The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Friday, June 22, 2018


Parafin opens new show 'Secular Icons in an Age of Moral Uncertainty' curated by Coline Milliard
Nathan Coley, Secular Icon in an Age of Moral Uncertainty, 2008 Fairground lights and aluminium, 46 × 99 × 10 cm © Nathan Coley 2017. Courtesy Parafin, London.


LONDON.- At a time when the notion of belief is particularly fraught, Secular Icons in an Age of Moral Uncertainty examines contemporary takes on some of the objects we turn to for meaning or solace. Pictures, screens, movies, and commodities are filtered here through formally abstract conceptual propositions, linked by a sense of indeterminacy. Taking its title from Nathan Coley’s eponymous grids of fairground lights, the exhibition brings together forms of image-making which – while redolent of an art history spanning from Byzantine icon painting to 20th-century avant-gardes – decidedly engage with the now. Which ‘now’ they specifically address, though, remains open to interpretation: is it the lure of gore, of entertainment, of luxury? The grisly spectacle of terrorism or the untapped riches of technological obsolescence? More than the objects themselves, what’s under scrutiny in Secular Icons is the act of looking, the dynamics driving our gaze, and the multitude of projections a collection of pieces so radically distinct encourages.

Nathan Coley is perhaps best known for his large-scale illuminated text pieces, such as There Will Be No Miracles Here (2006), which often challenge the human compulsion to belief. Coley’s series Secular Icon(s) In An Age of Moral Uncertainty (2007-8) reduces the text pieces’ formal language to its bare-bone sculptural elements: metal structure and fairground lights. What remains are ambiguous light boxes at once minimal and saturated with visual memories of the funfair, as well as of the now-ubiquitous glow of the smartphone screen. Illuminating their viewers, Coley’s Secular Icons are simultaneously authoritative and frivolous, awe-inspiring and toy-like. Like most of the works in the exhibition, these pieces articulate a push-and-pull, endlessly unresolved.

If an icon is primarily understood as an object standing for, and allowing access to, another entity – be it religious or cultural – then Indrė Šerpytytė’s 2 Seconds of Colour (2015) is among the most icon-like pieces in the exhibition. Her monumental light boxes bring to mind geometric abstraction, but their referent is gruesome. The artist captured the blocks of colour that first come up in any Google Images Search before the pictures are fully loaded. Here the burnt red, deep brown, and opaque black rectangles were triggered by the term ‘Isis Beheading’. They stand in for the desert sand, the sky, as well as the victims and executioners’ bright clothing. The stark emotional detachment of these Mondrianesque compositions is a powerful response to the mechanisms of spectacle increasingly cultivated by extremist groups. Šerpytytė’s pieces forbid any pathos while communicating through their size, and sheer volume, something of the horrors of war and of the folly of any forms of fanaticism. Like all icons, they carve out a space for reflection, connecting us to a reality that cannot be fully comprehended.

Mimosa Echard’s Braindead (2015) also contrasts opposites, namely the tension between its seductive, shimmery veils and the gory images the series is based on (all lifted from Peter Jackson’s 1992 comedy horror movie of the same name). To compose each work, the artist spreads silver acrylic paint on one of the film’s ketchup-red stills. She then covers it with a thin piece of fabric and lets it harden. When the photograph is torn away, some of its pigments remain embedded in the paint. Echard embraces the disturbingly entertaining power of broken skin and gushing blood. She stages smooth body surfaces and glistening innards – outside, inside – eliciting the uncomfortable site that connects the two, the wound. Braindead also tackles the painting medium itself, inevitably loaded with the legacy of movements such as Supports/Surfaces and Abstract Expressionism. Echard’s painting is equally physical and process-based, at times almost performative. But ultimately it’s the piece, not the gesture, that the artist offers for contemplation. She pins it to the wall, like a relic, or a hide stretched out to dry.

