over volume, resolute, 2016
Gouache and flashe on paper
24 x 18 inches
Visible and Permanent
March 17—April 29, 2017
Carrie Secrist Gallery is pleased to announce the group exhibition VISIBLE AND PERMANENT.
Artists participating include:
Mariano Chavez (Chicago)
Austin Eddy (New York)
Andrew Guenther (New York)
Brook Hsu (Los Angeles)
Carmen Price (Baltimore)
Michael Robinson (Los Angeles, New York)
Brion Nuda Rosch (San Francisco)
Adam Scott (Chicago)
Jenn Smith (Chicago)
“Art as an important part of (sic) ceremonial is a conscious and determined effort to make important symbols visible and permanent.”
– Phillip H. Lewis, A Definition of Primitive Art, 1961*.
VISIBLE AND PERMANENT explores the complex relationship between the concept of civilization and it’s antecedent, so-called primitivism. The artworks presented in this exhibition bring together a group of contemporary artists who are mining the ideologies of origin while firmly entrenched in the now. Cumulatively, these visual representations are not defined by artwork that is socially oriented, political, representational or abstract – but something altogether more visible, authentic and intuitive. Individually, each artist presents his or her individual mark as a permanent gesture that traverses back in time, comments on the now and embraces the future.
Primitive art can be a loaded reference. Primitivism, as an historical paradigm, ultimately finds it’s value in what it is not: civilized. As such, for over a century, artists have mined non-civilized societies for their creative outlets either through the appropriation of forms and symbols (Picasso) or embracing a life style and becoming immersed in a simpler way of life (Gauguin). Ultimately, the implications of defining “primitive” are rooted just as firmly in creativity as it is in exploitation. Whatever the definition of civilization might be, one of the roles of the artist is to place their mark on it while simultaneously challenging it as a construct in an evolving, relentless pursuit.
Themes presented in VISIBLE AND PERMANENT include ceremonialism, evolution, mysticism and pointed strains of humor. The variety of mediums on view: painting on canvas (Jenn Smith), drawing (Austin Eddy), collage and photograpy (Michael Robinson), gouache (Carmen Price) – and the strategies for employing that media: poured paint (Adam Scott), simple motors (Brion Nuda Rosch), household rugs (Brook Hsu), UV rays (Mariano Chavez), Picasso’s signature (Andrew Guenther), reveal a complex mix of contemporaneous strategies that have endured. The ideas brought forth by the artists here, firmly rooted in 21st century ideologies intertwined as individuals and artists, take this dirty term and contextualize it as a cultural embrace – a thoroughly modern art sensibility.
VISIBLE AND PERMANENT is organized by Britton Bertran.
Mariano Chavez employs the cyanotype, a photographic printing process discovered in 1842, using UV rays to burn images of African masks, skulls and other elements. The results are talismanic, further amplifying the forces of nature around us.
Austin Eddy’s drawings evoke child-like scratches, marks, and words along with his repeating flying fingers – a motif that reappears in many of his works – that reveal a primal, raw and psychological look into his art-making process.
Andrew Guenther has usurped Picasso’s signature as his own, a strategy that makes clear the enduring heaviness and weight of said artist’s mark on the world, clarifying a lineage of art historical precedence, albeit tongue-in-cheek.
Brook Hsu’s paintings on rugs are highly personalized tributes to the beings and entities that surround her daily life. Rendered in thick impasto on even thicker rugs, the cumulative 3D results amplify the imagery as emblematic of real consciousness.
Carmen Price’s gouache on paper works are equal parts narrative, mystical and contemplative. Strangely allusive, the combination of abstract and representational elements point towards natural phenomena as a ceremonial outlet.
Michael Robinson’s photographs and collages offer up a magical interpretation of landscape. Communicating an oblique narrative, his eerily pleasing images capture the potential for transcendence in the mundane.
Brion Nuda Rosch presents two sculptures of rotating Picasso collages facing off in an infinite loop of engagement. This humorous interaction invites the viewer to contemplate art history’s implicit, and often times tangled, cultural role in.
Adam Scott finds inspiration in his poured Terraform painting from the abstract landscapes of the western desert. Conceived in an arena of space devoid of civilization, the phantasmagoric complexities of form, texture and color elucidate a radiating quality.
Jenn Smith’s paintings evolved from her complicated personal experience and studied interest in Evangelical Christianity. Vacillating from abstraction to figurative, her humorous yet earnest approach mines religious tableaux into new translations of an old story.
*Lewis, Phillip H. “A Definition of Primitive Art”, Fieldiana, Anthropology, v.36, no.10, Chicago Natural History Museum, 1961.