FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

 

François Ghebaly is pleased present “Im Different”, Sayre Gomez’ first solo exhibition in Los Angeles.  The exhibition will consist of 4 distinct yet related bodies of work that are all centered around the ideas of ___________ , ______________ , ________ , ________________ , ______________ .  Each body of work is presented within two different yet highly contrived spaces loosely referencing a shopping center with its indoor showroom, and surrounding outdoor garden.

 

In the main gallery, on first steps into “The Hypnotic Presence of Popular Music in Southern California”, the artist’s first large-scale, multi-channel installation. Covering the entire space, the work is comprised of 12 speakers housed within individually painted fiberglass outdoor garden rocks resting on a bed of woodchips. Each respective rock plays a different pop “anthem” sourced from Mark Zuckerberg’s playlist titled Quest, which is publicly accessible on the music streaming platform Spotify.  Further referencing outdoor spaces, painted banners hang on the brick wall of the gallery. Designed by Chicago-based design firm, Struggle Inc., the banners feature various slogans sourced from algorithmically generated “lorem ipsum”, a design industry tool often referred to as dummy text.

 

The remaining walls will present a series of Gomez’ new paintings. The subtle color gradients from dark to light purples and blues range from representation to abstraction, and lead the viewer from the “outdoor” space into the “indoor” space housed in the adjacent room. Gomez’ paintings employ industrial application processes, such as airbrush and automotive paint sprayers, techniques that have historically been used in the film and advertising industries. While the representational paintings of images drawn from different online sharing platforms appear photographic, they are also made to be photographed, a primary intention of the histories being referenced.  The process of his abstract works also share a similar relationship to representation. At first black and white, the  compositions are buried under layers of pigmented varnish creating a sensational “window” from which the abstractions peak through at differing levels of opacity and color.

 

Following the paintings, and entering the Show Room the viewer will encounter two sculptures of identical mid-century northern European designed coffee tables. Constructed from three distinctly different materials and surfaces, they will be adorned with objects commonly found in the homes of ____________, such as ___________,  _____________, and __________.  Near the tables, “Large Plinth with Records” features a patina similar to artist’s abstract paintings, and prominently features a stack of cast vinyl records.  The room will also feature “Uww (Untitled window work)”, in which the artist repurposes a salvaged window as an artwork by installing it directly into the gallery wall. Because of the reflective nature of the glass the window is never without an image. It functions as both an object to look into, and an object to look at. Finally, the large painting “Generation Gap”, features two popular quotes turned slogans from John Lennon and Kurt Cobain.

 

Sayre Gomez holds a BFA from the School of Art Institute of Chicago (2005) and an MFA from CalArts (2008). Recent solo exhibitions include Slippery at The HOLE in New York, This is to Sink at Michael Jon Gallery in Miami, and Windows and Mirrors jointly hosted by Kavi Gupta Gallery and New Capital, in Chicago.  The Artist also co-organized, with JPW3, the exhibition Culm at Night Gallery in Los Angeles, and has recently participated in group exhibitions at Fluxia in Milan, 356 Mission St. in Los Angeles, Clearing in New York, Robert Blumenthal in New York, Nagel/Draxler in Cologne, and Balice Hertling in Paris.  Gomez’s work is included in BRIGHT!: Typography Between Illustration and Art, Published by DAAB, in 2013, and 100 New Artists published in 2012 by Lawrence King, UK. His work has been featured in various publications and blogs such as Artforum Magazine, Artforum.com, Contemporary Art Daily, and Flaunt Magazine.

 

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Sayre Gomez

I’m Different

 

October 10 – December 6 2014

 

Opening Reception:

Friday, October 10

7 – 10PM

 

 

Press Release


LA Times

Artforum

Art Agenda

Artsy

Mousse

 


 

 

Such Appetite

Little Brown Mushroom, 2013

Peeking into the combustible sublime of America’s outer-urban colonies, Such Appetite pairs Charlie White’s intimate study of a teenage girl with poems by Stephanie Ford in a twenty-first century meditation on beauty and banality, adolescence and sprawl. [Acquire]

 

