In this work we understand that identity politics are not simple but faceted, multidimensional and tailored to each human experience, which is irreducibly unique. If its production is effective as a lens through which to look at the complexity of the social constructs that shape us, it is because in the first instance it speaks of it as an unrepeatable singularity. His work exemplifies that desire of each one to trace his own existential interrogation to find a niche in the world; it is a journey that starts from the open analysis of his intimate experience, which goes from the events of his upbringing to continuous observations about his life in order to achieve a fit with the grand scheme of things…” – excerpted from the exhibition text by Rodolfo Kronfle Chambers.

Nadiya Nacorda

Nadiya Nacorda

Work from Through Venus.

“Being a mixed womxn of both Filipinx and Black South African decent, but growing up Black in America, my identity has been a complex subject in my life. My outward perceived value and identity shifts depending on the space I am in, both public and private. I spent much of my formative years confused and lost in relation to my identity. I constantly occupy a multilayered space, as I identify as Black, Asian, Blasian, American, and Womxn simultaneously. I am the only child of my divorced parents, and as such, I have navigated my position at the intersection of my many identities, alone. With this ongoing photo project, I address concerns of identity and selfhood through self-portraits and still life imagery. I investigate and negotiate my own place within a complex family heritage. I am asking the questions of how colonization, displacement and trauma are continually performed across generations? What does it mean to manifest an identity of my own? To begin to explore and define myself for myself?” – Nadiya Nacorda for For Freedoms.

KangHee Kim

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Work from O0ps.

Inside Out Upside Down

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Inside Out Upside Down

In the sixth edition of The Photographers’ Gallery’s – ‘Open Door‘ series, Wandering Bears will take up residence for an interactive exhibition held over a three day period in the London gallery’s top floor studio space.

Through the exhibition ‘Inside Out Upside Down‘ – Wandering Bears would like to invite the audience to consider the act of the image making process by recreating and responding to the work of fourteen individual artists’ work on display within the gallery space.

Using their mobile phones, visitors will have the opportunity to create and photograph their own unique personal interpretations, printing out the images to complete an individual takeaway sticker album.

An international selection of fourteen practicing photographers include: Beni Bischof, Erin O’Keefe, Fleur van Dodewaard, Hanna Putz, Jason Evans, Joshua Citarella, Lorenzo Vitturi, Luke Norman & Nik Adam, Matilda Hill Jenkins, Matthieu Lavanchy, Maurice van Es, Max Zerrahn, Nicholas Haeni and Romain Mader.

Johan Rosenmunthe

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Johan Rosenmunthe

Work from Camping at the Solo River @ Tranen.

“Past, future and a compact ungraspable contemporary now appear to be folded into one complex state in Johan Rosenmunthe’s solo exhibition. Rosenmunthe’s immersive installation takes its starting point at the earliest known pre-historic designs done by Homo erectus on seashells found on the Indonesian island of Java. Solo River is the major river that runs through Java and the exhibition connects the physical location of Java to the digital programming language Java in an installation that takes the form of a combination of Land Art and technology.

With a smartphone in hand, visitors – as modern archaeologists – can uncover the hidden layers that exist in the silkscreen paintings on the walls, by photographing them with the smartphone’s flash turned on.

Camping by the Solo River approaches the nature-culture relationship from a macro perspective. The movement from Homo erectus’ craft of instruments and symbolic characters – to our own time’s ‘back to nature’ lifestyle trends zoom in on human nature as an ancient social phenomenon. “I’m interested in our understanding of objects within social systems.” Johan Rosenmunthe explains in the exhibition guide.

Camping by the Solo River focuses on how humans grasp the world through certain technologies. It explores our aesthetisation of our surroundings and the urge to create meaning by putting certain objects in the center of our culture – from the memetic building of sand castles by the shore, to the compulsive need to document our sensations and experiences on photographs.” – text via Tranen

In the Flesh, Part II: Potential Adaptations

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In the Flesh, Part II: Potential Adaptations

Works by Ivana BasicHannah BlackMegan DaalderCécile B. Evans, and Martha Friedman at Gallery Diet

“Gallery Diet is pleased to present In the Flesh, Part II: Potential Adaptations, a group exhibition curated by Courtney Malick, on view from February 6 to March 12, 2016.

