Julie Becker, Keith Connolly, David Dempewolf, Rachel Harrison, Michaela Meise, Ara Peterson
Between white & black there is always grey
Between black & grey there is always white
Between grey & white there is always black
Greene Naftali Gallery is pleased to present The Jeweleigha Set, a group exhibition based loosely on the idea of fractal geometry and how the approach of an infinitely expanding and geometric structure is utilized by a group of artists working in a variety of forms, from sculpture to photography to video and drawing. The emphasis on formalism and the dialogue surrounding it has been heavily present in the writing and curating of recent art exhibitions. This exhibition is an attempt to look at structural approaches to art making grounded in the repetitive and mathematical. While connected to rigid principles, the process here is highly personal and at times organic. It is from this combination of reason and subjectivity that the title of the show has been derived. The Julia Set, a fractal set devised in 1886 by French mathematician Gaston Julia, is intentionally misspelled to reflect Julie Becker’s childhood spelling of her name, Jeweleigh.
The idea of the mystical even magical presence in the geometric and structural is the theme that connects all the works, which are drawn from a variety of art historical sources: minimalism, conceptual photography, earthworks. Repeating geometric patterns and infinitely mutating forms replay themselves in a variety of manifestations, from absolute non-referential abstraction to a most recognizable and clichéd visual image of a sunset. As with nonlinear equations, the work here defines scenarios in which the effects are not proportional to the causes, the output is not proportional to the input. Formal structure is used to bridge the distance between virtual imaginative space and reality, to create interactions verging on psychedelic. The work here also addresses issues of stopped or suspended time, again toying with mathematical relations of space.
Ara Peterson created his video, Kaleidoscope Feedback, by manipulating the feedback loop between a handheld video camera and a rear projection screen. By improvising with the camera angle, Peterson coaxes mesmerizing, morphing abstractions in an endlessly non-narrative loop. Peterson's sculpture, Standing Waves, is three-dimensional visualization of one of his oscillating wave animations. Each slice of painted plywood was lasercut to match one frame from the animation.
Untitled (Sunset Series), by Rachel Harrison is a conceptual series of photographs all derived from the single image on a found postcard of a sunset, perhaps the single most photographed image in our culture. In manipulating the material aspects of the original postcard by bending it, bouncing light of the surface and closing in on details, she distorts any sense of the normal or the comfortable to produce a series of images that questions the very nature of truth in the representation of an image. This mutation suggests the possibility of alternate realities outside the conventions of the standard photographic image.
Michaela Meise is showing a series of wall and floor sculptures all based on a highly personal geometric sensibility. Utilizing a language of minimalism she draws on richly aesthetic glazes, finishes and forms to take apart the apparatus of the sculpture. She uses sculpture to penetrate, frame, and create obstacles in space. In the small floor sculpture Writing, Meise includes a photocopy from a book on the paranormal documenting written communication between a homeowner and the ghost which haunts that space.
Keith Connolly is showing an object and a related video loop which together challenge the process of a form and its realization. The mirrored diamond was constructed for a performance by the No Neck Blues Band at the gallery. The object was also then included in a performance in Victoriaville before finally being subjected to the incoming tide at dawn on Brighton Beach days before the opening. Still covered in sand and broken by the rushing waves, the diamond has an obstinate, enduring presence which is mirrored in the 41 minute video loop, showing the work being submerged from the point of view of the sea. Floating adrift the diamond form at once presents an image symbolically potent while intermingling a personalized Euclidian form with the tide, one of nature's most fractal events.
Julie Becker draws from her rich imagination to create a suite of drawings full of repetition of symbolic and fantastic forms including witches and cauldrons, dislocating mirrors, castles and mysterious orbs. The symbolic aspect of her work extends to social hierarchies with her ominous Pyramid Scheme, drawing at once on the desire for and suspicion of wealth. The paranormal and the paranoid are romantically combined in her precious works.
In his video piece Time Travel Project – Glenn Gould, David Dempewolf manipulates footage of the eccentric Canadian pianist playing a composition by J.S. Bach. The piece of music is a canon, defined as a composition structured such that the melody is repeated at fixed intervals of pitch and time, but also a retrograde canon, composed such that the melody is played backwards and forwards at the same time. Dempewolf has altered this poached footage, enabling the viewer to both hear and see the piece played backwards and forward simultaneously. With the five subdivisions in the work, Dempewolf restructures the canon, creating new intervals between the original and overlaid reverse footage. The new structure attempts to simultaneously highlight the work's composition and the performer's virtuosity.