Charlie White, American Minor

JRP | Ringer, 2009

American Minor delves into an important and ongoing theme in White’s work–the American teen, and all that goes into its manufacture. White tackles the taboos of nascent sexuality in the American teen girl–both the vulnerability of that sexuality as a topic and the ruthlessness with which it is exploited when it goes unexamined. Cataloging studio archives, film stills, animation stills and scripts, and using images culled from White’s two-year study of one teenager, archives of magazine covers featuring iconic blonde models, stills from his first 35mm film and his photographic comparative study of teens and transgendered people, American Minor presents White’s ongoing and never before-seen studies of the American teen subject as both image and idea. American Minor is a bold excavation of the sociosexual forces that surround us all. [Acquire]

 

Charlie White, Monsters

PowerHouse Books, 2004

Monsters catalogs White’s photographic work from 1999 to 2006 in full detail. In series such as In a Matter of Days (1999) andUnderstanding Joshua (2001), White created monsters that stand as surrogates for human fragility and the internal demons that haunt our experiences of self and other. In And Jeopardize the Integrity of the Hull (2003), White’s work began to critique photography’s role in popular culture by mimicking and heightening the veneer of the commercial image to reveal the tension below the gloss. White’s most recent series, Everything is American (2006), reveals the violence-tinged eroticism of the American psyche through portraits of both historic and mythic figures. From assaulting scenes to meditative studies, White’s powerful, disturbing, and revelatory photographs create fiction to understand reality and reconsider history to critique the present. [Acquire]

 

Charlie White: Everything is American

Domus Artium, 2006

Published on the occasion of White’s solo exhibition at Domis Artium in Salamanca Spain, CHARLIE WHITE offers a careful overview of his “Evrything is American” series, 2006. The catalog contain 10 unique essays by critic Jan Tumlir, and detialed illustrations of each of the ten works. This Everything is American series reveals the violence-tinged eroticism of the American psyche through portraits of both historic and mythic figures. From assaulting scenes to meditative studies, White’s powerful, disturbing, and revelatory photographs create fiction to understand reality and reconsider history to critique the present. [Acquire]

 

And Jeopardize the Integrity of the Hull

TDM Paris, 2003

And Jeopardize the Integrity of The Hull is a limited edition book that catalogues White’s 2003 series of the same name. Created in the fashion of a children’s board book, this publication features heavy gloss reproductions of the series’ ten photographs on heavy cardboard stock. [Acquire]

 

Charlie White Photographs

Goliath, 2002

White’s first monograph, this publication includes three complete series from 1996 to 2001. With an introduction by Ronald Jones, essays by Annabel Chong, William Deverell and Fred Alan Wolf, and an interview with artist Lisa Anne Auerbach. [Acquire]

 

Hysteric 4

Hysteric Glamour, 2001

This unique book offers 50 images from White’s 1996 pornographic series “Femalien,” which was first published in Cheri magazine. The book is part of an ongoing series in which photographers publish a lesser-known project in its entirety. The book series includes Inoue Seiryu, Cindy Sherman, Jack Pierson, and others. Hysteric 4contains the only reproductions of this entire photographic project, which was exhibited through the vending of Cheri magazine at the Andrea Rosen Gallery in 1996. [Acquire]

 

 

 

François Ghebaly is proud to present Gina Osterloh’s second solo exhibition with the gallery.

For this new exhibition, Osterloh presents a series of works for the camera and the photographic frame applying a set of instructions:

Press

Erase

Outline

Slice

Strike

Make an X

Prick!

In all of Gina Osterloh’s works, the artist’s hand is evident. In her constructed sets – hand drawn lines, dots, voids, shadows, and silhouettes cut into and mark the surface of paper. Through mark making, physical posture, and the deliberate placement of the body within her sets, Osterloh actively questions the underlying structures of photography, its modes of perception, and the recognition of signifiers. Whether the end material object is a photograph, projection screen, or wall, the photographic field becomes the surface of articulation.

On opening night, Osterloh’s own body strikes and slices paper for an audience in her performance Prick, Prick, Prick!. Performed with the presence of artist D. Hill, Osterloh expands her ongoing investigation of call and response relationships between the body and photographic frame, as well as repetition and rhythm produced by speech and actions.

For The Implied Body, Nothing to See Here, There Never Was, Osterloh returns to her interest in the photo series as well as mark making for the camera – bending and playing with the grid structure that she looks through on the ground glass of her large format view camera. The conceptual set of moves or instructions applied to the body is in turn applied to the structure of looking itself.

Akin to a photographic time lapse and perhaps the most singular photograph in the exhibition, Drawing for the Camera is a series of free hand, curving line drawings on photo backdrop paper created for the camera.

