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bitforms gallery opens fourth solo exhibition with New York based artist Yael Kanarek
Yael Kanarek, installation view, left: Swing, 2011; center: Deeply Concentric, 2013; right: Perpetual Dream Catcher, 2013. Photo: John Berens. Image courtesy bitforms gallery nyc.

NEW YORK, NY.- bitforms gallery announces a fourth solo exhibition with New York based artist Yael Kanarek. Best known for a practice that combines multilingualism, storytelling, and Internet culture, Kanarek crafts spaces in her art that constantly negotiate a perspective of Self that is networked. Absorbing influences as disparate as sports, high modernism, and contemporary advertising, High Performance Gear features six major works created in New York, Italy, and Israel. The exhibition marks a debut of new silicone Textworks, a soft sculpture and computational video pieces. Expanding the notions of popular culture, identity and perspective, visitors to the exhibition are invited to share their gallery experience with Kanarek over social media, using Instagram hashtags specific to each artwork.

Articulating a gap between the handcrafted and industrial, Deeply Concentric results from Kanarek’s experience of Kandinsky’s Color study – Squares with Concentric Rings (1913) in an advertisement for the Museum of Modern Art’s exhibition Inventing Abstraction. The small work on paper measuring approximately nine by twelve inches is blown up to heroic proportions in ads that cover NYC buildings. Whimsical in her replication of the advertisement's color, Kanarek's narrative responds to spectacle, specifically that which handles visual art's distribution as pop branding devices in the service of museums. The title, Deeply Concentric, comes from first complete English translation of Kandinsky’s seminal text “On the Spiritual in Art” in 1946 by the Guggenheim Museum: “Deeply concentric, each art is separated from the other, but on the other hand they are combined by their innermost tendencies.”

The explosively saturated and fluorescent color palette of Rainbow, towards a New Balance (Made in the USA), is drawn from a pair of athletic shoes belonging to the artist. Its three-dimensional surface uses the word "white" as a compositional unit that is repeated hundreds of times, in nine languages, as hand-cast silicone text. Part of Kanarek's Textwork series, which began in 2007, Rainbow navigates the territorial spaces created by language - in this case, connecting hue to branding and to the globalized use of polymers to manufacture of durable equipment. Shuffling the physical properties of language, Kanarek also creates a cognitive interference known as the Stroop affect. "The gap between text and color creates a pause and allows a white boundless space to emerge in the viewer's mind, recalling Kandinsky's observations in 'Concerning the Spiritual in Art,'" says Kanarek.

The exhibition also includes a computational videoclock installation, Jungle: Lopate vs. Bresnick, which recounts the story of a casual tennis match in Italy between two of Kanarek's friends, essayist Philip Lopate and composer Martin Bresnick. Structured to reflect current time, custom software controls the video playback, synchronizing a myriad of clips and sounds. At the fourth quarter of each hour, the voice of Werner Herzog describes the jungle of Fitzcarraldo as an unfinished part of creation. Marking the passing of minutes, days, months and years, Mighty Mouse (also known as the Mouse of Tomorrow) valiantly flies across the screen. Jeff Buckley’s opening breath from the song "Hallelujah" strikes on the top of each hour. As the gentlemen play, Kanarek’s collage forms a place of never-ending stasis, one that embodies Herzog’s experiences in the jungle and resists leisured sports culture. The project was filmed last year during an artist residency at the Civitella Ranieri in Umbria, Italy.

The videoclock, Swing is also featured in the exhibition, as well as Perpetual Dream Catcher, a sculpture crocheted out of yarn and rock-climbing ropes, inspired by Leonardo DaVinci's writing on the absurdity of perpetual motion machines.

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