NEW YORK, NY.- bitforms gallery
announces its first New York solo exhibition with artist Marina Zurkow. Exhibited widely throughout the US and recognized recently with a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, Zurkow is known for cross-disciplinary animation work and her participatory art environments.
The exhibition Necrocracy explores governance of the dead, focusing on the geologic chronology of oil and the culture of petrochemical production. Featuring four new projects, it furthers Zurkows investigations of human relationships with animals, plants and weather. These works rigorously engage the politics of the bodys interrelationships with landscape, and question the Romantic-era division between the natural and human specifically, how our society disturbs, worships and is dominated by beings that are long dead.
In 2011, Zurkow ventured to the high southern plains of the Llano Estacado in West Texas, where she met with geologists, naturalists, ranchers, activists and oilmen in the Permian Basin, located between Marfa and Midland. In the Permian Period 250 million years ago, the geological riches of the area were formed, as marine microorganisms accumulated in sediments on the floor of a vast saline sea. Over millions of years, the seas dried out and these creatures transmuted into hydrocarbons.
The resulting works respond to complexities of the landscape above and below, honing in on the interdependency of humans and hydrocarbons- who, through their transformation into petrochemicals achieve a form of rebirth, even immortality. Thousands of sketches drawn from life and online research make up the character elements in Mesocosm (Wink, TX), a generative animation at the heart of Necrocracy. Another series of animations, NeoGeo, takes on petrogeology, leveraging the various the debates around fracking and global dependency on oil. Using the muted graphical language of early arcade video gaming and 19th Century notation of rock formations, these works depict a drill passing through deep stratifications of time.
Debuting in the exhibition is a group of soft sculptures, handcrafted with Tyvek surfaces adorned with imagery from The Petroleum Manga, a suite of pictures depicting everyday oil-derived products such as garbage bags, water guns, plastic chickens, balloons, food containers and credit cards. These include Zurkows Body Bag for Humans (Nylon Polymer), Body Bag for Cats (High-Density Polyethylene /HDPE) and Body Bag for Birds (Polyethylene Terephthalate / PET), among others. Recalling the tombs and excavations of Egypts royalty, these vessels evoke a technologically manufactured vocabulary of excess, while remaining both horrific and tender.