In gallery #2, Osterloh presents her new 16mm film Press and Outline, in which the artist presses into and outlines her own shadow. Both odd as well as intimate – the physical body and its shadow simultaneously oppose and support each other, and at times are rendered indiscernible.

For more information, please contact the gallery at info@ghebaly.com

 

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Gina Osterloh

PRESS ERASE OUTLINE SLICE STRIKE MAKE AN X PRICK!

 

 

July 19 – August 16

 

Opening Reception:

Saturday July 19 ; 6 – 10PM

Performance 8PM

 

 

Press Release

Artforum Review, 2014

Art LTD, 2014

 


 


 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

 

With works and contributions by: Lisa Anne Auerbach (USA), Davide Balula (France), Dan Bayles (USA), Neïl Beloufa (Algeria & France), Edwin Chan (Hong Kong – United States), Thomas Altheimer (Tom Dane) (Denmark), Cem Dinlenmiş (Turkey), Nilbar Güreş (Turkey), Hatice Güleryüz (Turkey), Ivan Grubanov (Serbia), Michael Hardt (USA), Thomas Hirschhorn (Switzerland), Nikita Kadan (Ukraine), Joel Kyack (USA), Sylvère Lotringer (foreign agent), Pode Bal (Czech Republic), Ariel Schlesinger (Israel), Slavs and Tatars (various), Extrastruggle (Turkey), thepeople71 (various), Sergio Torres-Torres (Mexico/USA), Mona Vatamanu & Florin Tudor (Romania & Switzerland), Andra Ursuta (Romania).

 

In Turkey last June, hundreds of thousands of citizens went to Taksim Square to protest against their government’s plan to remove this beloved public park and build a shopping center instead. The protesters named their movement “Occupy Gezi” in reference to the Occupy Wall Street movement (OWS), which spread around US cities in 2011. The OWS movement itself was inspired by the Arab Spring that happened the same year, when every day people from Tunisia to Egypt, from Lebanon to Syria, went to the street against their repressive regimes. It appears that these cycles of struggles [1] have inspired one another, going back to all major social uprisings of our collective memory since the 1960s.

 

Demonstrations throughout the 20th century were traditionally organized along an avenue, a straight line with a beginning and an end. But these recent movements have been sedentary, and tend to use a strategy of encampment or occupation. In the past 3 years, in Egypt (Tahrir), Turkey (Taksim), Ukraine (Maidan), the United States (Wall Street), Venezuela (Altamira), and many others countries, people have expressed their anger by taking over iconic public squares and plaza, and naming their movement after this symbolic act.

 

“Square(s)” will put together an international group of artists whom, using various practices and aesthetics, share a common awareness of these ongoing events. While this exhibition is not about partisan politics, it is an attempt to recreate a few different active public squares within a gallery space in Los Angeles, a city where the concept of public space is virtually non-existent.  In this context, the works exhibited will simply function as the dissident voices of an occupied space.

 

The exhibition will invite and provoke different perspectives from the artists invited, as well as the audience and other participants in the project, such as writers, architects and activists. As it happens with protestors in the street, the works exhibited will move to new positions and redefine themselves. On June 28th a program of events related to the exhibition will include, among others, interventions by Davide Balula and Tom Dane, a talk, with, among others, architect Edwin Chan & Semiotext(e) founder Sylvère Lotringer, a program of videos screenings, and the launch of a new political party, “thepeople71”.

 

More content and programming will be posted on a blog, specially created for the occasion (www.squaresexhibition.wordpress.com).

 

“Public spaces are political arenas in which power is gained, recognized, underwritten, disputed, attacked, lost and gained”.  Adrian Piper

“The King must die, so the people can live” Maximilien Robespierre

 

 

Organized in collaboration with independent critic and curator Yann Perreau.

 

[1] Michael Hardt and Toni Negri in their essay “Declaration”.

