A Matter of Time

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Uri Dotan, Sphere 5, 2002 Screen/Projector With 5 Channel Surround Sound 3:42 On Infinite Loop © Courtesy of Andrea Meislin Gallery
A Matter of Time

534 West 24th Street
New York, NY 10011
January 11th, 2008 - February 9th, 2008
Opening: January 11th, 2008 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Tue-Sat 10-6

Andrea Meislin Gallery is pleased to present A Matter of Time, an exhibition featuring seventeen contemporary artists from seven countries, working in a diverse range of media. Each artist's work engages "time" in a unique manner, yielding a rich array of expressive achievement. A Matter of Time will open on January 11, with an opening reception from 6 to 8 PM.

Several artists in the exhibition use photography to investigate natural phenomena and the passage of time. With 42 Minutes (After Kawabata), Spencer Finch presents seven photographs of a window in rural Vermont from a single vantage point. The photographs, taken at dusk, each seven minutes apart, capture the quiet majesty of a daily occurring event: the transition of transparent glass to reflective mirror, resulting from the setting sun. Similarly, in Abelardo Morell's camera obscura image of a sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean, a diagonal sliver of light across the floor and wall of a sparsely furnished room charts the movement of the sun over a one hour and forty minute period of time. Like Finch and Morell, Matthew Pillsbury transforms ordinary spaces into places of wonder; a new cell phone (perhaps today's most prevalent electronic device) becomes the main light source for a 25-minute exposure -- the length of a phone call from the artist seated in London's Eaton Square to his dealer in New York.

Barbara Probst, Barry Frydlender, Dennis Santella, and Emeric Lhuisset all consciously employ time in order to challenge traditional photographic processes and common perceptions. Barbara Probst freezes time in her polyptych photographs, orchestrating a shoot to allow various figures to photograph each other from different vantage points in a single instant, creating seemingly unrelated images of a wholly connected event. With a small hand-held camera, Barry Frydlender accumulates hundreds of individual shots over the course of several hours, selecting the most relevant material to digitally construct a seamless composite. Faithful to the position of figures and the built environment, space remains constant in his photographs while careful inspection reveals the passage of time. Rather than use many separate images to tell a story, Frydlender creates his own grand fictional narratives.

In Frydlender's Waiting, a group of Bedouin men and young boys anxiously await the arrival of Israeli soldiers and police, promising a forced evacuation of the Gaza settlement of Shirat Hayam. Frydlender shot the scene in such a way as to make the men appear to exist outside of the environment in which they are standing. Emeric Lhuisset similarly utilizes time/space dynamics to address human displacement in our age of globalization. With Intrusion?, a life-sized photograph of middle class Parisians stepping out of the metro at Montreuil is grafted onto a cement wall in a poor neighborhood in Bogota, challenging viewers both visually and politically.

A number of artists take a diaristic approach to their work, recording or in some way documenting daily events over a period of time. Danica Phelps and David Shapiro share a willingness to expose details about their own lives, blurring the line between life and art. Phelps' weekly drawings chart the flow of money (expenses in red watercolor, income in green) in and out of her bank account. Taken en masse they reveal a surprising amount of personal information, while simultaneously subverting a market-obsessed art world. Shapiro's monthly calendars offer even more insight into the artist's psyche. Each day's square is filled in with a different object or piece of information -- ranging from insignificant to solemn to bizarre -- in an attempt to paint an honest picture of the ups and downs of the artist's life. In a like fashion, photographer Daniel Bauer transforms a simple and formalist aesthetic into a highly personal and revealing work with 75% Mattress. From a distance the image of Bauer's mattress, like a calendar, appears as a uniformed grid, only upon closer examination do stains and marks of wear become visible. Scanned segment by segment, the seams of the mattress serve as a timeline, depicting the years in which the artist lived with the mattress.

The idea of a daily journal is also of interest to Alina and Jeff Bliumis, though their Moscow Diary project does not focus on their own lives, but retraces the path Walter Benjamin took during his 1926 trip to Moscow. Contemporary photographs of the places he visited are combined with images of Russian mail-order-brides culled from the internet to make lenticular postcards, connecting the despair evident in modern day Moscow to a more optimistic time in the city's history.

The "subway" drawings of William Anastasi and Martin Wilner, though exploring entirely different aesthetic concerns, both developed as creative outlets while passing time. In small accordion notebooks, Wilner documents his visual and psychological surroundings while regularly riding the subway. Anastasi meditates during subway trips, allowing his relaxed body and the movement of the train to create "automatic" drawings.

For most of the artists in A Matter of Time, an element of time is incorporated into their work as means of solving an aesthetic or conceptual problem. Ward Shelley's intricate timeline narratives developed out of a desire to view complex stories and events on a single two-dimensional surface -- an alternative to prose. In depicting the mostly forgotten events of the Four Walls Art Collective, Shelley not only pays homage to an influential peer, but also creates art to serve as a permanent record of ephemeral events. Like Frydlender's digital composites, Shapiro's calendars, and Probst's triptych photograph, Shelley's narrative approach allows the artist to tell a more complete story.