Patrick Berran and Jack Henry
May 30 – June 23, 2013
Bushwick Open Studios extended hours
Friday, May 31, 5-9 pm
Saturday, June 1, noon-7 pm
Sunday, June 2, noon-7 pm
Patrick Berran and Jack Henry layer information and materials in a practice that recalls geological strata. In this show, boundaries between painting and sculpture collapse to reveal complementary processes of investigation.
As a painter, Patrick Berran works from the surface forward, leaving traces of prior activity to create a rich, dense history of his investigation. Luscious glazes and abrupt changes in color temperature and value resonate with our understanding of the visible world and its internal coordinates in our psyches. Oil and acrylic are subjected to a variety of forces including gravity, reinforcing the comparison with landscape in general and the operation of sedimentary, igneous and metaphoric geological processes in particular. The surface of the work is highly seductive. Despite their beauty and metaphorical references, the work insistently returns to its identity as painting and its place in the history of painters who have worked with this vocabulary including Morris Louis, Mark Rothko, Larry Poons and Helen Frankenthaler.
The artist writes, “I am interested in a visual experience that is found from slow and repeated viewing. Within the practice of painting, I create imagery that extends beyond its materials and into an emotional viewing experience where a painting is allowed to become more than just painting. As the observer and instigator of my own work, I create an environment that nurtures, yet aims to agitate, my painting process. I work to define a uniform space in which all attributes of the painting process equal the entire image created.”
Jack Henry is a scavenger, an archaeologist, and an alchemist. He collects discarded roadside objects and debris, which he brings back to his studio to embed within layers of pigmented gypsum cement. The sculptures are cast in wooden molds that result in freestanding columns resembling sections of earth cut from an urban landscape. The purpose is to create a sense of wonder from the banal, often overlooked, objects that can be found scattered throughout any post-industrial town in America. The addition of liquid causes these materials to shift so that their ultimate arrangement involves chance operations. Once the mold is removed, surprisingly results are revealed, which the artist reacts to, amends and strengthens. The resulting “core samples” are strikingly beautiful and repellent at the same time. They are literally and figuratively landscapes made from trash, reimagined through an aesthetic of Minimalism.
The artist writes, “The casting process is reliant on chance. Though the objects and color palette are selected beforehand, many of the details such as the pockets and cavernous areas that appear throughout the sculptures are spontaneous. Once the column is removed from the mold, I am left with what is essentially a four-sided abstract painting. I then work into the sculptures by chiseling, applying paint and sanding away layers of the surface. With each piece I try to find a balance between what may be considered beautiful and unaesthetic so that the sculptures may serve as a metaphor for the qualities that can be appreciated in post-industrial landscapes. It is not my intention to condemn the wastefulness of consumerism but to look at it as a matter of fact. Through a certain lens, poetic moments occur when objects depart from contact with people, decaying and coalescing to create monuments to cultural disaffection.”
About the Artists:
Patrick Berran is a painter living and working in Brooklyn, NY. He graduated Virginia Commonwealth University with a BFA in painting and printmaking in 2002 and Hunter College’s MFA program in 2006. In 2005 he received a GRAF Travel grant from Hunter College and completed a two-week study in Berlin, Germany, under the artist Franz Ackermann. From 2004-2009 Patrick was the lead vocalist in the punk band ¡Apeshit!, touring internationally as well as the United States. He has exhibited his work at numerous venues in New York and the US, most notably Playing Fields at Indiana University and Informal Relations at the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art and Thomas Robertello Gallery in Chicago. In 2012 Patrick was named one of Modern Painters 100 Artists to Watch.
Originally from Flint, MI, Jack Henry received his BFA from Florida Atlantic University and his MFA from University of Maryland, College Park. He has exhibited along the East Coast including recent shows at Nudashank, Baltimore; Kunsthalle Galapagos, DUMBO; Dodge Gallery, New York; Radiator Gallery, Long Island City; the Stamp Gallery at UMD, College Park; and Fjord, Philadelphia. He has been mentioned on many websites and blogs such as, Beautiful/Decay, ArtFagCity, New American Paintings, Philadelphiaweekly.com, and TheLmagazine.com. Henry currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
In the project space:
schmatte (from the Polish szmata):
a Yiddish word meaning rag, old garment, an item of clothing in fashion and clothing-industry slang.