 

 

 

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Square(s)


June 14th – July 12th

 

Preview walk-through:
Saturday June 14th from 2pm – 6pm

 

Performances, talks and screenings all day:
Saturday June 28th

 

Press Release

Public Space Press Release

 


François Ghebaly Gallery
2245 E Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90021
(323) 282-5187
ghebaly.com
open Tuesday – Saturday, 12-7pm

 

Depression

opening March 22

 

Catharine Ahearn
Bjorn Amre
Lucas Blalock
Borden Capalino
Dan Finsel
Charlotte Hammer
Matt Heckert
Nolan Hendrickson
Gavin Kenyon
Andra Ursuta
Margaret Weber

 

organized by Ramiken Crucible

 

A scale model of a new building design will be exhibited simultaneously with Depression. Commissioned by Ramiken Crucible and funded with capital leveraged against the permanent collection to be amassed by the gallery over the coming century, this building embodies the ideal art space. Constructed in international waters, this free standing open ocean platform will function as an independent state. This island fortress will provide artists with a private kingdom free from any moral law, civil code, or financial regulation. The building will house the ultimate gallery, named Unamerican Fine Arts, and is scheduled to open for the fall season of 2100. The scale model was designed and built by the architecture firm known as We Will Replace All Of You With Cool Mexicans.

 

The first show at Ramiken Crucible was a solo exhibition by Gavin Kenyon in 2009. I was on unemployment and Gavin was living with his mom upstate. We overhung the show by an exponential margin. Someone took a shit in the gallery at the opening.

 

I wonder if Angela Merkel was depressed when Berlusconi called her an “unfuckable fatass.” No doubt she confidently dismissed the insults in public, and as Berlusconi’s shoddy, corrupt government fell to pieces, it was Merkel who had Berlusconi by the balls. But maybe she had a private moment, naked in front of the mirror, repeating his comment over and over in her mind, and she felt sad and lonely and unattractive. And then she might have stopped calling people back and started not leaving her house. She began to eat only pizza and ice cream, or whatever Germans eat when they are depressed. She took lots of xanax and codeine and when her prescriptions ran out, she drank high strength cough syrup and smoked menthol cigarettes. She stopped cleaning herself and her house. She stopped throwing anything away. All the trash from the pizza and ice cream and doner kebap or whatever built up around her house and in her teeth and in her gut like unfired clay. Her furniture, once beautiful and functional, began to resemble dirty wood scraps upholstered with used paper towels. It is from this paraphernalia of surrender that Borden Capalino works.

 

Mythologization inevitably takes over cultural production that seeks to sustain itself. In his text “Radical Gestures Cannot Be Maintained,” Bob Nickas outlines the career trajectories of Lee Lozano, Bill Bollinger, and Steven Parrino. Each artists reached a point of no return, accepted consequences, and continued to work. Without fail, artists who make this level of commitment pay a price, and these three artists were no exception. This commitment is beyond risk; risk implies the possibility of a positive outcome. When negative consequences become certain, radical work is possible. Ultimately, the consequence is death.

 

This exhibition includes Spiked Roller Machine, a machine made by Matt Heckert as part of SRL in 1984. Many of SRL’s machines explore mechanical athleticism, and borrow themes of strategic offense and defense from military industry. Spiked Roller Machine evinces the power of unstoppable death, a slowly rolling, unavoidable fate that has more in common with the slow walking terror of George Romero’s zombies than it does with gladiatorial combat. Spiked Roller Machine illustrates the onset of depression. Sufferers of depression feel the heavy weight that rolls over the psyche, the spikes that pierce every part of the mind, that penetrate every happy illusion. The spikes poke holes, depressions, voids in the corporeal body, shredding flesh and bone, blood pours out, the weight of the machine pressing the spikes all the way through the body, stopping only at the concrete below. This heavy weight, pressing down and through the body, is the certainty of death. Depression is a form of pragmatic realism. If everything humans can achieve means nothing in the moment of death, why live? Why move forward? If the end result is erasure, why participate in the unending march toward annihilation that constitutes daily existence? It is the confrontation with this fact that precipitates depression. No amount of ego, money, or fame can deliver a human from depression, because no amount of ego, money, or fame can prevent death. The most interesting artists, the most pragmatic artists, the artists who work on problems beyond their own self promotion and success, work in a state of constant, unending depression. To face the certainty of death, without the fantasies of success or progress, and still make artwork is a radical gesture. Radical gestures cannot be maintained. Death wins.

 

“I want my entire musical catalog to be deleted the second I die. What do I care? I’ll be dead. I don’t care about history. I don’t even want a tombstone, are you kidding? None of that stuff makes any sense to me.”

-King Buzzo of The Melvins, discussing his musical legacy, The Village Voice, October 2012

 

This is depression. To know the spectacular heights of feeling, and to see it ending, one work at a time. The struggle of every artist is not to be right, but rather to leave the deepest impression upon the physical world, to change the physical earth as if it were a lump of clay in your hand. Attitudes and strategies may differ, and the power of presence may give way to the overabundance of our times, but interior worlds are as real as exterior ones.

