To Build A Fire
Curated by Yuri Masnyj
April 13 - May 12, 2007
Opening reception April 13, 7-9 pm
Matthew Day Jackson
The show consists of work from nine artists. Although wide ranging in their choice of medium these artists share a common interest in ideas of construction and object making. Sara VanDerBeek’s carefully realized photograph of a handmade mobile is a constructed armature that holds bits of historically significant found imagery and hand painted ceramic pieces. Olaf Breuning’s photograph “Cat” depicts a cat’s outline rendered by taking stripped birch branches and fixing them to a line of evergreen trees. The contribution from David Brooks is an abstract sculpture, rendered by casting a crumpled up star chart in asphalt. The heavy black material is punctured by a series of steel rods in places where stars would fall- it rests cantilevered off the edge of a white pedestal.
A common theme throughout the work is an interest in history and how the events of the past inform the present. Gavin Anderson’s painting “Graveyard Flying” is a fantastical image of a clear blue sky dotted with thousands of blank tombstones in flight. Justin Valdes contributed drawings from his ongoing series of colorfully rendered historical books that appear with their pages spread open and imagery running, bleeding off the page. “Night Moves” by Eric Fertman is a hand painted freestanding sculpture in the scale of a small monument. Comprised largely of shapes taken from Fertman’s unique drawing vocabulary, its form evokes a mysterious machine of the past.
Several artists in the group have anthropomorphic works. One oversized female form by Anya Kielar leans against the wall in a large shadow box frame. The colorful relief collage is comprised of found materials and objects. David Altmejd contributed a standing male form with a bird like head. Matthew Day Jackson’s, “12 Steps”, is a pair of found 2x4s covered in text, standing upright in a pair of fringed boots. The text is taken from Alcoholics Anonymous but is missing any reference to god. The piece stands in the corner like a post apocalyptic recovery totem.
Masnyj says of curating the exhibition:
I wanted to bring together a group of artists whose work reflects the anxiety of our turbulent present by re-constructing and re contextualizing objects and images from our past. I was drawn to artists who create new forms from cultural fragments or remake objects, giving them a current and modern relevance. These artists approach history as a landscape to be mined for significant material. Like shamans, oracles and fortunetellers, they construct compositions that shed light on our understanding of the present and the future.
Yuri Masnyj is an artist living and working in New York City. He most recently exhibited a sculptural installation in the 2006 Whitney Biennial, and has an upcoming show of new work at Metro Pictures Gallery in June 2007.