MERCURY RETROGRADE: AMIMATED REALITIES
March 31st - May 21st, 2013
Opening Reception: Sunday, March 31st
6 - 9pm
Stephan Stoyanov Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of Mercury Retrograde: Animated Realities, an international selection of artists making animated videos. The exhibition is curated by William Heath & Zeljka Himbele, and features animations by Brian Alfred, Karina Aguilera Skvirsky, Aline Bouvy & John Gillis, eteam, Cliff Evans, Jan Nalevka and Noah Spiderman & Scott Gelber.
The title of the exhibition takes on a specific optical illusion referred to as Mercury retrograde; three or four times a year, the planet Mercury appears to move backward in its orbit when seen from Earth. In popular astrology, Mercury retrograde marks intense periods when things go awry, signaling the need for reflection and revision of our lives. This is a time for veering away from the past and taking cautious steps forward. Mercury's cycle has been speculated as the cause of major course corrections for society; it gives us a chance to grow as humans, to raise critical awareness, and possibly make a movement towards radical change.
Appropriating popular culture images from television, film, web, newspaper, tabloid, and fashion magazines, the artists in the exhibition manipulate source materials with a variety of aesthetic approaches and montage techniques that offer reflections upon our mass media-saturated cultures and uncertain future. The materiality of animation allows for flattening, collaging, reduction, and abstraction of the appropriated material that at once allows the absurdity of contemporary life to stand more singularly and clearly. The works collectively vibrate with an omnipresent feeling of anxiety, a kind of anxious energy that demands we consider the current paths and policies we have allowed to be chosen for us. The works grapple with complex topics surrounding the culture of spectacle, excesses of consumption, economy and power relations in the era of globalization and interconnectedness, and reveal the artists' simultaneous fascination with and critique of our culture, society, and politics.
LINE BY LINE
A group exhibition including the works by Amelie Chabannes, Jen Mazza, and Brigitte NaHoN
March 3rd - April 14th, 2013
Opening Reception: Sunday, March 3rd
6 - 9pm
Stephan Stoyanov Gallery is pleased to present Line by Line a group show featuring the work of Amelie Chabannes, Jen Mazza and Brigitte Nahon. This is the first time the three artists, all represented by the gallery, have been show together in the same exhibition. On first glance, their work demonstrates different aesthetic sensibilities (and they are quite visually diverse) however, upon closer inspection the viewer notices similarities in both the visual and conceptual nature of their output. Linking the three is an interest in concealment and revelation, chaos and control, the interpretation and function of line and an obsessive nature to their artistic production. This exhibition will concentrate on their use of line to explore both shared and disparate interests.
Line is a rich metaphor for the artist. It denotes not only boundary, edge or contour, but is an agent for location, energy, and growth. It is literally movement and change - life itself.
Historically, the idea of line is seen as “an identifiable path created by a point moving in space. It is one-dimensional and can vary in width, direction, and length. Lines often define the edges of a form. Lines can be horizontal, vertical, or diagonal, straight or curved, thick or thin. They lead your eye around the composition and can communicate information through their character and direction.” The work of Chabannes, Mazza and Nahon can certainly be viewed as part of this rich tradition, however, like many artists of the past few decades; they have subjected the accepted concept of line to a critical examination of idea and expanded its form. In her recent paintings Chabannes continues to explore “limitless notions of identity” through the use of the unconscious and automatic drawing technique (inspired by the Surrealist idea of the hand moving randomly, freed from rational control). However as she has “…engaged in deeper research on fewer specific aspects of our identity, I became profoundly drawn to extreme fusional relationships that exhaust the sense of individuality.” Focusing on couples where this fusion has become subject matter for their work, Chabannes obsessively transfers graphite line over and over onto gessoed panel until the simple gesture becomes a chaotic, disjointed and almost decipherable mass of energy and tension where two become one. In this sense, Chabannes’s line obscures rather than illuminates. For Mazza, on first viewing, her line is quite literal, the reproduction of lines of text. However, in her small-scale, exquisitely rendered paintings Mazza, who has “always privileged written above visual language for its precision,” paints within a realist tradition. “I enjoy the disjunction of resisting or thwarting literal expectations: my paintings always give back something other than that which would be offered by the object in person or its photographic likeness. What realism allows me to do is feign reality, to imply truths, and to lie.” In this sense, Mazza’s line, like that of Chabannes, obscures and complicates rather than reveals. In her sculptures, Nahon takes the line off the paper/canvas and pushes it into real space thus challenging its historical definition and turning the line into a physical object. Like the others, chaos plays a role, but for Nahon, line is a metaphor for chaos becoming balance; trying to achieving equilibrium in an imperfect world. “Through my sculptures, I explore the bond between physical and spiritual constituents within our environment and between generations. I attempt to push the limits of knowledge and perception and express how solitude can become ethereal and even vanish when shared with others. My sculptures and drawings create a space for these considerations, through delicate use of line, color and balance.”
Line by Line has been organized by curator William Stover in conjunction with the Stephan
Stoyanov Gallery. More information, including bibliographies and biographies for each of the artists can be obtained by contacting the gallery.
A work by Maria Campos-Pons entitled "Esa Palabra Mar and this Word Waiting" is installed on the stairwell as a connecting thread between the two exhibitions. In Campos-Pons' own words this piece speaks to the, "ocean and distance, perceiving the island from a bird's eye view which enables geography and the self to merge and becoming a linear investigation concerning distance and the construction of proximity. Drawing and painting are gestures in a created platform for photography. The real and the imaginary form in an image that is both a possibility and a paradox".