 

“All those moments will be lost, like tears in the rain. Time to die.”

-Roy Batty

 

The impression – the depression – upon you is what you fight against. Do you want to be impressed upon more than you impressed upon the world? For an artist, this means depression. An artist makes stuff. If you aren’t making as much as possible, or at all, and the world is filling you with amazing experiences, with great songs and movies and pictures and buildings and words and thoughts, if you’re an artist, this makes you depressed. Every artist is a furnace that wants to burn. Wood, cotton, coal, iron, plastic, foam, carpet, trash, paper, water – it will all burn and at different temperatures. Every artist furnace burns at a different temperature. Something is always consumed. Consumption hastens death. Every cell in a human body is set to oxidize. The only way to live longer is a low calorie, very restricted diet. To live a long time, you can’t eat too much, do too much, run too hot. A lot of people born to this world don’t get to live too long. Let death occur as it must, but get the work done. Getting the work done means death some day and no more work. Working is death. The point is to die. Face death. More depression. Depression is health. Depressed humans are honest. Failure is certain.

 

Andra Ursuta has made the following artworks, among many others:

 

1. Groups of three legged stools, the seat a solid cast of her upturned ass clad in thin underwear. These groups, called “waiting areas”, are sculptures that moon the audience. Because some of the asses are stacked, they resemble stacks of women’s asses waiting to get fucked in a porn video. 43 of these sculptures were shown by Ramiken Crucible in a cramped, dirty locked room, a temporary exhibition space at 3 Delancey street that resembled a room full of illegal of sex workers;

 

2. A life size, highly realistic cast of herself as an Iron Age bog mummy, naked except for a pair of Converse shoes. The sculpture, titled “Crush”, is flattened and covered in large amounts of fake semen;

 

3. A coffin shaped tent;

 

4. Flabby concrete models of a German war bunker from a beach;

 

5. A set of prostitution flyers advertising her as an “Ethnic Bimbo.” The cards show Ursuta naked and covered in cave woman mud markings. The mud markings spell out ‘ADIDASS’ on her leg;

 

6. A balloon with a noose tied to it;

 

7. Dozens of repeated drawings of a dead Chechen fighter;

 

8. Police batons with mushrooms growing out of the ends;

 

9. A giant medieval trebuchet hand built from trash designed to throw away her body. Next to the trebuchet is a flattened cast of her, damaged by impact with a nearby wall;

 

10. A concrete bloc-supported swing set for children with seats designed to allow them to shit on everything through the bottom, titled “Natural Born Artist”;

 

11. A ten-foot version of Brancusi’s “Endless Column” as a dildo impalement stake;

 

12. A fully functioning baseball-pitching machine made to stone human beings to death, with handmade rock ammunition and a backstop for the blood, guts, and hair, titled “Stoner”;

 

13. A horse-cart lunar rover with rubber tire wheels;

 

14. Three life size marble statues of a Roma woman expelled from France, wearing elaborate chokers made from windbreakers and small change;

 

15. Anthropomorphic pole sculptures of women, with coin slots for pussies;

 

16. A giant Aspic structure.

 

17. A scythe for death to ride like a bicycle.

 

In all this, Ursuta constructs a set of interlocking, contradictory narratives that provide a hierarchical context she can smash, bloodying herself in the process. The art is the expression of concepts and desires that are completely unreconcilable, and Ursuta’s self deprecation is the demolition that allows for the issue to be resurrected, over and over again.

 

