Two Openings — David Haxton: -/+ and Donna Conlon: Grandpa
Fridman Gallery is honored to present two simultaneous exhibitions featuring films and photographs by David Haxton and Donna Conlon.
David Haxton’s first exhibition with the gallery, -/+, is a selection of films and photographs made over the past five decades.
A sequence of Haxton’s 16mm films from the 70s and 80s – among them "Overlapping Planes", "Painting Lights", "Cubes", "Landscape and Room", and "Pyramid Drawings" – will be projected on the back wall of the gallery, at a considerable distance, yet immediately visible, from the entrance. Along the side walls, filming stills and more recent large-scale color photographs of front- and backlit paper constructions will lead visitors through the space, towards the projected image.
Trained as a painter, Haxton began making films in 1969, interested in examining the nature of the medium from the perspective of a modernist painter – light, movement, and the formation of a three-dimensional illusion on a flat surface. The camera remains in a static position throughout the single take, without editing. Actions of the performers are limited to movement back and forth, parallel to the picture plane, describing a three-dimensional space in terms of its two-dimensional representation.
DAVID HAXTON received an MFA in Painting from the University of Michigan in 1967, and has exhibited at the Pompidou, MoMA, the Whitney, the Smithsonian, and many other institutions. Selected public collections include: the Pompidou, MoMA, SFMOMA, Smithsonian American Art Museum, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Indianapolis Museum of Art, Albright Knox Gallery, National Gallery of Art (Australia), Denver Museum of Art, and the Chicago Art Institute.
Fridman Gallery is honored to premiere Donna Conlon’s short film "Grandpa" (2015), the artist’s second exhibition with the gallery, following "Invisible Hands" (with Jonathan Harker) in 2014. The gallery’s black-box screening room will give full effect to the film’s rich cinematography and sound.
"Grandpa" pivots around a stream-of-consciousness monologue by Conlon’s father-in-law, afflicted with an advanced stage of Alzheimer’s or dementia. The steady, meditative flow of his speech, uninterrupted by intonations, pauses or punctuation, is set against a lush ocean scape and the relentless sound of lapping waves. The video follows the lead of the audio, surfacing and plunging as the voice lapses in and out of glancing moments of relative lucidity. The work is a portrait of a unique mind, unknowingly transgressing social conventions in favor of sheer expression.
Unscripted and guided by aphasic speech, the film stands in fascinating contrast to the meticulously structured videos for which Conlon is widely known. "Grandpa" exemplifies the artist’s ability to freeze and remeasure time in order to reveal innate connections of the human psyche to the environment. In this way, the film relates to "Coexistence" (2008), a series of photographs available in the gallery’s viewing room, in which rust-red leaf-cutter ants transport artificial leaf fragments painted with peace signs and flags of countries in the United Nations.
Concurrently with the exhibition, "Coexistence," the video, will be shown in "Home is a Foreign Place" at the Met Breuer, a survey of the Met’s recent acquisitions, from April 9, 2019.
DONNA CONLON lives and works in Panama City, Panama. In 2002 she earned an MFA from Maryland Institute College of Art, and had a residency at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Conlon participated in the 51st Venice Biennale, Pacific Standard Time, Prospect New Orleans, the Biennale of the Americas, the 8th Mercosur Biennale, and the 10th Havana Biennale. Her work has been exhibited at the Guggenheim, Pérez Art Museum, El Museo del Barrio, Palais de Tokyo, Kadist Foundation, Istanbul Modern Art Museum, and other institutions. Conlon’s work is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Tate Modern, the Guggenheim, Queensland Art Gallery, the Kadist Foundation, the Centro Gallego de Arte Contemporáneo, the Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Art Foundation, Daros Latinamerica, and Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, among others.
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