NEW YORK, NY.- Artists migrate toward cities. They look toward the city environment for inspiration, knowledge, dialogue and experiment. CITY: Surface and Texture explores the work of seven young artists that are using the city as material and source.
Jason Alexander Byers paintings use tar on paper to portray the landscape of Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The only surviving element from the original cityscape after Byers intervention is a thick white line representing the actual skyline. Both the sky and the city have become black tar impasto. With a similar interest in the citys architecture, Alexis Dahan created two site-specific flat sculptures that represent the shape of the sky right above the gallery building. This work likewise bridges the photographic with the painterly, in specifically toying with the procedure of perspective control, by correcting a distorted view for a more legible, geometric construction that may or may not be the way the site physically appears.
Dahans second series of site-specific work echoes Duchamps investigation of chance in 3 Standard Stoppages, 1913-1914. Dahan placed four sheets of paper covered with carbon paper steps away from the gallery entrance and people unintentionally walked over them, thus allowing chance to dictate which patterns reveal themselves in shoe choice, size and weight.
Shifting to the ground of the city, Lorenzo Buenos work on canvas presents stains, moisture and materials found on the streets of Manhattan. Bueno loosely mounts the canvas on stretchers, thus conserving the organic and chaotic quality of his materials. Similarly, Henry Levy collected different objects such as stickers, wooden board and a dog bowl. He found them nearby his studio in Mexico City back in 2003 and assembled them into a sculptural collage that emphasizes a rawer aspect of the city surface.
Russell Perkins emphasizes the shows surface theme. To create his surface maps, he photographed two street walls, printed them life-size, and then folded them like roadmaps. The work is in dialogue with the map-territory relation, a theory which describes the relationship between an object and its representation. Maps are also of Lorenzo Buenos interest in his Bus Map Drawings, a series of printed Brooklyns bus maps where he has deleted the stop names and text, leaving only a black line of reference to the buses journey.
The Mold Stickers piece is an unlimited stack of mold photographs printed onto transparent sticker sheets. The sheets of stickers can be dispersed, depleted, and renewed over time. The viewer can take these away from the exhibition and put a normally repulsive and uncontrollable substance in the surface of their choosing. While Perkins is acknowledging Felix Gonzalez-Torres original idea, he also alters it by inviting the audience to give the sticker another life.
Julian Welliszs sculptures are also block-like stacks of paper; however, they are bound, solid and not for the taking. The stacks are printed in saturated colors like the jarring and electric colors of New Orleans, where he lives and works.
In Green Mountain #4, William Buchina draws the city of Detroit. His intricate interpretation of the abandoned structures is set under a foreboding and vibrant coral sky. In the foreground, Buchina adds a fictional urban environment forcing the viewer to examine their connection to one another.
Every piece reflects these artists experience of walking around their respective cities, the same way Walter Benjamin described his concept of the flaneur, the urban explorer. Whether its intentionally or by pure chance, different aspects of their findings help them reconstruct the citys surface into the texture of their own work.