For Bjarne Melgaard, the process of making and living is also self-demolition. Melgaard’s use of the methodologies of therapy is a prybar to emphatically state that reality isn’t real. Melgaard relies on the premise, that our experience of reality is entirely self constructed, to indulge himself as much as possible in aberrant forms. His expansion of the role of the artist is intended to reach as far as possible beyond moral precepts. By making/curating/appropriating/buying very good art and very terrible art, Melgaard moves himself beyond taste. By abusing crystal meth and steroids, by using his wealth to appropriate entire cultural trends at once to exploit, and by going on violent, hate spewing text message rampages against his most ardent supporters, Melgaard frees himself from the expectation to act morally. This allows Melgaard to reposition the engines of mental illness that he indulges, creating a feedback loop that is shrill, violent, hurtful, and mesmerizing. When Melgaard points these engines of depression, narcissism, mania, jealousy, schizophrenia, and paranoia inward, he is paralyzed. When he turns these engines on the outside world, on other people and objects, he transforms his environment. In this way his art shares the same vector as therapy: to take what is inside the head and make it external, so that the patient may come to terms with the discrepancies, and move on towards a more optimal functionality. However, Melgaard has destroyed the optimal, leaving nowhere to go but down and deeper. Motor Paralysis, IDEAL POLE, PARAPRAXIS, and POST-EPIDEMIC, are vinyl plate works made under the pseudonym Bjorn Amre, whom Melgaard told me was his uncle. IDEAL POLE, PARAPRAXIS, and POST-EPIDEMIC each have a book duct taped to the face. One of the books is Naked by The Window, a thick, true crime tell-all about the death of Ana Mendieta and the subsequent trial of Carl Andre, the court records of which have since been sealed. Motor Paralysis is Melgaard’s engagement with his worst and most feared enemy: complete paralysis. If Melgaard ever met a problem he couldn’t own, it is complete paralysis. How can he appropriate or manipulate or create if he can’t even move? Motor Paralysis is an orange flavored cartoon villain, an optically perfect illusion of clarity and pure color mass that is to be feared. It is an imposition of digital perfection upon the physical world, an exaggeration of the forces of digital rendering and a sharp authoritarian geometric abstraction.

 

Melgaard also gives himself the freedom to walk away from any artwork, by burying it under a pseudonym or blaming it on a collaborator, or even claiming it isn’t a real work by him. These are Cady Noland moves; Noland denies the authenticity of her own artworks and feigns legal attacks on artists, curators, and collectors who attempt to curate, collect, or reference her work. By building in a way to deny authorship, Melgaard can avoid negative criticism, criminal charges, and market forces, all of which seek to pin him down and hold him responsible. Whether any of these powers are truly conspiring against him or even aware of his behavior is beside the point, because Melgaard’s mental state is defined most by his extreme drug induced paranoia, of which he is very proud. Paranoia is proof of the hermetic seal he maintains around his universe, and this in turn is proof that he has created a universe he has the power to seal up. Outside entities are irrelevant to Melgaard; as a quantum artist he is not concerned with position, but velocity. Melgaard paints and sculpts, but his physical diversions are simply props in his grander narratives of control and manipulation. He is a performance artist, and like Marina Abramovic, his medium is human beings. Unlike Abramovic, whose subject is herself and whose primary move is to put herself on a pedestal, Melgaard uses other people as sculptures. In “The Shape of Things”, Neil Labute creates an antagonist whose MFA thesis project is the manipulation of her unwitting lover, as if he were a sculpture, into bettering himself, as if she is sculpting him into an ideal form. Labute is commenting directly on the vanity of culture, using the genre of performance art as a symptomatic vehicle. Melgaard’s self loathing is so great that it surfaces in other people, controlling them, too. Abramovic’s facile constructions float on a new age pseudo science of self improvement through performance. Melgaard’s complete honesty and total self annihilation undermines the self obsessive vanity of contemporary performance art completely. His work cuts idealism off art like a knife through fat. There is no self improvement, and there is no perfect artwork. There is no progress. At the end of a video by Melgaard I saw at Maccarone, a brief text flashes on the screen: “Everything you do that is wrong is right.” Bjarne Melgaard’s work is liberation. He is one of the most generous artists I have ever met.

 

To quote Bjarne from an email, “Also making up some artist just for the show so its kind of obvious that some of it would be a doubt around if its real or made up artists,something i like a lot.If its to much boring art around I usually just make up some new artist!!!”

 

Andra Ursuta on Margaret Weber:

“For her debut at Ramiken Crucible, Margaret Weber shows large sculptural tapestries made from pieces of industrial carpeting stripped almost bare. Hung on walls or slumped onto the floor, these ghostly objects are suspended in a sort of afterlife; in their former glory, they furbished the offices, classrooms, sales floors, and waiting areas that make up the modern world, mapping dull gray expanses of corporate interstitial space. In their present, varying unraveled states, most of the soft matter has been picked clean with a relentlessness that feels both calculated and out of control. Weber’s reductivist touch is traditionally female work turned against itself. To fashion tapestries, she exacerbates generative manual labor (the kind that spins soft materials into concrete form, ectoplasm-like), its monotony and introversion, to the point it becomes malignant.”

