Saturday, July 9, 2011
Jon Isherwood with Bruce Gagnier, Dionisio Cortes & Leticia Ortega Cortes, Susan Scott, Michael Volonakis, and Joyce Robins
June 23rd through July 17th, 2011
Isherwood's new sculptures and drawings represent the further development of his ongoing dialogue with the associative sensations of form and surface. Carving stone such as rosa aurora marble, limestone, and black granite, Isherwood gives his sculpture a sensuality and softness that belie the unyielding nature of the material. Carved lines contour the surfaces to emphasize the form, create the illusion of expansiveness and provoke associations to patterning, layering and veiled imagery. His sculptures are a result of a unique process allowing him to attain an uncompromised precision in the carving of the incised surfaces, which play with and against the swelling, fleshy, soft and yet substantial character of his organic forms. Isherwood's drawings further illustrate and compliment the tension between image, shape and skin that characterizes his carvings.
Isherwood's work has been widely exhibited in public museums and private galleries around the US, Canada, and Europe. He is the recipient of a Jerome Foundation Fellowship, a grant from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of New York at Plattsburgh. His sculpture has recently been exhibited at The Today Museum, Beijing, China; The Museum at Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton, NJ; and in Belgrave Square, London, UK. He has had more than 20 solo exhibitions, including Reeves Contemporary in NYC, John Davis Gallery in NYC; Maiden Lane Exhibition Space in NYC; the C. Grimaldis Gallery in Baltimore; Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park and Museum in Hamilton, OH; and the Sculpture Court in Southampton, NY. He has been featured in many group exhibitions, including the Peggy Guggenheim Museum in Venice, Italy; The McNay Museum, San Antonio, TX; The Derby City Museum, Derby, UK; and Kunsthalle, Manheim, Germany. His work can be found in more than 22 public collections. Isherwood's work has been reviewed in The New York Times, Art in America, ArtNews, The Washington Post, The New York Sun, Sculpture Magazine, Partisan Reviews, The Philadelphia Enquirer, and in The Times and The Guardian, UK. He has made personal appearances on shows featuring his work, including WAMC Public Radio and The Culture Show, BBC Television, UK. He has lectured at numerous colleges and universities in the U.S. and Europe.
The gallery is very pleased to present, in conjunction with Lori Bookstein Fine Art, the sculpture of Bruce Gagnier.
Bruce Gagnier was born in Williamstown, Massachusetts in 1941. He studied art history at Williams College (1959-1963) and went on to attend the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in the summer of 1963 and Columbia University (1963-1967), where he studied under Nicholas Carone, Peter Agostini and John Heliker.
"I model figures in clay. These five words isolate elements of my work: myself, the figure, the modeling of it, the clay. Modeling is historical, consistent in technique, painterly, and opposed in its purest practice to carving. Clay can be molded to another identity, made into an illusion through light. The figure has a history of being a form of content, a container for a subject. Sometimes, for me, it seems that its strictly carnal self has taken over and that its body has become the meaning. This difference can become a fulcrum between the then and now. Most often, in my work, I look to the figure as a possible container which embodies a search for a somebody, a person who as another self represents something about all of us; of the human in the environment affected by experience, a record of desire and disappointment, the longing for an ideal and the recognition of compromise. The contents merge to the surface, rearranging the anatomy. I participate in this by trial and error. But these bodies are not me, they are other people and because of that, they are more interesting. The work begins in clay, on a wire armature; I begin close to the wire, the interior. I intervene, gauging the person of the figure along the way. I put myself in the work from the inside out. I go back though, cutting in, to inspect and renew the inner life. One also shifts forms, previously defined, in a collage-like way, to rearrange the combinations and thereby adjust the personality of the (now) other person. It becomes very much a spatial game at this point. Marks, elements of work, etc, are left over, not intended as such and remain only as part of the imperfection at helping a subject find itself in the person; of arriving at a smooth and seamless arrangement to outer space. I give them a name. The inner life and history of this being in reality never completes itself but the work ends when an agreement is made between us that experience for the time being has run its course."
Elevator Shaft Installation
Leticia Ortega + Dionisio Cortes
2011, Site-specific drawing/installation for John Davis Gallery, Hudson, NY
72"W x 89"D x 33"H
Paper, graphite, acrylic paint, polymer resin
In response to the prevailing and intensified violence in Mexico, which has claimed more than 35,000 lives over the past few years, Ms. Ortega and Mr. Cortes have created 35,000 drops a three-story high, drawing/installation.
