June 29 – August 25, 2007
at Peter Blum Chelsea
Larry Bamburg, Jonah Freeman/ Michael Phelan, Nick Herman,
Rosy Keyser, Jutta Koether, Ian Pedigo, and Heather Rowe
Curated by Simone Subal
Stubborn Materials features eight New York-based artists who use materials in a paradoxical manner in order to reinvigorate the interpretive possibilities of abstract art. These artists place attention on a particular detail or an overlooked element as a means to reorient the reading of the work. Their formal decisions investigate the metaphoric and narrative potential of materials.
Larry Bamburg’s kinetic installation combines swirling fishing lines, scraps of paper, and an electric ceiling fan. This creates an unexpected experiential situation, where the evocative motion confuses the actual reading of the work, leaving the viewer to wonder if what he or she sees is a flock of birds, a swarm of insects, or just scraps of paper. Along similar lines, Ian Pedigo’s sculptures and two-dimensional works are made from found and reclaimed debris. In an attempt to recontextualize these materials after they have dropped out of commercial circulation, Pedigo builds seemingly unstable objects that play with systems of associative memory. Heather Rowe probes architectural modules and fragments. Diverging components such as industrially produced materials are set into a relational structure with decorative elements like mirrors, producing an extended narrative about how individuals negotiate space. Jutta Koether’s punk-poetic paintings play with the tension between pictorial surfaces and applied materials, and form a complex yet straightforward layering of expressive abstractions. This translation of exterior references and connotations into a gestural language can also be seen in Rosy Keyser’s large-scale paintings. Here, an often rough technique of pouring paint is combined with a deliberate attention to detail. This allows Keyser to equally blend emotional and rational concepts. Nick Herman’s sculptural and two-dimensional objects are studies in cultural archeology, addressing questions of geology, anthropology, and sociology through formal strategies. Jonah Freeman and Michael Phelan’s large prints are scans of crumpled aluminum foil. The precision of these images suggests an expansive landscape, however this allusion is contrasted by the matter-of-factness of the actual material.