 

“Weber’s upright works move once-horizontal floor covers to a vertical, contemplative plane, enacting a kind of resurrection. But these mastodons are wall-to-wall carbon copies of the places they once occupied, vaguely crooked rectangles with the odd missing corner. This ensures their perpetual awkward habitation of any other space. The work’s unyielding scale also challenges the wasteful monumentality of much successful contemporary art, favoring restrained, targeted stripping over a cumulative approach. Through methodical pulling and teasing, the soft surface layer, the one that would record the stains, spills and footprints of everyday use, has been reduced to discretely repeating specks of minimal noise that distantly echos larger organizational systems that comprise our lives.”

 

I wanted to use a photograph by Lucas Blalock as a tangent, a moment of human connection within the vast numbers of images, the vast numbers of people, and the utter worthlessness of a single human life, despite all, still, a human being, with feelings and fathomless consciousness, expressing herself with her eyes and a hand, not a trick of photography or a statement of functional content, but functionless emotion, grace, and the physical suspension of mortal love. The state in which we experience art is emotion. However he vetoed my pick for the show. Instead he gave me four new pictures.

 

From “xyz”, 2011: “Blalock enthusiastically deploys any method that can be used to construct a picture, provided it is contained within the procedural program of photography. Each picture begins on film, shot with a 4×5 camera by the artist; digital interventions follow. Blalock leaves his pictures unprotected from these overlapping strategies, which often contain overly elaborated procedures lifted from the technical production of commercial photography. Patterns merge and mutate, inflected by color corrections that do not correct and masks that do not fit. We see the machine working; the technology that was originally conceived of as invisible is put on stage to act among the intersecting possibilities of the mechanical, the procedural, the historical. Through this apparatus a play is produced that opens out onto uncanny and libidinal economies of physical objects. Blalock’s images could be seen to function in the same way that jokes do for a comedian: they are immediate, and perform themselves while at the same time conjuring the world (the picture and the pictured). In the spirit of a slapstick pratfall, Blalock’s work carries on the experiment with humor and absurdity.”

 

Nolan Hendrickson made a zine in 2009 titled “Faggot Carnival.” A friend showed it to me. I found out he made paintings, too. Now he also makes sumi ink drawings and aqua resin sculptures.

 

Catharine Ahearn makes furniture out of pretzel, woodshed lava lamps, air fresheners, black hole washed-out automatic writing sci-fi doodle paintings or recording studio sound baffles, monochromes in the dark, cosmic compost, soft furniture, soft sculpture, soap sludge laboratories, systems that undermine the credibility of daily life, exposures to absurd objecthoods inserted into the pyramid scheme, transformed into a pretzel scheme, twisting salted brains inside out. Ahearn’s Earth Daze movement is gaining steam; helping the environment is better than nothing and reusing soap slivers for art rather than throwing the slivers away has been calculated to potentially reduce the landfill deposits of soap in the United States alone by 337 million tons each year.

 

“In earlier times foretelling the future was the job of oracles or sibyls. These were often women, who would be put into a trance by some drug or by breathing the fumes from a volcanic vent. their ravings would then be interpreted by the surrounding priests.” Stephen Hawking

 

Charlotte Hammer was born in 1942 and currently lives in Phoenix, Arizona.

 

Is depression real? Doctors and scientists say yes. Does therapy work? Does art therapy work? Ask Dan Finsel. He has no idea, but he’s not afraid to find out. Finsel made a sculpture last year of a cage within a cage within a cage within a cage; he thought it was a self box, but now he doesn’t think so. Encased in a hall of mirrors constructed of distorted versions of himself, Finsel is working on creating more problems with the precision of a surgeon. When I look at Finsel’s work I am a rubber ball, bouncing and ricocheting off the surfaces of his mind, with no sense of gravity, like a scuba diver in a cave filled with silt.

 

Energy behaves in waves. The distance between the highs and the lows is the frequency. Highs and lows are symmetrical, and the higher the peak, the lower the proportional depression. To talk about the next aspect of this model requires a break from the common morality surrounding the use of mind altering substances. Getting high on drugs leads to an equally low depression, the come down. Successful drug users are able to manage the low, which requires some acceptance and moreover, restraint from immediately trying to mollify the depression. Depression is terrifying, but should be endured without resorting to irrational behavior. Substance abuse victims medicate their lows with the chemical event that produced the low in the first place. This cycle of addiction is an exponentially accelerating repetition that changes the problem of dependency into other, less manageable problems with physical health, sexual relationships, employers, law enforcement authorities, and dealers.

