Greene Naftali Gallery is pleased to present Epileptic Seizure Comparison. This group exhibition takes as its title a major Paul Sharits (1943-1993) film installation which will be shown for the first time in a New York gallery. Sharits was one of the primary innovators of Structural/avant-garde cinema beginning with his Fluxus-affiliated film pieces of the early 1960s and continuing through color "flicker" films and larger multi-projection installations, radically pioneering the shift of film works into gallery and museum spaces. "Epileptic Seizure Comparison" (1976) is one of Sharits' most elaborate and violent installations. Sharits writes: “Seizure Comparison is an attempt to orchestrate sound and light rhythms in an intimate and proportional space, an ongoing location wherein non-epileptic persons may begin to experience, under ‘controlled conditions’… the majestic potentials of convulsive seizure.” Themes of trauma (both visual and emotional), retinal overload, and anomic cultural conditions are conveyed by the work and are the organizing principles for this group exhibition, which also includes Jason Rhoades, Daniel Pflumm and Jutta Koether.
Jason Rhoades’ installations provide a powerful corollary to Sharits’ film work. Where Sharits is tightly structured and medium-specific, Rhoades embodies the monstrous mayhem of our commercial reality as a defamilarizing imposition on the individual psyche. His sprawling constructions co-opt the world of “things” into a subjective reordering, which both undermines and overloads the possibility for engagement and with a sophisticated concern for color, density, and luminosity. From his “Meccatuna” project, we will exhibit Shelf (Love Pocket), a sculpture stocked with brightly colored neon texts of female genitalia—“Bearded Taco,” “No No,” “Muffin Love”— and ceramic donkey carts layered one atop another and a “MeccaVulva” chrome corner piece.
The Berlin-based artist Daniel Pflumm has worked directly with commercial media, delving into the schizophrenic vocabulary of television advertising and corporate branding (Ikea , A + P, Rite Aid, Dannon). Devoid of all text, his light-box corporate logos become ominous formal aberrations of icons, recoding abstraction as the subliminal administration of consciousness.
Jutta Koether is a central figure in the Cologne and New York art scene. We will exhibit works from her “hysteric” series of ecstatic portrait paintings. Drawing from the visual tropes of “visionary art,” Koether’s paintings depict a psychological state in transition from inner consciousness to external presence, as the emotional energy of this transformation radiates throughout the canvases. The irony is the hagiographic quality of these “hysterical” depictions; Koether wedges open a space where the liberating potential of spirituality can reinform the historically marginalized perception of hysteria. Testing the material limits of their historical moment in painting, these “hysterics” are decidedly Pop, saturated with the DayGlo fluorescence and iridescent metallics of the late 80s-early 90s moment.
We will also present an installation of fine-line abstract drawings by Paul Sharits. This aspect of his work has rarely been shown and elaborates Sharits’ conceptual concerns with the relationship between the visual and the psychological. Like an EEG reading, the lines in Sharits drawings “move” across the page according to emotional whims, approaching violent peaks and calligraphic passages, at points coalescing into words and images.