July 1, 2008

The Front Room Gallery Summer Sampler Exhibition


The Front Room Gallery (147 Roebling Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York) presents Summer Sampler, a tantalizing treat featuring works by the last season's Front Room artists as well as a preview of the shows to come, and some splendid new selections.

Amanda Alic and Ethan Crenson, film a new installment of their October 3rd videos every year. For Summer Sampler they will offer October 3rd, 2007. The couple set up outside of the New York Public Library and asked passers-by to tell us a joke in any language. Polish, Hebrew, German, Wolof, Spanish, Hungarian, Serbian, Pular, Igbo, Farsi, French, Russian, Norwegian and, of course, English speakers have offered jokes since the project began in 2001. The project seems to suggest the rigor of a conceptual exercise, but the subject has a less austere quality. The jokes may not be universal, but the telling of them has a quality seems so.

Sasha Bezzubov and Jessica Sucher's series The Searchers examines various aspects of Western spiritual tourism in India and features large scale photographs taken at sites including the Osho Meditation Resort in Pune, the Divine Life Society in Rishikesh, and the Mahabodi Temple in Bodh Gaya. Sasha Bezzubov and Jessica Sucher investigate the lure of India's rich religious history in utopian communities, yoga centers, and meditation retreats that cater to Western seekers. Engaging with the visitors of these locations and immersing themselves in the subculture of spiritual experimentation, Bezzubov and Sucher create spatially astounding images that encompass the visual strangeness and cultural collisions of this phenomenon. The Searchers consists of several series of photographs that present these themes through portraiture, landscape and abstraction.

Gregory Curry - In his paintings Greg Curry has invented a new biology. The behavior of the organisms from Curry's world of super day-glow greens and oranges is seemingly put under the microscope and we become privy to the existential struggle they endure. This nebulous environment might shroud their identities, but their purposes are often much clearer than their scale or surroundings. They are refugees, assassins, congregations of similar organisms and menacing loners. In these paintings the body has been expanded, contracted, manufactured, reworked and jettisoned. These paintings utilize familiar modes of representation: rendering, classic spatial relationships and perspective to familiarize these forms in spite of the taxonomic meltdown they are undergoing.

Lisa DiLillo's video and photography series entitled Encounters both focus on similar themes. The photographs depicts situations occurring along the increasingly porous borders between "natural" and human habitats. A cultural cross-contamination occurs as both worlds are altered by the presence of each other.

Erik Guzman - Erik Guzman's artworks consist of a multitude finely cut parts of aluminum, glass and plastics. Each of these material elements converge to create mechanical devices that rotate, point, generate sound, and illuminate without obvious or logical results. A marriage between craft and movement allows for an aesthetic to evolve that is independent of the two.

Sean Hemmerle - In Hemmerle's photographs the political situations are remarkably tangible in the landscape-the often sad and complex stories embodied. In these solitary, forsaken landscapes the streets are often dead ends marked by a cul-de-sac, a massive and improbable wall bisecting the street and blocking our visual lines. Sean Hemmerle's photos show the physical manifestation of ideological differences and the political desperation, that once deemed intractable, are made concrete and expressed through the architecture. By photographing international zones of contention he shows the landscape of discord, and the architecture erected for this specific division.

Melissa Pokorny - By using overtly artificial means to represent space, coupled with uncannily realistic animal figurines and casts, Melissa Pokorny questions our estrangement from, and subsequent longing for connection to the natural world, and the resulting substitution of the real by the fake.

Alan Packer - Alan Packer's extensive and impressive body of work examines elemental and cultural ideas. Packer relates his experiences and travels through large-scale sculptures that revive lesser known cultural ideas. His travels have taken him to the northern regions of the Arctic circle, cultural centers of Paris and New York, the Rocky mountains, the wilderness of Banff and ancestral Wales. During his extended stays in these communities Alan Packer broadened his cultural ideas, incorporating theirs into his own. His elegant constructions combine industrial materials with elements that reference natural world, unifying the mechanical world of industry's focus on rigorous time keeping and the less tangible system of the life cycle in nature.

Sante Scardillo - Through his work with newspaper articles, headlines, and magazine advertisements Sante Scardillo reclaims the public space the media uses for their marketing, and exposes a hidden message of compliance. He questions both their strategies and implied political aims. In his work Scardillo uses found text and images from the media and alters them, completely changing their perceived meanings. Scardillo's work brings the hidden meaning to the forefront, and uses the glossiness against itself, or simply isolates headlines, effectively creating cultural slogans.

Philip Simmons merges contours of American imagery, defining new icons for this century. His elegant silhouetted forms revel in the machismo culture so particularly American with the glorification of the wild west, gunfights between cowboys and indians, soldiers, and ultimately war. These glamorous shapes, of super high-gloss resin take us back to a simpler time of drive in movies and enameled gas station signs with logos of roaring tigers and Pegasus. Their content, however, is not lemonade stands and sock-hops. They are violent and aggressive, their radiant surfaces depicting savage animal attacks, gun fights, and bomb blasts.

Patricia Smith - Patricia Smith's meticulous, quietly subversive works on paper commingle elements of architectural drawings, medical illustrations, and antique maps. Labeled with text captions, these imaginary structures address the anxieties of contemporary life and the coping mechanisms that develop in the collective psyche.

Mark Stilwell uses painted and reclaimed packaging, byproducts of the over-consuming society he portrays, in this scene of terror. Crowds of paper cut-out citizens run screaming from the devastation and hostile creatures that are overtaking the city.

Edie Winograde - Edie Winograde's photographs tap into an American cultural memory, a visual memory created not so much through historical study but by television, movies and Western paintings. Place and Time creates a portrait of the present-day phenomenon of the reenactments as well as an impression of historical and legendary events, blurring the boundaries between now and then, history and imagination.


The Front Room

Summer Sampler
July 11 - August 2, 2008

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