toomer labzda is pleased to present max warsh's first solo show in New York. the exhibition title, BILDER—German for "pictures"—
speaks to his interest in the dialogue between framing and building images.
his recent series of photo-based works look at the repetitive language of architectural facades through a process of photographing, collecting, cutting, painting and rebuilding. bold painted shapes emerge amidst densely patterned brick or tile, forming a visual syntax derived from the psychological experience of moving through a city.
additionally, conveyor belts removed from the flows of production, hang motionless in the gallery. these readymades share a common vocabulary with warsh’s photographic work and his reinterpretation of systems of ornamentation and construction.
where are you from / where’s your studio? New York City / Ridgewood, Queens
what do you use most often in your studio? i always have a big jug of book-binding glue in the center of my studio. it holds everything together.
what is your favorite part of the creative process? most of my work starts by wandering around in unfamiliar places and neighborhoods. or by walking down the same street over and over again and seeing something that's been right in front of me but I might have missed. so, walking would have to be my favorite part.
what is your earliest memory of art? i can't recall any specific early encounter with art, but do remember sitting through many poetry readings as a child—my parents are both poets. then, a little later, but still early on, i remember becoming interested in graffiti. i was never any kind of serious graffiti writer, but some friends were, and i was just interested in that type of mark-making.
how did you start working in your current medium? for a while, i've been trying to combine photographic space with painted space. in some ways, this was out of a desire to negate the photograph. but now, I try to work with photographic material as fluidly as paint, and the painted moments develop as a result of that process.
what was the last exhibition you saw? i just saw the rosemarie trockel show at the new museum for the second time. this was one of the most generous shows I've seen in a while, and it was even better the second time.
is there an artist you’ve always wanted to grab drinks with? definitely gordon matta-clark. his engagement with architecture and the city has influenced me heavily since i first saw his drawings at PS1 in 1998, and i'd love to talk with him about "anarchitecture”.
if money was no object, what artwork would you acquire? i've always been obsessed with Turner's landscapes, especially the stormy seascapes, i could live with one of those.
is there one thing you wish you could do? stop time.
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born in Henniker, New Hampshire and raised in New York City, max warsh received a BA from Sarah Lawrence College in 2002 and an MFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2004. he has exhibited his work in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Austin, including recently at Shoot the Lobster, New York and SOFA in Austin, Texas. he is co-founder of the artist-run gallery Regina Rex, Queens.