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Masque , 2012 Watercolor 46 X 68 Inches © Courtesy of the Artist and Catharine Clark Gallery

248 Utah Street
Ground Floor
94103 San Francisco

September 8th, 2012 - October 28th, 2012
Opening: September 8th, 2012 3:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Potrero District
Tue-Wed,Fri-Sat 11-6; Thu 11-7


Catharine Clark Gallery announces Idyllwild, a solo exhibition of new media works by Chris Doyle. The exhibition dates are September 8 through October 28, 2012. The artist will be present for the reception on Saturday, September 8, from 4 to 6pm, and will lead a casual walkthrough of the exhibition at 3pm. The exhibition coincides with the ZERO1 Biennial, September 12–December 8, 2012. Reception Saturday, September 8, 4–6pm; Walkthrough at 3pm

Idyllwild, Chris Doyle’s first solo exhibition at Catharine Clark Gallery, presents multimedia and multisensory works inspired by Thomas Cole’s The Course of the Empire series, which traces the rise and fall of a civilization. Doyle has long been interested in Cole’s 19th century paintings, as well as the panoramic landscapes of Hans Memmling and Last Judgment altarpieces of the Renaissance, which have inspired his ongoing and epic body of current works. The exhibition consists of the three videos based on Cole’s paintings—Apocalypse Management (telling about being one being living) (2009), Waste_Generation, (2010) and Idyllwild (2012)—along with a projected video titled Rondo, several light boxes and large-scale watercolors, and a video book reminiscent of an illuminated manuscript. As a total exhibition Idyllwild focuses on how contemporary landscape has been impacted by time, history, and human influence, just as Cole’s The Course of the Empire did in the 19th century.

Chris Doyle brings the central issues portrayed in The Course of the Empire into contemporary relevance by reinterpreting the original narrative and using new technologies to address the subject. Industrial ruin, debris, and waste are featured in Doyle’s work, which focuses on a societal need for restoration and conservation. Doyle reflects on the cyclical nature of history and time by beginning his series in the penultimate scene of Cole’s original story, returning the destroyed, digitalized, and fluorescent landscape in Apocalypse Management (telling about being one being living)—based on Destruction (1836), the next-to-last painting in Cole’s series—back to its natural, primordial, and visually abstracted state in Idyllwild—based on Cole’s first painting, The Savage State (1834). 

Doyle’s animations beautifully capture the shifting, regressive landscape, and create an immersive experience backwards through time. Each animation is a thematic and visual anchor point for the other exhibited works. For example, Smokescreen is a light box piece that features industrial factories omitting noxious smog in purples, yellows, and greens within a border of digital leaves. Derived from Waste_Generation, it examines creation and waste in the industrial era, as reflected in cultural symbols like art, architecture, and money. Similarly, The Larger Illusion, stemming from the Idyllwild projection, is a stunning triptych that highlights nature’s return to its virginal state: its overgrown vegetation, vines, and knotted tree branches flourish without human trace. Overall, the interactive and visual journey through Idyllwild is embodied in Rondo, an animation projected onto a transparent circular disk, illuminated only at night. Transfixing and vivid, Rondo captures the circular, regenerative cycle of history in its form and content, and reminds us that the world is constantly in flux, whether or not we are aware of it. 

Chris Doyle is a multidisciplinary artist based in Brooklyn, New York. He received his Bachelors degree in Fine Arts from Boston College and his Masters in Architecture from Harvard University. In addition to recent solo exhibitions in New York, Los Angeles, and at The Taubman Museum of Art, his work has been shown at The Brooklyn Museum of Art, MassMoCA, P.S.1 Museum of Contemporary Art, The Tang Museum, The Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Sculpture Center, and as part of the New York Video Festival at Lincoln Center and the Melbourne International Arts Festival. Doyle curated 50,000 Beds, a large-scale, collaborative video installation involving 45 artists and presented simultaneously by The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, ArtSpace, New Haven, and Real Art Ways, Hartford. His work has been supported by grants from New York Foundation for the Arts, NYSCA, Creative Capital Foundation, and the MAP Fund. His temporary and permanent urban projects include LEAP, presented by Creative Time; Commutable, commissioned by The Public Art Fund; as well as recent commissions for Culver City, California; Tampa, Florida; Kansas City, Missouri; and Austin Texas. 

Idyllwild is presented in conjunction with the 2012 ZERO1 Biennial, Seeking Silicon Valley. ZERO1 is a nonprofit that focuses on the intersection of art, technology, and the public within a globalized world. Since 2006, the ZERO1 Biennial has presented events, unique artist commissions, exhibitions, public art installations and performances from 500 international and local artists throughout the Silicon Valley and the Bay Area. In the ZERO1 Garage, Stephanie Syjuco, also represented by Catharine Clark Gallery, will present a commissioned installation, FREE TEXT: The Open Source Reading Room (2012), that considers current issues of reproduction, copyright, and intellectual property.