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Zefrey Throwell's Panic in the Chalk Cave opens at Gasser Grunert
Paulina, 2012. Film Still from Time Stau. Co-directed by Dirk Skreber.

NEW YORK, NY.- Panic in the Chalk Cave, Zefrey Throwell’s second exhibition at Gasser & Grunert following Ocularpation, 2012, was inspired by the devastating experience of the artist losing his father to meth addiction. The title, Panic in the Chalk Cave, slang for losing oneself to meth, features three new series of works. At last…rest are eight large-scale portraits, memorials to Throwell’s father, painted using his cremated ashes that contain traces of the methamphetamine that ended his life; Time Stau is a gritty, hyper-real movie co-directed with artist Dirk Skreber detailing a young couple falling in love, experiencing the exciting beginnings of addiction, and seeking simultaneous time travel; and stills from the film form the basis for the densely layered paintings Panic in the Chalk Cave.

The technique of painting moments of his father’s life with his ashes in At last…rest, utilizes its own material qualities, capturing the soft focus of memory, locked in expectation and sublime contemplation. They span his father’s life: his rough upbringing and running away from home at age 15, life as a hippy in Haight-Ashbury in the 60’s, smuggling drugs as a biker in the 80’s, and finally his death of a meth overdose at age 59. Throwell’s paintings lovingly embrace and reflect on the inevitable catastrophe.

Time Stau, expands the story from the personal to the global by portraying the fast spreading epidemic of meth destroying lives throughout the world. Dirk Skreber’s and Zefrey Throwell’s first short film collaboration, takes us along for the ride, through a sumptuous tableaux of narratives of a young couple. Their lives deteriorate before our eyes, suspended in their own time flip, as they lose all sense of self, friends and family, surrendering to the irresistible lure of the drug and the incomprehensible mystery of the power of addiction.

Throwell’s Panic in the Chalk Cave paintings begin with film stills from Time Stau. The eight richly constructed works combine photographic images, silkscreen, and layers of oil paint. The brusque strokes convey a sense of urgency, the impasto of titanium white slashing across the canvas. The process both reveals and obscures, reflecting the exhilarating highs and crushing lows of the secretive lives hidden from the prying eyes of parents, friends, and the public. Throwell’s painting process is as much reduction as addition – as John Cage said: “Every something is an echo of nothing”.

The exhibition and film were originally commissioned by the Leopold Hoesch Museum, Düren, Germany. New paintings were created for the exhibition at Gasser & Grunert with thanks to the artist’s mother for contributing her ashes of his father.

Zefrey Throwell
Zefrey Throwell’s recent performances are rooted in astute social criticism, aggressively reclaiming private space for public use with a focus on convivial community spirit, aka fun. Often the performances involve massive groups of people, such as the largest and loudest symphony in history- the 1,000 car horn orchestration entitled Entropy Symphony III with LAND in Los Angeles and a weeklong strip poker critique of modern economics called I’ll Raise You One… for Performa 11 at Art in General. Nine of Throwell’s films, including Ocularpation: Wall Street, have been screened at the Museum of Modern Art for a special night honoring Throwell’s work curated by Rajendra Roy, the chief curator of film at MoMA. Throwell first major Museum presentation at the Leopold Hoesch Museum in Germany 2012 included the film Time Stau, At last…rest. Throwell’s new artist book “Folding Space/Pressing Time” is a collaboration with artist Dan Gluibizzi and can be acquired at the gallery or through the artist’s web page Throwell’s projects have been featured in The New York Times, CNN, NPR, NBC, Artforum, Art in America and Modern Painters. Throwell has work in The Museum of Modern Art, NY collection.

Dirk Skreber
Dirk Skreber, a German born artist, lives and works between New York City and Berlin. His media ranges from sculpture, installation, painting, and now film through this collaboration with Throwell. He has exhibited worldwide, and his work has been acquired by The Saatchi Collection, The Collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles), The Collection of the Museum Frieder Burda (Baden-Baden) and many more. Skreber is currently represented by Friedrich Petzel Gallery, New York, and Blum & Poe Los Angeles.

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