José Parlá: In Medias Res
IN MEDIAS RES
September 12 - October 18, 2014
Opening Reception: Friday, September 12, 6-8 pm
Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery is pleased to announce IN MEDIAS RES, the second solo exhibition of Brooklyn based artist José Parlá. The exhibition will feature new paintings, sculptures and a large-scale mural installation.
IN MEDIAS RES is a chronicle of Parlá’s life, beginning with his childhood and including his extensive travels around the world. Through choreographed, painterly works, the artist creates impressions of life-altering moments that have impacted his art making process.
The artist’s distinctive method of conceptual and abstract storytelling unfolds and insists on its own vivid layers. The material densities of the works infuse the imagery with a sense of visual narration. Parlá’s paintings exist somewhere between transcription and revelation – the accumulation of words, signs and markings evolve into a complex and unpredictable symphony. Time is very much at stake, and each image is an effort to demarcate the passing of time.
In conjunction with the exhibition, Damiani will publish a new monograph, IN MEDIAS RES, with essays by Dieter Buchart, Lara Pans, and Bryce Wolkowitz. The volume is the artist’s most comprehensive survey to date, spanning the artist’s earliest sketchbooks to his current international projects and exhibitions.
José Parlá (1973) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. He exhibits internationally, most recently, as part of the Istanbul74’ Arts & Culture Festival in Turkey. Parlá has completed major commissions including the 2012 Diary of Brooklyn, a large-scale, site-specific painting for the Barclays Center and Gesture Performing Dance, Dance Performing Gesture, a permanent mural for the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s BAM Fisher building. José has also been commissioned by André Balazs for a mural painting at the Chiltern Firehouse in London as well as by the architectural firm SNØHETTA for a mural at the Hunt Library at North Carolina State University entitled: Nature of Language. In 2012, Parlá collaborated with French artist JR and exhibited Wrinkles of the City – Havana, Cuba at the 11th Havana Biennial. A documentary directed by JR and Parlá, with the same title, was awarded the Grand Prize for Documentary Short and Best U.S. Premiere Documentary Short in 2013 at the Heartland Film Festival, Indianapolis, IN. In 2015, Parlá will participate in an exhibition at the High Museum in Atlanta, Georgia.
Parlá’s work is in the permanent collections of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York; The British Museum, London; and the POLA Museum of Art in Hakone, Japan.
Charged: Bryce Wolkowitz Interview
An interview with the owner and curator of the NYC gallery at the forefront of digital art
by Kat Herriman, June 19, 2014
Slightly obscured by the glare of the gallery’s impossibly tall and tinted windows, the lines of Robert Currie’s wiry, site-specific installation stretch toward the entrance of Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery. Unassumingly elegant, Currie’s sculpture looks untouched by human hands, but like a majority of the work shown in the Chelsea gallery, the veneer of flawless execution masks careful engineering. It is this seamless blend of art and science that has fascinated gallerist Bryce Wolkowitz throughout his career and that prompted him to open his eponymous space in 2001. “When I finally decided to open my gallery, I surveyed the landscape to figure out where I could have some degree of impact in the big marketplace that is the New York art world,” he says. “I remember realizing their wasn’t a place fully committed to showing this idea of the moving image, a place with a deep degree of confidence that [digital] really was the most cutting-edge medium of my generation.”
One of the first gallerists to pursue an almost all-digital and video program, Wolkowitz developed a strong group of early supporters that continues to expand as technically-driven artists continue to multiply. Sitting in an office decorated with lighted panels by Jim Campbell and Yorgos Alexopoulus, the lifelong collector shared his insights into the brave new world of digital art.
Video art is still something that institutions struggle to exhibit effectively. Were there challenges when you first opened on how to show the work?
Early on, I realized that if there was going to be any degree of success selling video art, it had to be very accessible to the collector. And that is something I still seek out for myself and preach internally. It has to function very simply—to be, in a term, plug and play, which in many ways was a breakthrough concept. I think in the past collectors had this idea of ‘Wait, I can’t buy that. That’s moving-image based work,’ but that’s because the cumbersomeness of the systems. I think the complexity of the technology impeded a connection from a collector standpoint.
Midnight Moment: Transits
June 1 - 30, 2014, every night from 11:57 pm - midnight
Times Square, NYC
Just in time for the month of the Summer Solstice, Yorgo Alexopoulos’s site-specific June Midnight Moment will fill 42 large LED screens with abstracted celestial forms, creating a virtual solar system in Times Square. The artist’s film, titled Transits, will premiere just before midnight on Sunday, June 1st, and play every night throughout the month from 11:57 p.m. to midnight. Midnight Moment is a monthly presentation of The Times Square Advertising Coalition and Times Square Arts.
