Thursday, October 08, 2009

All the Way to the End

["Orange Nod" (2009), Mark Schubert. Metal drum, enamel, & welded brackets. "Untitled (Venice x 4)" (2008), Joe Pflieger. Archival ink jet prints mounted on aluminum. "Anniversary" (2009), Paco Pomet. Oil on canvas. "Untitled 1 (After Francois LeMoyne’s Hercules & Cacus)" (2009), Larissa Bates. Acryla gouache & ink on canvas. "Untitled 3 (After Francois LeMoyne’s Hercules & Cacus)" (2009), Larissa Bates. Acryla gouache & ink on canvas. "Untitled 2 (After Francois LeMoyne’s Hercules & Cacus)" (2009), Larissa Bates. Acryla gouache & ink on canvas.]

Several emerging artists are being showcased in this show at Monya Rowe Gallery through October 31. Broad experiential and conceptual intersections inform the work of these artists across their various perspectives and media.

Bursting with movement, Mark Schubert’s abstract sculptures are formal arrangements of twisted metal and paint with an awkward anthropomorphic quality. More than that, however, his work bursts with movement, both physical and psychological. Familiar objects used in his work (in this case a distorted 55-gallon drum) bring home the destructive elements lurking in our everyday milieu. In its exploration of repression, anxiety, and typical American experience, Schubert’s work has a refreshingly subversive quality. Mark your calendars for next May when Schubert will do a site-specific installation at this gallery.

Investigation of gender identity and its inherent politics come to the fore in Larissa Bates’ allegorical paintings in which detailed pastoral landscapes are inhabited by wrestlers performing rituals and routine activities such as sleeping and wrestling. In Bates’ work, classical sensibilities of landscape painting intersect with the vivid palette and scale of Persian miniatures. Added to that is a contemporary twist in which a young wrestler is seen in his entirety—exuding characteristics both masculine and feminine.

Assumptions about nature and history are heartily confronted in Joe Pflieger’s working process in which digital edits and contemporary photographic elements come into play. Pflieger finds inspiration and substance in visiting elements of history, privilege, and landscape. The viewer will find "historically accurate" reconstructions of interior spaces found in museums that—like his work in general—rely on lateral quality, open-ended progression, and mirrored multiples. Appearing to extend beyond the frame of each photograph, Pflieger’s final saturated images challenge linear progression of historical narrative and attempt to deny photography’s documentary tendencies. What results in Pflieger’s work are engaged and ever-revealing images.

As with the other artists showcased in "Our Beginnings Never Know Our Ends," there is a marked convergence in the work of Paco Pomet—in his case between fiction and reality. Inspired and informed by Surrealism, Pomet explores gray areas between the absurd and routine. In his demarcations between the wretched and sublime, the viewer finds varying degrees of subtlety.

Mundane objects result from the trompe l’oeil and labor intensive approach of Frances Trombly—whether by weaving, embroidery, cross-stitch, or crochet. For her work in this show, Trombly recreated blank lined notebook paper made from hand-woven cotton. Each piece of "paper" was then crushed into a ball and tossed aside—as if deemed "useless." Assembled as a group on the gallery floor, Trombly’s work questions constructions of and perspectives about value, class, and labor as they exist in America.

Existential and transcendent cues—by and large—come alive in this thankfully coherent group show. Try to see "Our Beginnings Never Know Our Ends" before it closes.

Our Beginnings Never Know Our Ends:
Group Show with Larissa Bates, Joe Plieger, Paco Pomet, Mark Schubert, & Frances Trombly
Through October 31, 2009
@ Monya Rowe Gallery
504 West 22nd Street, NYC 10011

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