 

It is hard to say if depression is always a problem. Human beings who consistently endure depressions seem to be the most interesting people. Human beings who consistently endure depressions are a lot less boring than people who cannot deal with negative feelings honestly. Art is the manifestation of the most private and specific vision. Working against consensus is at least the right track. Where is the dignity in contemporary art?

 

Depression is often directly caused by, in the words of Carl Wilson from a recent review of a biography of Alex Chilton, “whatever drives a handful of artists to be great at the expense of being good, to gamble double or nothing on the long odds.” To these artists, working often means the same thing as failure, in direct opposition to the ones who produce to prevail, the game players and the posers, the networkers and the opaque black holes, the ones that master systems and moves, techniques and cliques, professional attitudes and academic jargon. Have fun being successful. Have less fun not being successful. Thus, depression. Someone has to lose, something. Despite all assurances, in whatever form, be it connections, friends, curators, awards, prestigious exhibitions, magazine articles, or money, there is no guarantee that an artist can or will make a great work. Many artists game the system, making things that will bring success fast and easy, or things that sit in judgement of fast and easy by ironically moving faster and easier. This is cynicism. These artists have already lost everything, and their work doesn’t matter. Being successful is nothing. Failure is the most important thing in the world, and it is the mistakes that cannot ever be replicated that are the most beautiful.

 

” …because of works of art like this. I believe in abstract art. If I have not been able to justify it, I can perhaps say with the pragmatist, with the literalist: There it is. I have shown it to you. It has been done. It is being done. And because it can be done, it will be done. And now, I am done.” Kirk Varnedoe, Pictures of Nothing, 2003

 

If reflected through the prism of desire, the spectrum of physical objects that can be described as contemporary art reveal wide rivers of desire: desire for power, desire for money, desire for influence, desire for security, desire for fame – these desires are the main courses to run, and yet they are corrupt. Art driven by these agendas is art in name only. Art forms, like a crystal, past the limits of desire, beyond which lies the unknown. One cannot desire what cannot be conceived, but what cannot be conceived can be created.

 

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Depression


Catharine Ahearn
Bjorn Amre
Lucas Blalock
Borden Capalino
Dan Finsel
Charlotte Hammer
Matt Heckert
Nolan Hendrickson
Gavin Kenyon
Andra Ursuta
Margaret Weber

organized by Ramiken Crucible

 

March 22 – May 24 2014

 

Press Release

 

FREZE Magazine, June 2014

Kaleidoscope Magazine, April 2014


 




FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

10 Questions w / Joel Kyack

 

1. If you were to be eaten, how would you like it to be?

(a) chewed up

(b) swallowed whole

(c) from the inside out

 

2. As water seeks to level itself, how do you respond to its effort?

(a) adapt to its rules

(b) attempt to control it

(c) drink as much as you can

 

3. Film sets are, to varying degrees, “built to camera” – a process where only the elements of the set that will appear in the frame of the camera will be built. For what could this be a metaphor?

(a) some of life

(b) most of life

(c) all of life

 

4. If you had to die at sea, on which sea would it be?

(a) Black

(b) Red

(c) Dead

 

5. What do you feel in destroying something that provides you comfort and companionship?

(a) freedom

(b) remorse

(c) indifference

 

6. You’re forced to vacation with an in-law you don’t care for. You get stranded together on a watercraft – what would that watercraft be?

(a) a jet-ski

(b) a deck boat

(c) a log

 

7. If your life was spent on the water and the water held you captive, what would you sacrifice for your freedom?

(a) your dignity

(b) your life

(c) someone else

 

8. When you see a sculpture you like you respond by:

(a) wanting to remember it

(b) wanting to buy it

(c) wanting to dismiss it

 

9. Describe the difference between the sailor and the ship she sails upon:

(a) no difference

(b) flip sides of same coin

(c) the sailor loses herself on the ship, the ship loses itself on the sea

 

10. The word “Island” begins with “I”… coincidence?

(a) yes

(b) no

(c) no

 

 

“High and fine literature is wine, and mine is only water; but everybody likes water.”

― Mark Twain, Letter to William Dean Howells, 15 February 1887

 

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