DODGEgallery is pleased to present Room for Myth, an exhibition with three artists: Barney Kulok, Roy McMakin, and Arlene Shechet, curated by Mark Shortliffe.
Room for Myth is an exhibition featuring sculpture, photography, and works of paper that confronts structural creation and the complex construction of myth in artistic practice and personal memory. Despite working in a variety of media these artists are united by a fascination with physical objects and their making, employing the very ideas of building in their practice. In all these works the line between start and finish, construction and destruction, is blurred, creating vessels and spaces that collapse time and open truths.
Barney Kulok’s photographs highlight several months spent visiting the construction of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park on the southern tip of Roosevelt Island. Designed as a memorial by Louis I. Khan just before his death in 1974, the park was only recently realized some forty years later, becoming something of an ad hoc memorial to the great architect himself. Although the fruits of endless daily pilgrimages, Kulok’s images are not traditionally documentarian but instead offer focused abstract details of the work site’s evolving landscape: scattered cinder blocks, piled sand, discarded wooden jigs. Treated centrally and geometrically stark, these parts become poetic icons—classic photographic indexes—of the building process, quietly marking a collective effort towards a future but capturing an ever shifting and immediate past—relics of a coming memorial.
Roy McMakin presents sculpture from and about furniture. An artist working with furniture design and making for over thirty years, McMakin’s original works are acutely aware of iconic forms and repeated pastiches in American furniture and architecture. Here though this awareness goes further through the manipulation and combination of vintage furniture with new constructions—diving deeper into his personal relationship with the object as well as expanding the collected viewers’ archetypal understanding of their solid surroundings. Furniture is something we all have but is also intensely intimate with regular touch and private use: a dresser drawer the vessel for our secrets and memories, a chair’s arm literally holding our own. In one such piece, a Stickley desk that McMakin purchased as a teenager is split directly down its long vertical middle, a one-inch removal that referenes his position as a middle child and splits every drawer in two. These dissected ends are then painted a crisp white showcasing the bones of the former structure, an act of destruction but also preservation, focusing the pieces’ history and current truth.
Arlene Shechet offers new sculptures of clay and cast paper reliefs. The sculptures playfully combine glazed and blocky ceramic forms with kiln bricks and shelves. Such bricks are normally only used to construct a kiln, the ancient oven central to all ceramic making—the hot architectural vessel from which all other vessels are birthed. Here instead the bricks are brightly glazed and intricately surround or support the fleshy sculpted forms. Through the brick’s physical inclusion process is shown to be part and parcel to the finished piece but still allows a very present humor and literal room within the vessels’ hollow cores for other contained thoughts and memories. Also on view are unique cast paper wall works completed at Dieu Donné in 2012. These pieces are made of thick cotton and pulp cast from molds made from kiln bricks and hand worked clay with vibrantly colored compositions that are both in harmony and conflict with the ever-present cast topography.
Mark Shortliffe is an independent curator and artist living and working in New York. He was most recently director of Schroeder Romero and Shredder and was formerly editor of the annual art journal The Sienese Shredder. He is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design.
Barney Kulok was born in New York, New York. He received his BA from Bard College in 2004. lives and works in New York, NY. He has exhibited nationally and internationally in both group and solo exhibitions, including Galerie Hussenot, Paris; Galerie Elisabeth Kaufmann, Zürich; de Pury & Luxembourg, Zürich; Nicole Klagsbrun New York. Kulok’s work is included in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art and The Cleveland Clinic. In 2012 Aperture published a monograph of his body of work, Building. He lives and works in New York, NY.
Roy McMakin was born in Lander, Wyoming. He received his BA from the University of California at San Diego in 1979 and his MFA in 1982. He has exhibited nationally and internationally at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgfield, CT; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA; Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, OH; Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA. He has a forthcoming solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL. McMakin has completed commissions for several institutions including The Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, WA; The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA; Missoula Art Museum, Missoula, MT. He lives and works in San Diego, CA and Seattle, WA.
Arlene Shechet was born in New York, New York. She received her BA from New York University and her MFA from Rhode Island School of Design. Shechet has exhibited her work extensively in the United States and abroad including recent solo shows at the Anderson Gallery, VCU, Richmond, VA, the Nerman Museum, Overland Park, KS, the F.Y. Tang Museum at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY, the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, CO, Dieu Donne, Scottsdale Museum of Art, AZ, ICA Philadelphia the Walker Art Center, MN. In 2010, Schecht was the recipient of the Anonymous Was A Woman Individual Artist Award, Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant. She has also been the recipient of the American Academy of the Arts and Letters Award, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, Visual Artist Fellowship and the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship. Shechet's work is included in both public and private collections including the Brooklyn Museum of Art, NY, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA, the Whitney Museum of American Art, NY, the Walker Art Center, and the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, KS. Shechet lives and works in New York, NY.