New York-based artist Yorgo Alexopoulos is best known for his innovative use of new media and technology in the contemporary art and film industries. The artist often transforms his paintings, photographs, films, and digital works into immersive time-based, fine art installations.
Yorgo Alexopoulos said, “The pieces I make fuse my interests and worldview into an artwork that has some mystery or abstraction but enough common symbolism that anybody can relate to. Ultimately, the audience makes their own interpretation but along the way the artist and viewer share a collective experience.”
Sherry Dobbin, Times Square Public Art Director, said, “This is the first time we have used the signs as individual components of collage. Alexopoulos’s unique solar system surrounds our special planet, Times Square.”
Midnight Moment is the largest coordinated effort in history by the sign operators in Times Square to display synchronized, cutting-edge creative content on electronic billboards and newspaper kiosks throughout Times Square every night. For more information on past projects, please visit TimesSquareNYC.org/MidnightMoment.
The Creators Project: The Making of “Watermark”
In 2006, Canadian filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nick de Pencier made a feature-length documentary on photographer Edward Burtynsky, who captures macro photographs of landscapes altered by large-scale human activity. The film, entitled Manufactured Landscapes, included awe-inspiring glimpses into the environments in which humans have made (for better or worse) visible impact—city-sized junkyards, massive oil rigs, colossal factories full of worker bees, and so on.
While the scale of such a project seemed impossible to trump, Baichwal and de Pencier have followed-up with Watermark, a second feature that follows Burtynsky as he embarks to capture ”existential interactions around the world with water” as massive panoramas of the most diverse bodies of water on Earth…Read more here
Robert Currie: Viewpoints
May 6 - June 14, 2014
Opening Reception: Tuesday, May 6, 6-8pm
Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery is proud to present the first New York solo exhibition by Robert Currie, entitled Viewpoints.
Currie’s work focuses on two opposing ideas: chaos theory, the notion that order comes out of disorder, and complexity theory, which sees as inevitable that order will emerge in any sufficiently complex system. Currie develops contrasts: rational and irrational, negative and positive, order and disorder, filled and unfilled.
These states are presented in new wall-based works that, though created systematically, accentuate the human touch in the hand painting of thousands of strands of black nylon within perspex cases. As the viewer encounters a piece, an image appears, yet only from one viewpoint. These works subtly direct the viewer whose initial arbitrary movements through the gallery slowly converge on a fixed point, lured by the promise of an unexpected discovery.
This exhibition will showcase a new site-specific installation that continues the artist’s evocative use of nylon monofilament and unspooled videotape. Utilizing the double-heighted walls and angles of the gallery space, numerous lines of nylon monofilament create an illusion of depth through repetition and the slight movement of the material.
Although much of his work is abstract, Currie’s practice might be most easily understood by exploring its relationship to architecture. The precise placement of materials and his fascination with line and form produce works that describe solid architectural forms, yet have an ephemeral and illusive quality to them. This is emphasized in new abstract nylon sculptures, videotape works and drawings in which multiple viewpoints are required to begin to understand each piece.
Born in London in 1976 and based there, Robert Currie completed his MA at the Royal College of Art in 2000. The artist was selected for the prestigious New Contemporaries showcase that year and has since exhibited nationally and internationally.
The Creators Project speaks with Jim Campbell about his new exhibition at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery, open from March 7 - April 19, 2014.
Jim Campbell at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery, March 7 - April 19, 2014
March 7 - April 19, 2014
Opening Reception: Friday, March 7, 2014, 6 - 8 pm
Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by Jim Campbell from March 7 - April 19, 2014. The show will focus on the pioneering artist’s most recent series of sculptural light installations. A consummate innovator, Campbell is considered one of the leading artists working today in the field of new media.
The exhibition coincides with Jim Campbell’s first New York museum retrospective. Organized by the Museum of the Moving Image, Jim Campbell: Rhythms of Perception, on view from March 21–June 15, 2014, spans three decades with an emphasis on his early experimental work.
In addition, New York’s Joyce Theater will present Constellation, a collaboration between Alonzo King LINES Ballet and Jim Campbell, from March 18 - 23, 2014. The performance will feature an installation comprised of 1,000 light spheres programmed in synchronized interplay with the dancers.
