On Stellar Rays is pleased to present a two-person exhibition of new sculpture and video by Brody Condon and drawings and photo-based works by Jen Liu. Condon and Liu have been in dialogue for several years, and this exhibition offers the first opportunity to view their works together.
Brody Condon’s process involves extensive conjuring of images, props and visual sets for use in his performances. This vivid imagery is culled from specific literary or historical moments of the late 20th century when nihilistic views challenged fixed definitions of identity and the self. Recent performances include Case, a stage reading of the 1980’s cyberpunk classic Neuromancer by William Gibson; Without Sun, a performance of an actor and dancer enacting the voices and movements of individuals on psychedelic drugs found on YouTube; and Level Five, a 3-day participatory live role playing event based on self-actualization seminars popular on the West Coast in the early 1970’s.
Recently Condon has mined this rich cache of visual imagery to create a related body of work in video and sculpture. Like the incipit script for a performance, these works originate with human form and movement in a space defined by the artist. As in the case of Vat Flesh on a Pedestal of Imitation Jade, Condon generates sculptures in a 3D computer-modeling program, inspired by a descriptive passage in Neuromancer. Constructed in low-polygon shapes and covered in digital-patterned surfaces, the sculptures suggest the profile of a figure from the computer-simulated environments of the 1990’s.
In a similarly reductive fashion, Condon presents a sequence of videos of simple geometric shapes that are filmed continuously spinning in the artist’s hand. The works are an extension of Condon’s video die20 (2009), an exercise that repeatedly swirls a 20-sided die from fantasy role-playing games in a glass. In this expanded sequence, Condon refuses the specificity of the die’s numbers, isolating instead geometric form, seriality and rhythmic movement, reminiscent of art and dance in 1960’s and 70’s in which obsessively repetitive actions held the potential for ritual significance.
Jen Liu suggests historical periods and associated ideologies through the use of familiar and cliché visual cues, often sourced from news and entertainment media, with psychological and social inquires that parallel Condon’s. Liu disrupts this imagery through various formal interventions, such as folding, obscuring, and darkening color to grayscale.
In Fugue State, a series of large-scale drawings, Liu juxtaposes figurative images of unsettling cultural situations with colorful geometric patterns. Liu explores the potential for groups to collectively experience a fugue state, a disorder defined as a period of temporary amnesia and disassociation experienced by individuals after traumatic experiences. Found media images of an anonymous public in tightly controlled spaces are undercut by the trompe l’œil effect of tearing away the paper, revealing colorful geometric patterns beneath. Liu is interested in the way in which geometry, architecture and social structures all attempt to order a chaotic reality, not unlike Condon’s considered use of 3D modeling programs, the Cartesian plane, and Bauhaus-inspired grids to construct his installations and sculptures.
In Liu’s Folded Black Cloud series, Liu presents billowing black clouds in dark grayscale, sourced from a wide array of disasters in the news: volcanoes, fires, terrorist attacks or war. Like the tearing away of images in Fugue State, Liu upsets straightforward representations of catastrophe and chaos, in this case through folds in the images, creating a geometric high relief.
In conjunction with the exhibition, Jen Liu and DJ Maria Chavez will present the first in a sequence of performances also titled Fugue State. Both artists have accumulated vast archives of sound and image over the years, available for misuse in Fugue State. Jen, on a laptop and projector, and Maria, on turntables, will create parallel aural and visual narratives from their respective archives, based on a story of their choosing. The story will change with each version of the performance. The process will be semi-improvised, but sources will be prepared in accordance with the text.
Liu and Chavez’s performance Fugue State will take place on Sunday, November 14, 7pm, at On Stellar Rays.
Brody Condon graduated with an MFA from the University of California San Diego, and attended residencies at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and the Rijkakademie van Beeldende Kunsten. His work is currently on view in the Greater New York exhibition at MoMA/PS1, NY. Recent performances include the Hammer Museum, LA (2010), the San Jose Biennial, CA (2010), Museum of Modern Art, NY (2009) and Performa 09, NY (2009). Condon’s solo and collaborative work has been exhibited at the Whitney Biennial (2004), New Museum of Contemporary Art, NY (2010), Sonsbeek International Public Sculpture Exhibition (2008) and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2008).
Jen Liu is a New York-based artist, with recent group and solo exhibitions at Upstream Gallery, Amsterdam (2009); Aspen Art Museum, CO (2009); Kunsthaus Zurich (2008); Ceri Hand Gallery, Liverpool (2008); and the Royal Academy, London (2008). She has upcoming exhibitions at the Kunsthalle Wien, a 2-person exhibition with John Baldessari at Ceri Hand Gallery, and will be a resident at AIR Krems, Austria in 2011.