Half a self\, < /b>
a cave-dweller

Paul Branca
Julia Brown
Yve Laris Cohen
Carla Edwards
Nicolás Guagnini
Chelsea Knight
Ellie Krakow
Oliver Lutz
Fionn Meade
Seth Scantlen
Austin Shull
Mary Simpson
Jonathan VanD yke

Curated by David Everitt Howe

November 6 - November 14\, 2010
Opening Reception: Saturday\, November 6\, 7 - 10pm
Performance Schedule: Saturday\, November 6\, 7:00-l ate (see below)
Viewing Hours: Friday-Sunday\, 12 - 6pm\, and by appt.

The Former Convent at St. Cecilia’s Parish
21 Mon itor St.\, Greenpoint\, New York\, 11222


Bringing toge ther interdisciplinary work by thirteen emerging and established artists an d critics\, Half a self\, a cave-dweller is\, at its core\, about th e ways in which iconography both constructs and subjugates identity—when th e icon becomes\, in a sense\, autonomous. With video\, painting\, performan ce\, photography\, and installation\, this group exhibition presents a spar se installation of work that reacts against an overwhelming amount of repre sentation—from art production to advertising\, popular culture to political culture—characteristic of post-modernity. Where does one locate the subjec t\, the body\, the ego\, when it is both constituted by a desire for images and consumed by their memory—when images are so fully a part of it?

\n< p>Taking residence within a former Catholic convent\, the exhibition consid ers the convent’s architecture—with its three floors of bedrooms\, public s paces\, and determined religious sites—as a sort of optical apparatus\, in which its nearly identical\, demarcated spaces become sites of subtle inter ventions and expositions. Rather than adopting the segmented logic of its f loor plan\, Half a self\, a cave-dweller allows artists to distribut e their work amongst the convent’s many spaces. Taking a cue from Marcel Pr oust’s overture to In Search of Lost Time—in which the narrator desc ribes a domestic space in constant perceptual shuffle\, vacillating between past and present—encounters are rarely fully realized at once. Rather\, wo rk is seen in glimpses\, in slips of time\; temporal disjunction is a key c omponent of the exhibition’s viewing experience\, both in regards to the wo rk and to the former convent itself—it is both timeless and placeless\, see mingly suspended in an unspecific era.




Conflating l anguage-based conceptualism with modernist painting\, Paul Branca pa ints words and punctuation marks on small canvases\, rendering linguistic s igns as transcendent objects. Disjoining object from image\, place from tim e\, Julia Brown presents an auditory work about the taste memory of an extinct Mediterranean clam. Redolent of painters Franz Kline and Charlin e von Heyl\, Mary Simpson’s prints feature the rudimentary image of an eye\, its iconography subsumed into gestural abstraction. These are acco mpanied by a video produced in collaboration with critic Fionn Meade \, Marysas (2010). Footage of two hands\, pressed one on top of the other—one real and one a “copy”—trace the outlines of historically-defined images\, thus marking a profound shift where reference is lost and facsimil e image gains a timeless\, and desiring\, autonomy. Further elaborating on this shift\, Ellie Krakow deconstructs both icon and index as she di stributes eight photographs among six bedrooms\, each of which portrays one of two Greek busts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Alternating between views of the sculpture’s front and back\, its iconic visage and its metal a rmature\, Krakow has also selectively removed portions of the image leaving its negative space. Emphasizing both architecture and photograph as framin g devices of meaning\, Krakow exchanges a past experience at the Met with a present experience at the convent. The intervention thus brings attention to the perceptual act of viewing. With these works\, among others\, the app aratus is a key motif\; adopting a Minimalist concern with sites of recepti on and temporal contingency\, such frameworks become ancillary to the image —it can\, on its own\, seemingly gain new contexts at will.


Other a rtists perform and re-perform notions of gender and sexual difference\, bot h in relation to religious belief systems as well as to pop culture represe ntations. Taking residence in the convent’s elaborate chapel\, artist Yv e Laris Cohen appropriates iconic choreography from the ballet Gisel le\, repeating the same movement from 7:00 pm during the opening recept ion until complete exhaustion. Framed both by the chapel architectur e—which features delicate stained-glass windows and a stone altar—as well a s a grouping of photo shoot lights and softboxes\, Cohen’s endurance-based re-performance subverts notions of religious ritual and gender hierarchies. Jonathan VanDyke’s critique of normative tropes is more explicitly related to popular culture. He has enlisted a male and female pair of perfo rmers to reenact segments of dialogue from the Douglas Sirk film Magnifi cent Obsession (1954) starring Jane Wyman and Rock Hudson. Much like Co hen\, VanDyke’s performers repeatedly perform the same three scenes as ritu als of rejection\, redemption\, and reconciliation. Serving as backdrops\, two hanging sculptures of framed homasote boards\, shaped like modernist ca nvases\, feature a system of pipes and orifices to transport paint. Viscous pigment slowly dribbles onto the floor streaks\, inverting the heterosexua l bravado of Abstract Expressionism: action painting is thus seemingly rend ered a painting of inaction\, as layers of paint slowly accumulate into scu lptural form.


Lastly\, a third strain of work investigates the subj ect in relation to nation-state and capitalist ideologies. Nicolás Guagn ini proffers photographs of women shopping in SoHo. Framed by window di splays and shopping bags\, the women are seen as both representations of ca pitalist design as well as objects of heterosexual male desire\, correlatin g both. In the bunker-like boiler room\, Chelsea Knight and Austi n Shull present their collaborative video installation Acting Out (2010). It features a group of actors rehearsing Alfred Jarry’s early 20t h century play Ubu Roi\, a satire of bourgeois political power and g reed. In some ways a precursor to Brecht’s theatrical productions\, Artaud’ s Theater of Cruelty\, and the Theater of the Absurd\, the staging o f Ubu Roi in Skowhegan\, Maine’s county jail underscores the arbitra riness of social codes of conduct\, as well as the political abuses of Amer ica’s penal system. Seth Scantlen displays clear Plexiglas boxes of fake flowers\, flooring tiles\, and children’s dolls\, as a sort of disheve led monument to consumer culture. Carla Edwards rounds out the group with a large handcrafted quilt made of strips of American flag dyed black. These works\, among others\, draw parallels between capitalist design and political will. They look at the subject\, again\, and in sequence\, where meaning and image are disoriented in their own after-affect.

LOCATION:Convent of Saint Cecilia\,21 Monitor Street \nBrooklyn\, NY 11216 SUMMARY:Half a self\, a cave-dweller\, Paul Branca\, Julia Brown\, Yve Lari s Cohen\, Carla Edwards\, Nicolás Guagnini\, Chelsea Knight\, Ellie Krakow\ , Oliver Lutz\, Fionn Meade\, Seth Scantlen\, Austin Shull\, Mary Simpson\, Jonathan VanDyke END:VEVENT BEGIN:VEVENT DTSTAMP:20170124T075854Z UID:135154 DTSTART:20101106T190000 DTEND:20101106T220000 LOCATION:Convent of Saint Cecilia\,21 Monitor Street \nBrooklyn\, NY 11216 SUMMARY:Half a self\, a cave-dweller\, Paul Branca\, Julia Brown\, Yve Lari s Cohen\, Carla Edwards\, Nicolás Guagnini\, Chelsea Knight\, Ellie Krakow\ , Oliver Lutz\, Fionn Meade\, Seth Scantlen\, Austin Shull\, Mary Simpson\, Jonathan VanDyke END:VEVENT END:VCALENDAR