Reincarnation Blues

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A Chance of Overtime C Print 25 X 33.5 Inches © Chris Gentile
Reincarnation Blues

49 Geary St.
Fifth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94108
July 2nd, 2009 - August 22nd, 2009
Opening: July 2nd, 2009 5:00 PM - 7:30 PM

Union Square/Civic Center
Tue-Sat 11-5:30 and by appointment.
photography, sculpture


Gregory Lind Gallery is pleased to present "Reincarnation Blues," a new exhibition of photographs by New York-based artist Chris Gentile. Gentile's exhibition features photographed renditions of his abstract sculptures (composed of elements such as wood, corrugated cardboard, plaster, plastic, and cherries). Presenting once-removed renditions of pre-fabricated work exhibited solely through two-dimensional photographs, Gentile skews the plausibility of inherent meaning.

Gentile's photography re-renders and re-shapes the reality of his objects such that shots from a particular angle, in addition to the flatness of the images, obfuscate our ability to make out an identifiable shape, material, scale, or environment. Rather than hinting at familiar spaces for the manufacturing of his sculptures—such as a gallery or studio—Gentile's photographs confound the physical placement of his objects to startling ends.

"Reincarnation Blues" consists of photographs of objects that often appear to tell a distinct story, based on movement and the suggestion of specific emotions and characteristics. Concomitant with the title of the show, the assembled works present themes such as nostalgia, the decay of identity and disintegration of order over time, the human desire to construct a narrative from a series of often disconnected events, the ennui of modern life, and the nature of sorrow itself. Often, the work utilizes materials and images that convey melancholy, but not to the exclusion of serendipity and beauty. Gentile uses "whatever is necessary to complete the work," often imbuing his images with materials that inherently hold metaphoric possibilities and trigger memories (e.g., pink rosin paper or office supplies).

One of the pieces, "Tide of Regret," consists of a series of six images in which an enigmatic blob of black slides down a wall, approaching a pool of red paint. In a gesture that resembles the disjointed, discontinuous movement of claymation figures, the piece suggests both motion and amorphousness. Each progressive photograph shows the figure making its way down the wall in a protean movement, only to end up on the floor in an ordered, ball-like semblance. While each photograph represents, in actuality, a distinct sculpture, the sequence lends the images a quality of homogeneity by dint of their insinuation of a natural progression. Gentile's "tide of regret" can also be seen as delineating the objectivity of an emotion, which is not a singular mass in space, but rather, a dynamic gesture inhabiting a number of moments and ideas simultaneously.

Likewise, Gentile's "Human Nature" is a diptych that points to a uniformity that isn't, in fact, present. In the first image, a triangular structure of vitreous-looking maraschino cherries drips its liquids onto the floor in a pool resembling blood. Given its title, the display brings to mind the apparently contradictory qualities of abundance, dynamism, and dissolution that are inherent in nature. In the second photo, the cherries are removed to reveal the structure underlying the pyramid, denuded of all the cherries, creating an obvious narrative opposition to its more colorful counterpart. "You Can't Win" displays a similar penchant for absurdity and contradiction, and features a sculpture made of corrugated cardboard tacked up to resemble shingles.

Gentile's "objects" can be viewed as symbols of contemplation that must be deciphered not intellectually, but through the sentiments they evoke. Thus, as the title of the show implies, they are entities that are "reincarnated" and, indeed, born from the very act of spectatorship. The photographed image as the sculpture's one-dimensional composite is a palpable metaphor for the way in which we might view one medium of art filtered through the lens of another—as well as the limitations of human experience and perception, and the role of the imagination in supplying missing information. In fact, Gentile purposely transcends the limits of his objects' physicality, purging the perceptual space (beleaguered as it is by countless visual cues) to give full rein to the viewer's imagination.