Brennan and Griffin is pleased to present our first solo exhibition with Arthur Ou.
Ou’s work is rooted in photography, although he has explored notions of the photographic through other mediums, such as sculpture. This show departs from Ou’s recent photographic seascapes and gestural alchemical interventions by transposing the sensibilities of both into an engagement with painting.
Opticality is a porous term that assumes divergent meanings when considered within the realms of painting and photography. While a photograph is necessarily a stubborn index to light, through an “optic,” the optic in painting is retinal and therefore calls upon the mind image. One could also describe this difference as a dynamic between the indexical and the experiential. Ou’s new paintings interpolate friction within this overlapping and relational space. Through painting, an alternate path emerges where he extends and expands upon his interests in photographic latency, the analog, and abstraction, which he has previously addressed in his work.
In addition to the paintings, a ring binder on a custom-made table contains nearly one hundred contact prints made from four-by-five inch negatives is also on view. Made within the past year, the images here range widely from multiple-exposed pictures of ocean rocks, portraits of the artist’s wife, studio experiments, and photographs of the Wittgenstein House, which Ou made while on a trip to Vienna in January. These unedited “studies” reveal a diaristic view, like an artist’s notebook, or an inventory of trajectories, ideational investigations, and other possibilities. Perhaps a contrapuntal counter to the imageless paintings, these contact prints open up a latitudinal space from the paintings as a space for contemplation.
Arthur Ou has exhibited internationally, most recently in Photography Is Magic!, curated by Charlotte Cotton, as part of the 2012 Daegu Photography Biennial in Daegu, Korea, and has been featured in publications including Aperture, Blind Spot, Art in America, and The Photograph As Contemporary Art (2nd edition). He has published critical texts in Aperture, Afterall, Artforum, Bidoun, Fantom, Foam, Words without Pictures,and X-Tra. He lives and works in New York. Ou’s work is concurrently on view at P!, 334 Broome Street, New York.