In the Flesh Part ll: Potential Adaptations builds upon the exhibition In the Flesh Part I: Subliminal Substances, which featured work by contemporary artists who explore the potentially harmful inorganic materials found in many things that we ingest—be they mass produced food products, dietary supplements, pharmaceuticals, hygiene and beauty products, or invisible matter from toxic waste and technological devices.

To further these investigations of what goes into the body, In the Flesh, Part ll presents artists whose work envisions the long term effects that the continuous ingestion those “subliminal substances” may have on the way that humans look and function. Their works draw attention to ways that the body, the concept of a body, container and vehicle—or lack of a physical vessel as it may someday be—adapts and shifts over time in the ways that it appears externally and functions internally. While the structure of human DNA itself almost never changes, its epigenome, which aids in gene expression, is easily affected by internal and external, organic and inorganic forces. With this in mind, it is clear that what we ingest, and the ways that we use our bodies in relation to our growing reliance on technological devices, will eventually cause the human epigenome to adapt and morph accordingly.

Undeniably, these transmutations may take place over very long periods of time, and are therefore somewhat imaginary in our current moment. However, experimentation with potential future outcomes continues to gain momentum as a present topic of inquiry. With this in mind, Part ll also responds to subcultural groups and schools of thought gaining traction today that actively seek to reinvent the human body with new, often mechanical or “super-human” abilities. In this way, Part ll incorporates groups such as biohackers, body-modders and transhumanists, into its multifarious and wide-ranging conversation of potentialities.

The artists included in In the Flesh, Part ll, each in unique and unusual ways, reimagine and foreshadow the future of the human body. Through their varied practices that span video, sculpture, installation and new media, they at once call reflect upon the evolutionary changes that have already altered the human body, and point to the plausible causes and effects that will continue to drive this constant shift in collective corporeality.

Through her sculptural work, New York-based Ivana Basic creates forms whose surfaces resemble human skin, connoting raw slabs of meat and twisting into themselves into awkward, alien-like figures. Conversely, her two-dimensional work often begins with images of her own likeness, through which she continues to create complex virtual identities.

Berlin-based Hannah Black investigates ways that the individual body can be used as a foil to reconsider larger cultural issues, such as bodily health, vanity, branding, communism, language, the entropic nature of architecture, and their surprising intersections across various cultural contexts.

Los Angeles-based Megan Daalder works in performance, sculpture and filmmaking to parse a wide range of interests and conceptual focal points through which her projects often reveal ways that technological devices and new forms of communication have changed interpersonal relationships.

There is a palpably futuristic quality to the multi-faceted, often project-based work of Berlin-based Cécile B. Evans, through which she complicates notions of and formats for personal identity as they continue to be more and more mediated by the virtual context in which so many people spend the better portion of their lives.

In both the sculptural and performative work of New York-based Martha Friedman, we see specific parts of the human body magnified and exaggerated – their naturalness questioned through her use of bold, synthetic materials and her severe color palette.”

What a Silencer Sounds Like

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What a Silencer Sounds Like

Work by Sinae Yoo and Adam Cruces at Kunsthaus Langenthal

“Does a silencer really sound like it does in a thriller? Why do drivers in movies always move the steering wheel? Why were only tinned exotic fruit experienced as authentic by Koreans in the past? Productive misinterpretation of situations and things in pop culture and cultural exchange is the departing point for the artistic work of Sinae Yoo (*1985) and Adam Cruces (*1985). Both, the Korean and the American artist, now living in Switzerland, have produced large new work series with videos, installations and ceramics for the exhibition in Langenthal. Each in their way address the question how incongruent imagination and perception are and how virtual and physical realities can be connected.”

Jeremy Deprez

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Jeremy Deprez

Work from Common Nouns at Feuer/Mesler

Common Nouns is a collection of paintings developed through attempts to momentarily experience and analyze articles culled from DePrez’s immediate environment.  DePrez imposes humor, self-described awkwardness, and a variety of painterly strategies to build up a visual and material history within each painting.  These impositions encourage the formation of irregularly shaped paintings that overlap and inform one another in a way that transcends their sources objectivity and propels them into a more allegorical space.”