A former filmmaker, Campbell moved to interactive video installations in the mid-1980s and has been working with LEDs – light emitting diodes – since 1999. His investigations with LED technology have produced immersive, illuminated, sculptural environments that vividly record and recalibrate the presence of time in relation to light, space, and the human condition. Simultaneously shifting the viewer’s perception through works that synthesize acts of observation, reflection, and engagement in an all-encompassing pictorial realm, Campbell deconstructs these grand optical illusions by revealing the mechanisms at play.
In three separate series on view at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery: Topographies, Reconstructions, and Home Movies, the artist continues to challenge notions of image making and the experience of viewing by injecting color (an element rarely used before) into his illuminated palette. The exhibition includes panel projections comprising hundreds of LEDs strung from ceiling to floor form a grid that transmits low-resolution imagery distilled from found Kodachrome home movies; wall-mounted pieces, or topographies, composed of individually-scaled LEDs that comprise a gradient picture plane; and a series of four color LED-based bas reliefs, whose transparent, molded, resin front pieces act as both surface and content.
While his earlier LED-based transformative works – primarily featuring pixilated views of fleeting activity or quotidian events – relied on video as content, Campbell’s focus has recently turned more towards materiality and process. The new works “hover on the edge of abstraction, re-abstraction and representation,” says Campbell, and investigate how perception, as a visceral phenomenon of time and memory, can be altered, filtered, or manifested through the layering of media.
Ralf Schmerberg Greetings from our planet
Exhibition catalog essay by Bryce Wolkowitz
My first experience with Ralf Schmerberg’s work was his photographic book Dirty Dishes—page after page of dishes in disarray. My initial read was neutral, but then I looked past the repetition, and began to witness the layers of times and places: the experiences built into the imagery. These dishes were all over the world — their smears and crumbs and sauces were the accumulative detritus of dozens of culinary cultures. The dishes functioned as documents of this man’s travels. Once delicious, now vulgar consumables-on-porcelain. Suddenly the banal becomes strange.
The dishes were a potent entry point. From there Schmerberg’s mind began to open up to me. He is an obsessive cataloguer of categories—of people, of views from windows, of flowers, of fingernails, of feathers, of shrines, of colors, of clouds. And in cataloguing, the viewer is confronted with all of the difference and dissonance of imposed order. Categories begin to break down and recombine with the sensibility of a poem—the scraggly light of a firework will echo the edge of a fur in a window display, or a splatter of sauce on a plate. Faces become masks, beggars become icons.
Schmerberg’s viewpoint is highly personal—through his work he’s creating a diary, journal, poem of his life, work and travels. For me the work is most closely aligned to Robert Frank’s The Americans—notable for its distanced view both high and low. Like Frank, Schmerberg is intensely engaged with the reality of the surface of the world.
I like that I feel uncomfortable at times—that not everything is beautiful or refined. There is certainly a dose of the sublime, a touch of transcendence, but there is also a counterweight of stark reality, undressed, discreetly observed, both secret and messy. We are faced with truths that are poignant in their honesty—a girl in India whose legs are bowing under the weight of the metal pipe she is holding. This kind of reality, it sneaks up on you and slaps you across the face. Suddenly you are not neutral. You are looking at the world as an artist looks at the world.
This degree of discomfort, of the confrontational aspect of photography (also reminiscent of Frank), creates an emotional investment with the work. Imagery becomes drama. Each piece tells a story, functioning as stills in a movie the artist has shot. It’s probably no surprise that in addition to being a photographer, Schmerberg has a long history as a filmmaker.
Much like the Neo-realists of Italian cinema, Schmerberg often substitutes our desire for the ideal with hard facts and truths of reality — it’s not a beautiful woman seated in front of paintings at the museum, but rather a biker in a leather vest with the word Germany just below his long hair. Then there is the maid, struggling on the carpet under a baroque sfumato, unaware of how she matches the two yellow chairs beside her. And the veiled woman, passing by an erotically charged nude. People and paintings: another ingenuous category.
The longer one considers these images, the more questions they pose. Can this biker be a connoisseur? What does he think of this landscape he is leaning into? Could it be an image he has revisited for years? And the yellow uniformed maid: what has she found there on the cream carpet? Will she ever sit in one of the yellow chairs? And where is the veiled woman headed? Has she noticed the long cracks in the wall? This is the poetic mystery at the heart of the work.
Schmerberg has developed a form that is open-ended, even deliberately ambiguous — one that engages viewers, rewarding their prolonged consideration, and perhaps leaving them with as many questions as answers.
— Bryce Wolkowitz, 2013