John Divola, Javier Riera, Georges Rousse, Barry Underwood all on view in 'Intersections' at Sous Les Etoiles Gallery

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John Divola, Javier Riera, Georges Rousse, Barry Underwood all on view in 'Intersections' at Sous Les Etoiles Gallery
John Divola, Zuma #21, 1977. Archival Pigment Print, 24 x 30 in., AP# 2.

NEW YORK, NY.- Sous Les Etoiles Gallery is hosting “intersections” a group exhibition showcasing the work of acclaimed photographers and installation artists as John Divola1) Javier Riera, Georges Rousse and Barry Underwood.

"Intersections” explores how installations challenge the landscape as a medium as well as a subject matter. With a strong poetic and narrative evocation, these installations propose another image of the real revealing another aspect of the site: strange beauty offering a new spatial experience to the audience. Providing a new interpretation of the landscape, the photographs shown in this exhibition are situated at the intersection of land art, staged photography, and minimalist sculpture; emphasizing the relationship between human and nature along with human and non-human.

JOHN DIVOLA: As a young artist in the 1970s, Divola adopted vacant houses as a ready-made studio, both observing the changes to the physical spaces made by others and applying his own interventions. using spray paint, string, or thrown magazines. For his ground-breaking Zuma Series (1977-1978), Divola focused on an abandoned property on Zuma Beach in Southern California. The building was repeatedly burned and damaged in various ways by the fire department who used i t for t raining exercises and practice drills. Over the course of a year, Divola returned on numerous occasions to photograph the site, making additions to the interior with inscrutable marks of paint and graffiti, augmented by others’ vandalism, decay from natural elements, and the passage of time. In each image, he has used the rectangular openings of the house’s windows and doors to frame the idyllic seascape beyond, juxtaposing interior dereliction with the exterior serenity of the natural landscape and incorporating the colors of sea and sky as part of his overall palette. In Zuma #70 Divola activates the space further by throwing a colorful magazine into the scene. Divola describes Zuma Series (1977-1978), as “a product of [his] involvement with an evolving situation... My acts, my painting, my photographing, my considering, are part of, not separate from, this process of evolution and change.” His willingness to physically intervene with his surroundings, combined with his bold use of color, marked Divola’s departure from the status quo in an era that prized the neutrality of predominantly black and white documentary photography.

JAVIER RIERA: Born is 1964, Javier Riera is a Spanish installation artist who works with geometrically shaped light projections, struck directly onto vegetation and landscape. He uses photography as a means of documentation and expansion of his installations, without digital manipulation whatsoever. His work is focused on an experience of real intervention related to “the space and time of the landscape.” Something that approximates to the LandArt proposals. For Riera, “Everything that happens in the landscape could be described and explained in terms of mathematics, physics and geometry, just the same as in the aspects of invisible but quantifiable energy.” Born in Spain, Javier Riera has been making exhibitions in the most well-regarded museums of his country. Riera has also performed numerous interventions in public spaces. His most recent installation was held in Paris during the Festival Nuit Blanche (June 2023).

GEORGES ROUSSE: After he discovered Land Art and Malevich’s Black Square against a white field, Georges Rousse altered his relationship to photography, inventing a unique approach that shifted the relationship of painting to space. He began making installations in the types of abandoned or derelict buildings that have long held an attraction for him--creating ephemeral, one-of-a-kind artworks by transforming these sites into pictorial spaces that are visible only in his photographs. From the early 1980s on, Georges Rousse has chosen to show his photographs on a large scale, so that his viewers participate in the work and experience the sense of space in a compelling way. Collapsing the usual restrictions between artistic mediums, his unique body of work quickly made its mark on the contemporary art world. Since his first exhibition in Paris, at the Galerie de France in 1981, Georges Rousse has continued creating his installations and showing his photographs around the world, in Europe, in Asia (Japan, Korea, China, Nepal.), in the United States, in Quebec and in Latin America.

BARRY UNDERWOOD: Born in 1963, Barry Underwood work’s illuminates environments that hold rich ecological and cultural histories and are sites of destructive human behavior. By building and photographing sculptures of light, Underwood elucidates the ways humans intervene in the natural environment while highlighting how society normalizes these exploitations. His work makes visible the cultural constructs of wilderness, and, by extension, the environmental issues related to human use and abuse of natural resources. Using the landscape as a stage and the intrusions as the players, Underwood’s light installations trace what has happened on a site. Shapes, lines, discordant colors, and diagrammatic perspectives are made vivid with electroluminescent wire or LEDs. Within the photograph, these sculptures visually intersect with the landscape into balanced compositions that lure the viewer in, while altered perspectives destabilize the figure-ground relationship and disrupt expectations. These artist-made light intrusions refer to the scarring, seepage, division, removal, and infestation inflicted on nature. Each gesture points to ways humans force their will on the natural environment, whether by erecting a literal fence, dumping toxic waste, or designating property lots on a survey map. These works demonstrate the paradox of the human relationship with nature, calling attention to the dichotomy of resilience and fragility embedded in both. Underwood’s photographs tell the story of the sublime, the terrifying and wondrous power of nature contrasted by the naive and dangerous impact of human activity on our environment. There is a moral to the tale. The inviting aesthetics function as a kind of “Trojan horse” smuggling this necessary message past the bastion of doubters who question the need for environmental action. The glow of the temporary light installations reflects on its environments and also on the viewer as if to say that all of humankind’s actions or inactions eventually cast a light back on us all.

Sous Les Etoiles Gallery
June 21st, 2023 - July 28th, 2023

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