Rachel Harrison, Installation view, Perth Amboy, Greene Naftali, New York, 2001
The Greene Naftali Gallery will present a new installation by Rachel Harrison for her fourth solo show in New York. Her work has recently been shown at the Delfina Project Space in London, in Greater New York at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center and in Walker Evans and Company at The Museum of Modern Art. She has an upcoming solo exhibit at Arndt & Partner in Berlin and will participate in the exhibition Telling Stories at the Haus Der Kunst in Munich next fall. The artist lives and works in Brooklyn.
Known for her uncanny juxtapositions of photography and sculpture, this new work investigates the connections between contemplation, art, and the American cultural experience. The gallery will be filled with pieces of folded cardboard, which create an open labyrinth. Images and objects are placed within and around this structure. The photographs were taken in Perth Amboy, New Jersey after the artist read in the newspaper that the Virgin Mary appeared in a pane of glass in an upstairs apartment window. Rather than document the spectacle of the event, the photographs focus on the window where the apparition appeared. The series chronicles a ritual which arose as spontaneously as the Virgin Mother’s appearance: the touching of the glass. The face of the participant is rarely seen, instead what emerges is the depiction of personal identity through the specificity and expressiveness of touch.
The sculptural works include pedestals situated throughout the gallery with figurative objects looking at art. Each object is paired with something that in some way reflects itself. A woman's face on a can of salsa is turned to view a reproduction of a salon style painting from 1651 by David Tenier entitled, The Archduke of Leopold’s Gallery, who was the regent of the Spanish Netherlands. Her scrutiny speaks of involvement; has she, as a mass-produced object, found her link with the post?
This new work contains a complete range of emotion from light-hearted humor to melancholy and solemnity. The integration/non-integration of disparate aesthetics is a hallmark of Harrison’s work which always maintains a commitment to inquiry. What does it mean to look at something?