The skin has been cured for some time in Simon Fujiwara’s Fabulous Beasts series (2015-16). Luxurious second-hand fur coats have been shaved to expose the intricate sewing patterns constructing the garments. The leather reveals dozens, sometimes hundreds, of tiny fragments, hinting at the number of animals killed for each jacket. Mounted on stretchers like canvases, Fujiwara’s works also summon up a traditional painting language. Yet, although formally suggesting a form of abstraction, the Fabulous Beasts are readymade compositions that never cease to refer back to the world. Their seams chart paths in uncanny landscapes, mapping intricate links between comfort, vanity, desire, and death.

Like Fujiwara’s Beasts, Sara Naim’s Reactions (2016-7) have terrain-like qualities. As with Echard's Braindead, they conjure up skins, inside and outside, but here the artist grapples with the materiality of the image itself. The Reactions capture the chemicals sandwiched between the positive and negative sheets of an expired Polaroid film. Naim dissects the film’s membranes, scans them, and blows choice details up. She relentlessly tests the possibilities of the photographic medium, and the many ways it can exist in two- and three-dimensional spaces. In her hands, damaged film isn’t the end of an image, but the beginning of its reinvention: from photography to sculpture. The results are beguiling polyptychs, whose commanding presence echoes the altarpiece’s.





Today's News

December 2, 2017

Bodleian Libraries exhibition celebrates first graphic designers of English texts

V&A Gallery opens today at Design Society in Shekou, Shenzhen, as part of a unique international collaboration

Iconic paintings leave North America for the first time for Ashmolean exhibition

Exhibition at the Bruce Museum examines the print revival of the 1960s and '70s

Albert Einstein's letters are highlight of Christie's December online Auctions

Work by Morris Louis and photographic album by Ringl + Pit enter the collection of the National Gallery of Art

Phillips' Hong Kong Fall Auctions achieve US$41 million

Meadows Museum mourns the loss of curator Nicole Atzbach

Lévy Gorvy announces United States representation of François Morellet

'Two Decades: British Printmaking in the 1960s and 1970s' on view at Marlborough Fine Art

Artists and scientists' creative thinking challenged by the great questions posed by the Cosmos

Exhibition at Julie Saul Gallery highlights the continuing influence of the past on the present

Belgian artist freed after 19 days chained to marble block

Brazilian galleries bring over 140 artists to Miami's art fairs in December

The Ringling works toward $5 million goal to preserve historic Ca' d'Zan

GAK Society for Contemporary Art opens exhibition of works by Than Hussein Clark

Parafin opens new show 'Secular Icons in an Age of Moral Uncertainty' curated by Coline Milliard

Artist Heimo Zobernig's fourth solo exhibition at Galerie Chantal Crousel opens in Paris

Enrique Martínez Celaya solo exhibition features new large-scale outdoor installation

Eduard Planting Gallery in Amsterdam presents 'Celebrating Harvest'

US actor Jim Nabors, TV's lovable Gomer Pyle, dies at 87

Exhibition presents Irving Penn's and Andy Warhol's perspectives side by side

Sotheby's announces highlights from the inaugural History of Science & Technology auction

Exhibition of works by Lee Bul on view at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Porsche Super Speedster offered for first time in 50 years at RM Sotheby's Porsche 70th Anniversary Auction

2.- Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens opens 'Storytelling: French Art from the Horvitz Collection'

3.- Gauguin: Voyage to Tahiti stars Vincent Cassel as the famed French artist

4.- Stunning colored diamonds expected to dazzle at Heritage Auctions' Summer Fine Jewelry Auction

5.- US designer Kate Spade found dead at 55

6.- Vincent Van Gogh painting sells for over 7 million euros: Artcurial auction house

7.- Sir Stanley Spencer painting discovered hidden under a bed during a drugs raid

8.- Oxford's Bodleian Libraries unveil UK's first major Tolkien exhibition in decades

9.- Major exhibition at the Guggenheim explores decades of work by Alberto Giacometti

10.- World's largest freshwater pearl goes for 320,000 euros



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez


Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org avemariasound.org juncodelavega.com facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful