As the first of three shows in its temporary location at 4 East Second Street, Museum 52 New York presents four artists whose work, at its most simply stated, could be seen as abstract painting. Potentially defunct this ubiquitous phrase tells us very little. The work instead presents modes of execution that allow the adjectives associated with abstraction to be used and simultaneously refuted, questioning the qualities they possess.
Joe Bradley's series of 'Schmagoo' paintings are the result of numerous sketches, which become the seemingly immediate result - effectively honing and contradicting the gesture. The scrawls and doodles, a mixture of familiar signs and symbols, appear to form an incomplete alphabet of hieroglyphs. Ekblad describes her works as a result of her relation with words and 'their potency, smell, vibration and tonality'. Her sculptures and painting in effect channel writings turning them not into abstractions but instead re-realizing them in her equally personalized vocabulary. Sandner's painterly renditions of found notes and text juxtapose the autobiographical with the language of gestural painting. The unexpected result is that they cancel each other out; a subversion and transcendence of both the painted marks and the original marks they represent. Braman's work possesses a personal, poetic sensibility that reminds us that individuality cannot be edited out, and that the work is richer and more present as a result. Her marks, which incorporate hand written text and abruptly combined materials, formulate an appreciation of the sculpture and what forms it rather than an attempt to further abstract its existence.
Though all the work in the show exhibits an awareness and/or use of gesture, abstraction and the impersonal, the lack of adherence to the rules prevents the work from disappearing into the machinations of gesture. This is done, partially, through an understanding and use of language that is similarly unruly. It is awareness of, and freedom with, this knowledge that allows the work to be both subversive and progressive and not always at the same time.
Sarah Braman has exhibited at Dicksmith Gallery, London, the ICA, Philadelphia, Andrea Rosen Gallery and CANADA in New York. Braman is currently exhibiting in Copenhagen in New Yorkers at V1 Gallery and will have a solo museum show at Le Confort Moderne, France in 2010. Braman shows in New York at Museum 52.
Joe Bradley currently has a solo show: 'Turkey thru the Corn' at Peres Projects in Los Angeles. Bradley was included in the 2008 Whitney Biannual. Bradley has an upcoming exhibition at Peres Projects, Berlin. Bradley shows in New York at CANADA.
Ida Ekblad is currently exhibiting in Generational the first Triannual at the New Museum, New York. She is also included in MOMENTUM, the 5th Nordic Biennial of Contemporary Art. Ekblad is one of the founders of Willy Wonka Inc. an artist collective/artists run space based in Oslo. She will have solo exhibitions in Oslo, Paris and Milan in 2009.
Stefan Sandner has had recent solo exhibitions at Tiroler Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum, Innsbruck, Art Statements, Art Basel, Museum 52, New York, Museum 52 London, and Grita Insam Gallery, Vienna. In 2006 he had a major solo show at the Vienna Secession.