Awoiska van der Molen

Awoiska van der Molen

Work from her oeuvre.

“If Nature were to take a photo of itself, what would it look like? Nature would set its own exposure time, with plenty of lux during the day in the sunshine, and clear and dark at night with a full moon. Exposure would need to be lengthy, since Nature, in the sense of a group of living things in a landscape of rock and uneven ground, exists on an organic timescale of minutes, weeks, years. A shutter speed of one hundredth of a second offers merely the perspective of a carrier pigeon, which can distinguish 125 images per second. But a tree in all its glory in its natural setting requires an exposure of half an hour in the light of a crescent moon, or half a minute when the sun is low in the sky. The distance between subject and camera is a matter of metres, or tens of metres if you want to capture the bliss of a fringe of woodland on a hilltop at dusk, or hundreds of metres for a mountain turning its creased rhino-back to you in a gesture of friendship. What would be the joy revealed to us by Nature — specifically that little gathering of delicate, twiggy, dancing trees in white light — if it weren’t photographed and turned into an image that we, viewers, human beings, recognise as proof of living reality?” – Arjen Mulder excerpted from an essay for van der Molen’s monograph, Blanco.

Lorena Molina

Lorena Molina

Work from How Blue?.

“The textile history in El Salvador is complex and embedded with the genocides and persecution of indigenous people. It is also tied to the 12 year civil war, and the ways that globalization and capitalism affect communities and traditional practices. By layering photographs made in El Salvador with fabric that remind me of my childhood dresses sewn by my grandmother, the photographs build new sites for longing and remembering. I am making connections between the disappearance of this skill to my displacement of home.” – Lorena Molina

Stephanie Syjuco

Stephanie Syjuco

Work from Cargo Cult.

“This photographic series revisits historical ethnographic studio portraiture via fictional display: using mass-manufactured goods purchased from American shopping malls and restyled to highlight popular fantasies associated with “ethnic” patterning and costume. Purchased on credit cards and returned for full refund after the photo shoots, the cheap garments hail from the distant lands of Forever21, H&M, American Apparel, Urban Outfitters, Target, The Gap, and more.

Pulling from earlier projects reworking “dazzle camouflage” – a WWI technique of painting battleships with graphic black and white patterns in order to confuse enemy aim — the disruptive outlines shift the viewer’s attention from foreground to background in an attempt to “find” the false subject. Black and white calibration charts encroach upon the pictures, and in some cases overlap and cover portions of the figure, as if insisting on their ability to “correct” the situation.” – Stephanie Syjuco

Theo Triantafyllidis

Theo Triantafyllidis

Work from his Role Play (and others).

“In this new body of work, Theo Triantafyllidis re-imagines the gallery space as his own virtual studio. He embodies an Ork avatar, who uses digital tools to create 3D forms, which are then manifested physically as large-scale wood sculptures. This process is recorded through DIY
Motion Capture and displayed on two mobile screens in the gallery. By moving these screen structures throughout the space, the audience is able to view the sculptures while simultaneously experiencing the artist’s digital performance of creating them.

In creating the Ork character, Triantafyllidis pairs prevalent video game tropes with the performative persona of The Artist. Ork Aesthetics are inspired by medieval contraptions, engineering tools, brutalism and gaming culture. The artist’s performance considers the concept of virtual labor and production in today’s hybrid-reality work environments, as the Ork
experiences the frustrations and complications of artistic labor in his virtual studio. After digital creation, his works are rendered physically flat in a purposeful misuse of 3D modeling, coming to occupy an alternative mass and materiality in this augmented and mixed world. Like chasing Pokemon on their phones, viewers are invited to enter the process and performance that created these odd objects.” – Meredith Goldman Gallery

Wendy Red Star

Wendy Red Star

Work from her oeuvre.

“Artist Wendy Red Star works across disciplines to explore the intersections of Native American ideologies and colonialist structures, both historically and in contemporary society. Raised on the Apsáalooke (Crow) reservation in Montana, Red Star’s work is informed both by her cultural heritage and her engagement with many forms of creative expression, including photography, sculpture, video, fiber arts, and performance. An avid researcher of archives and historical narratives, Red Star seeks to incorporate and recast her research, offering new and unexpected perspectives in work that is at once inquisitive, witty and unsettling. Intergenerational collaborative work is integral to her practice, along with creating a forum for the expression of Native women’s voices in contemporary art.” – Wendy Red Star

Pixy Liao

Pixy Liao

Work from Experimental Relationship.

“As a woman brought up in China, I used to think I could only love someone who is older and more mature than me, who can be my protector and mentor. Then I met my current boyfriend, Moro. Since he is 5 years younger than me, I felt that whole concept of relationships changed, all the way around. I became the person who has more authority & power. One of my male friends even questioned how I could choose a boyfriend the way a man would choose a girlfriend. And I thought, “Damn right. That’s exactly what I’m doing, & why not!”

I started to experiment with this relationship. I would set up all kinds of situations for Moro and I to perform in the photos. My photos explore the alternative possibilities of heterosexual relationships. They question what is the norm of heterosexual relationships. What will happen if man & woman exchange their roles of sex & roles of power. Because my boyfriend is Japanese, and I am Chinese, this project also describes a love and hate relationship.

This project is an ongoing project which grows with our real relationship but is never meant to be a documentation.” – Pixy Liao

Also, check out Temple for Her at Flyweight Projects.

Amanda Curreri

Amanda Curreri

Work from COUNTRY HOUSE_ at Romer Young Gallery.

“Curreri currently resides in a purple state in a city imprinted with the socio-geography of American racism. Cincinnati, OH is nestled along the Ohio River, which in antebellum times signified the dividing line between the North and South. Teaching and making art in this context have deeply impacted this new work.

Textiles have become increasingly significant in Curreri’s work for their ability to prompt discussions of history, labor, class, sociability, performance of identity, and use-value. The works in the exhibition include self-drafted garments; large-scale, two-sided banners that act as soft architectures; a series of collages culled from vintage On Our Backs magazines remixed with pages from a textiles history book; and paintings composed from deconstructed garments, dog toys, recycled flag-parts, and elements from LGBTQ archives.

This work has also been developed in tandem with Curreri’s recent travel fellowships in Japan and Mexico to research traditional textile methodologies as well as pre-Capitalism communication strategies (glyphs and symbols). While clearly influenced by techniques and forms, Curreri underscores the impact of the interpersonal experience of studying with teachers in these two countries and the required verbal and cultural shifts. Jumping between languages and digging into histories results in ad-mixtures, conflations, and inventions. For example, one artwork in the exhibition, HomoHime, is named after a mis-remembering of a particular method of Japanese ceremonial braiding called kumihimo. The new hybrid term suggests instead: “Gay Princess” (from homo in English and hime in Japanese).

This kind of openness to new meanings is built upon respect for preceding knowledges. It becomes a key tenant of this body of work searching for ways of integrating multiplicities and differences. COUNTRY HOUSE_ prods the construction and performance of collective and individual identities in a climate that is advertising racism and misogyny.” – Romer Young Gallery

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.