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Wet Light: Bill Jenkins' second solo exhibition at Laurel Gitlen in New York
NEW YORK, NY.- Bill Jenkins’ second solo exhibition at Laurel Gitlen repurposes and redirects the gallery’s physical resources: open space, plentiful light, electricity—the basic elements that make art’s exhibition possible in a white cube. Using materials meant to improvise fixes for common architectural problems including water leaks, heating failure, or waste removal, Jenkins’ work adapts the gallery’s light, piping it like water into a reservoir or cistern.

Literally expanding the scale of his work, this sculptural installation furthers Jenkins’ interest in perceptually unstable surfaces and objects. While the simplicity of his work participates in a language defined by post-minimal and conceptual art, Jenkins establishes his own narrative based on an idiosyncratic investigation of the physicality or transparency of materials. Referencing familiar domestic spaces, apartment building hallways, the boiler room, or construction sites, the sculptural apparatus of this project is as simple and direct as its premise: to guide light to a point of collection. Mirrored ducts will carry sunlight from the storefront windows, over the gallery wall and into a glossy painted trough where the light will pool. Black plastic sheeting will darken the gallery space and funnel sunlight through the windows.

Technically it’s not going to work very well. Common construction materials cannot simply gather light and deposit it into a single point. However, by creating a partially functional infrastructure for redistributing electric and natural light, Jenkins shifts his focus from an inefficient or impractical armature to an aesthetic and poetic device that manipulates real and imagined properties of light. If light is considered a crucial tool for seeing, capturing it is also a sometimes goal of painting, sculpture and other modes of art production. However, unlike media that fix light in images, Jenkins’ work moves light continuously as a fluid mass, without any means of recording it.

In the back gallery, a small group of discrete tubular sculptures also function as conduits for light that spills in from the skylight above. Installed atop layers of diaphanous white plastic sheeting, the entire gallery will be suffused with light that collects in the creases and folds of synthetic materials, transforming the whole room into a light cistern of sorts. In contrast to Jenkins’ attempts to control the movement of light through the main space of a blackened gallery, here it seems to amplify and consolidate in plastic.

Bill Jenkins (b. 1981, California) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. His work was included in the exhibitions, A Stone Left Unturned , Yvon Lambert, Paris, curated by Simon Castets and Everyday Abstract – Abstract Everyday, James Cohan Gallery, New York, curated by Matthew Higgs. Solo and two-person exhibitions include Jancar Jones, San Francisco and The Suburban, Oak Park, IL. His work has been featured in Kaleidescope and .

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