Newman Popiashvili Gallery is pleased to present a group exhibition titled Un-Natural Constellations. The multiplicity of currently available technological options contributes to a continuous disruption in our daily modes of operation. From constantly shifting between possible ways of creating objects—drawing, 3D modeling, printing—to revising and merging various options, those disruptions become “natural.” Through approaching nature by molding together the digital and the physical, reversing familiar work-flows, and often relying on “self-organization of matter,” the works in this show present a collection of Un-Natural Constellations.
Chris Fennell’s experimental drawings are based on mythologies of chaos and creation, primarily Ovid’s “Metamorphoses”. In this series, he inverts his standard additive process of mixed-media paintings, and rather than building out, the drawings dig deep into the surface. Drawing is a system of coordinates that helps differentiate up from down, form from space, positive from negative and just underneath the surface lies, in the words of Ovid, “ a huge agglomeration of upset .”
Maiore (the Botanist) is a new series of paintings in which Alexander Lee revisits the theme of the uru (breadfruit), continuing his investigation on cultural narratives from Tahiti. The title of the works refers to the legend of Maiore who transformed his body into a tree bearing nourishing fruits to feed his starving family, and David Nelson, the botanist onboard the 1789 expedition to gather breadfruit on the HMS Bounty. Lee hand-prints uru leaves on large sheets of paper into compositions reminiscent of Polynesian headdress, lei, and the wind rose used in navigational charts; in effect collecting his own herbarium of post colonial motifs.
Fabricated using a CNC router, Berry Crude is an example of the digital taking shape in the material. Forms produced by simulated natural forces, such as wind and gravity, were collaged together using a 3D modeling software to shape the amorphous sculpture. Roman Chikerinets predicts that like the crude oil, the geo-lubricant made of once living matter, Berry Crude–the digitally lubricated form–will undergo the process of decay and participate in the build up of our Anthropocene layer.
While often used in creation of commercial content, Katie Torn employs the seductive qualities of hyper realistic lighting and materiality produced by 3D modeling software, to express various psychological states. A hybrid of photography and sculpture, her work underlines the peculiarities of life in the digital age and our constant mobility between the virtual and the physical spaces.
Brent Harada uses easily accessible technologies of image reproduction and manipulation in building his large-scale work. Through photocopying and enlarging the semi-organic image with the use of a commercial printer, he emphasizes the inconsistencies and materiality of the medium.
Working on traditional Japanese paper Tokuro Sakamoto creates seemingly accidental Surface concentrating on concealing the careful planning of each mark.
Pierre Obando puts the juxtaposition of individual and mechanical mark-making at the center of his work, exploring the disruptions in perception.
Jessica Sugerman’s monoprints illustrate a play on idiomatic phrases and the blurring of the preconceived “zones” that figures of speech occupy in our realm. By using geometrically fractured, amorphous shapes alongside written words she amplifies the multiplicity of meanings each phrase may carry.
Focusing on connections that emerge between people in various social settings, Jenn Pascoe positions anonymous figures in groups. Although the specific reasons for the gatherings are unknown, the images function as blueprints for the visual shape the energy emerging from each interaction takes.
In his performance Raro and Golden Dolphin, Shawn Lyons takes on the role of a human rabbit–Raro, in an attempt to rescue an eponymous ship sunken in the Gowanus canal. The golden dolphin acts as a guiding agent in the ascend of the vessel, merging personal mythological narrative with local ecological history.