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Paintings, photographs, works on paper & video by international artists on view at RH Contemporary Art
Oskar Schmidt, Back Portrait, 2010. C-print, Edition of 5, 44 1/10 x 34 3/4 in.

NEW YORK, NY.- The Beautiful Changes, an exhibition of paintings, photographs, works on paper and video that explores the transient nature of beauty, is on view at RH Contemporary Art, located in Chelsea at 437 W. 16th Street, from July 17 to September 13, 2014. The exhibition surveys works by more than a dozen artists from the U.S., U.K., Germany, the Netherlands and Norway.

The Beautiful Changes includes recent work by Øystein Aasan, Brice Bischoff, Srijon Chowdhury, Koen Delaere, Stephan Dill, Jorunn Hancke Øgstad, Henning Rogge, Oskar Schmidt, Niels Sievers, Roni Stretch, Shaan Syed, Tyra Tingleff and the artist collective Troika. More than half of the artists are showing their work in New York City for the first time.

The exhibition title comes from a poem of the same name by Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Richard Wilbur and refers to beauty as a changing entity and to transformation as a potential source of beauty. Many of the works reflect a form of change, whether by exploring variations in imagery or by probing elements of decay, growth or evolution. The paintings in the exhibition range from austerely minimalist compositions to visually luscious abstractions, while the photographs include both highly composed images and spontaneous explorations of the photographic process.

Among the highlights of The Beautiful Changes is a new video installation titled Time only exists so that not everything happens at once, by the London-based artist collective Troika. At Art Basel 2014, Troika’s work Dark Matter was on view in the Unlimited section, where it was a standout of the fair.

Many of the paintings in the exhibition confront viewers with their own need to make meaning from visual signs. In Berlin-based artist Stephan Dill’s series Psychedelic Beauty, cryptic forms resembling crop circles or unintelligible hieroglyphics appear against worked-over backgrounds of rust and grey. Jorunn Hancke Øgstad, a Berlin- and Oslo-based artist, often imposes grids onto her paintings’ multicolored backgrounds. She begins each painting without a set plan, building up her surfaces in thin layers and incorporating signs and gestures from a range of sources that include art history and contemporary culture. Øystein Aasan, based in Berlin, also works with the grid to both break apart narratives and formulate new ones, working and reworking lattices of overlapping lines.

Tyra Tingleff, who lives and works in Berlin and London, creates sensually rich paintings with colors that appear to dance on the linen surfaces. In the Netherlands, Koen Delaere views his paintings as evidence of the collaborations and performances leading to their creation. His current work features paint that seems to ripple in corrugated surfaces, colors swirling within the thickly applied material.

Berlin-based Niels Sievers uses traditional and graffiti-inspired painting techniques to create rich and ominous landscapes. Srijon Chowdhury, working in Los Angeles, paints floral imagery that appeals to the viewer’s sense of the mythic and universal.

Roni Stretch, also based in Los Angeles, creates representations of crumpled paper that slowly take shape before the viewer’s eyes, as delicately rendered folds and creases emerge from the flat surface. London-based Shaan Syed paints multiple colored rays that fan out from a black rectangle, suggesting concert lights emanating from a stage.

Three photographers presented in The Beautiful Changes engage with elements of photographic history and process in their work. Brice Bischoff’s Bronson Caves series explores the use of color and light in manmade caves used by Hollywood films in Los Angeles. Berlin-based Oskar Schmidt’s portraits of a woman facing away from the camera leave the viewer to discern her identity through a series of small gestures captured across the sequence of work. In Henning Rogge’s verdant and lush photographs of WWII bomb craters in the German countryside, little evidence exists of the violence that created such landscapes. As with other work in the exhibition, Rogge’s photographs consider the aesthetic element inherent in transformation and how change can generate or inspire beauty.

Random International Installation Held Over Through September 13
Running simultaneously with The Beautiful Changes, an installation by Random International at RH Contemporary Art has been extended through September 13. The London-based studio Random International created Rain Room, which debuted to high acclaim at the Museum of Modern Art last year. The installation Audience asks the viewer to become the subject of the work. Viewers are allowed to step up on a platform, which immediately draws the attention of a field of small “robots,” each with a mirror that focuses on the viewer in an uncannily human-like manner. Using facial recognition technology, the mirrors collectively turn to face the approaching visitor in one synchronized movement. Audience was the first work by Random International to invite audience participation in a spatial sense and captures the transitory nature of being in the public eye.

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