Thierry-Goldberg Gallery is pleased to announce Ryan Estep’s first solo exhibition in New York. Estep presents a new group of paintings based on his dedicated study of materiality and control, or the lack thereof. The show opens October 11th with a reception from 6 to 8pm, and will run through November 10th, 2013.
With a systematic set of rules and premeditated actions, Estep follows a ritual of sorts, starting with the creation of a monochromatic surface in the tradition of post-minimalism, and finishing the process with the addition of gestural marks. The marks are usually the result of an intentional accident, following an action planned by the artist and at times affected by his experimentation with unconventional materials.
In “The Stretcher Series” for example, Estep traced the wooden support behind a series of four canvases with a mixture of black paint and Lidocaine gel - an anesthetic that causes numbness. The paintings were laying flat on a table and still wet to the touch when Estep proceeded to hang them on the wall. He intentionally touched the painted area in the process of hanging the works, temporarily losing sensation in his hands and leaving a mark, with each piece in the series becoming progressively messier. Estep uses the numbing anesthetic as a way to create an exaggerated timeline, which disconnects his sense of touch, and amplifies the need to finish his set of tasks.
Similarly, in his “1 Form Stretched Over Another Series,” Estep paints a stretched canvas in black and removes it from the stretcher. He then fully immerses his hands in the Lidocaine gel and tasks himself with re-stretching the piece. The effects of the numbing bring about an intentionally failed attempt at reconstructing the canvas. And so, the restriction imposed by the artist upon himself is made evident through imperfection.
Another medium that Estep frequently works with is a 1:1 combination of drywall plaster and charcoal. The plaster is first applied to a wall in the artist’s studio, sanded down, turned into a powder, and then mixed with the charcoal. In his “Drywall Mud/Drop Cloth Series,” he uses the mixture to fill a mold casted of stretched and cut drop cloth. Similarly to his other works, the process starts with the creation of 4 identical objects but the shape and texture of the casted works gradually wears away when handled by the artist, resulting in each piece becoming a slightly different variation of the original form.
Ryan Estep (b. 1980, Midland, MI) lives and works in New York. He holds a Master’s in Fine Art from Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio. He has previously exhibited at Makebish Gallery, New York; FiFi Projects, Mexico City; 3rd Ward, Brooklyn; Charles Bank Gallery, New York; Bronx Arts Space, Bronx, New York; The Active Space, Brooklyn; and at The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, New York.