Josh Blackwell, Antonia Perez, Katherine Powers and Randy Wray
Schmatte explores notions of the discarded and the distressed in the work of four artists: Josh Blackwell, Antonia Perez, Katherine Powers and Randy Wray. Josh Blackwell began collecting plastic bags from city streets and kitchen cupboards about six years ago. In the studio, the bags are fused shut and/or embroidered with yarn, deliberately thwarting their function. The bags attempt to redress their semi-degraded status with the addition of colorful embroidery in geometric patterns. The compositions draw upon “high” and “low” vernaculars such as Geometric Abstraction, Minimalism, folk traditions and do-it-yourself craft projects. Contrasting “artificial” plastic with “natural” yarn, the work interrogates the economies of waste and necessity. Antonia Perez is a mixed-media artist who makes sculpture, assemblage and installations. She gathers discarded objects such as used plastic bags, household linens, tissue boxes and assorted detritus from the home that has the potential for conversion to something unexpected. Her process transforms them from their lowly status as trash to the elevated existence of an art object. Katherine Powers is fascinated by the paradoxical activity of dissolving the physical and giving form to the ephemeral. She is attracted to the shimmer and variety of color in our abundant refuse, a sort of urban plankton. The artist views the collages as vibrant portraits of our internal world, defining the interplay of material, emotions and spirit. Randy Wray’s recent works recycle and transform the detritus of our castaway culture–junk mail, discarded polystyrene packaging, used clothing and old furniture–to perform a kind of alchemy and examine ideas about faith. They explore a number of seemingly polar opposite relationships: abstraction/representation, beauty/grotesquerie, natural/man-made, naive/sophisticated, familiar/foreign. By blending disparate ideas and sensibilities, the artist aims to create new paths of connection.
About the Artists:
Originally from New Orleans, Josh Blackwell currently works in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Combining familiar yet unlikely materials in order to reconfigure everyday experiences, his work vacillates between painting, drawing, and sculpture. Josh received a BA from BenningtonCollege and an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts. He has taught at BenningtonCollege, Parsons the NewSchool for Design, and Pratt Institute.
Antonia Perez, a visual artist born and raised in New York City, received her Master of Fine Arts from Queens College, City University of New York. She has exhibited locally and nationally including at the Queens Museum and the 2011 Biennial of El Museo del Barrio. She is a recipient of the 2011-12 Marie Walsh Sharpe Space Program Award. Recent group shows that included her work are Pressing Matters, Parallel Art Space, Bushwick, NY; Nearly Neutral, Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY; The Emo Show, EFA Project Space, NYC; and a site-specific wall painting and sculpture installation at Praxis Chelsea Gallery, NYC.
Katherine Powers lives and works in New York City. As an artist, Katherine has evolved from making sculpture in more traditional materials, to collage using plastic bags. Her abstract work of the past decade retains the presence and dimension of sculpture. It is influenced by both her experience in theatrical wardrobe and with Shiatsu. She has a studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. After many years behind the scenes in the entertainment industry, she now maintains a private Shiatsu practice and teaches at Swedish Institute.
Randy Wray is a New York based painter and sculptor. He attended the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and received his BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art. His awards include the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship and the Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation Space Program. Wray’s work has been shown widely in the United States a as well as internationally. Solo exhibitions include White Columns, New York; Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro; Galeria Camargo Vilaça, São Paulo; Derek Eller, New York; and Greenville County Art Museum. Group exhibitions include MoMA PS1, Kate MacGarry Gallery, Cranbrook Art Museum, Socrates Sculpture Park, and Kohler Arts Center. Wray’s work has been written about and reviewed in The New York Times, BOMB, Artnews, Art In America and Artforum. Museum collections include The Art Institute of Chicago, Museu de Arte Moderna in Rio de Janeiro, Greenville County Art Museum and Weatherspoon Art Museum.