On his way from the Philippines to bury his son Juanelo, tortured and killed this past March 28th, Mexican poet Javier Sicilia wrote the following poem:
El mundo ya no es digno de la palabra
Nos la ahogaron adentro
Como te asfixiaron
Como te desgarraron a ti los pulmones
Y el dolor no se me aparta
Solo queda un mundo
Por el silencio de los justos
Solo por tu silencio y por mi silencio, Juanelo.
Es mi ultimo poema, no puedo escribir mas poesia... la poesia ya no existe en mi.
Javier Sicilia, Morelos, Mexico April 2, 2010
The world is not longer worthy of the word
They suffocated it inside us
As they asphyxiated you
As they torn your lungs apart
And pain does not depart me
Only one world is left
For the silence of the just
Only for your silence and for my silence, Juanelo.
This is my last poem, I cannot write poetry any
more... poetry no longer exists in me.
Javier Sicilia, Morelos, Mexico April 2, 2010
On April 2nd Mr. Sicilia stopped writing poetry.
Leticia Ortega and Dionisio Cortes live and work in New York City and in Highland, NY. Their work has been shown in the United States, Mexico, and Italy. Ms. Ortega's work has been included in the I Olga Costa Biennial and Mr. Cortes' in the Monterrey Biennial. Both are recipients of numerous prestigious awards including the Vitro Art Center and the Monterrey Biennial in Mexico. They have taught at several institutions including American School and El Nix in Mexico, and Wet Paint! Art Studio in NYC. Their work can be found in numerous private and public collections
Second Floor Carriage House
"These are constructed paintings. Because I know the components of each piece are going to be reconfigured over and over again, I make them from new materials with this In mind. Through what can be an arduous process, the parts become compromised, damaged or changed beyond repair, until ultimately something emerges with pictorial and physical integrity. The process of restructuring --- re-finding formal relationships allows a kind of narrative to edge its way into the work without being literal, so the paintings remain open to very broad readings, always subjective. I'm intrigued by the way Image and obecthood speck to each other in a painting, as if negotiating roles. For example, I might use a piece of wood to replace the rectangular plane of the painting, leaving it with no formal boundaries, but sustained as if by an umbilical to the wall. I have a deep respect for the tradition of painting, within which I find plenty of room to address almost anything, sometimes with a tiny dose of Irreverence and humor."
Third Floor Carriage House
"The process of drawing and painting I trust is educated yet ultimately intuitive. Within what may seem conflicting motivations lie paths to unexpected compositions."
"My work as a reporter has taught me that logical stories, without riddles and holes in them, in which everything is obvious, tend to be untrue."
-- Hanna Krall, The Woman From Hamburg
"I try to use experience of the world, visual memories, to inform my work. Never direct, it is an oblique reference. I am always surprised after completing a sculpture to see that it resembles something in the world. I count it as a success when that occurs because it reinforces an engagement with the environment. Intuition is strong in the beginning of the process. I try to think 'visually' and avoid any kind of narrative impulse in my use of the world. I understand the connections only after completing a sculpture.
Krall's statement is analogous to how I feel about my own encounters in the world. That understanding inspires me to produce sculpture with literal holes. The openings illustrate a concept of time and disintegration. Simple structures that are the ground for a more complicated surface rendering represent a model of this environment.
Slicing a slab of clay from a large block, then rolling it out and starting to shape it with my hands is often enough to suggest the way to proceed. I trust my instinct. It can be a long process to find the shape and longer still to modify and articulate that form. Some of the methods I use to do this include removing material from it, using a wooden tool to mark indentations in the interior and at the edges, using a steel tool to make perforations and, finally, shaping the edge itself. I want light to penetrate through the dense and opaque clay.
Sometimes I stretch it over a form to dry creating an irregular and undulating membrane. After it is fired, then, the form will lift off its supporting surface. Glaze is applied to some indents so color will be held in a different way than on untreated surface.
I grew up at the ocean edge with beaches and salt marshes. It was important for me to see the mix of landscape and water, the colors of the marsh, as well as the encrustation and buildup of repeated encounters of liquid against solid, the evidence of time, of decay and renewal. Memories of being there, looking closely at what landed on the edge have remained a continuing source of inspiration. These conditions are always there when I make art. The holes are metaphors for the bubbles in the foam of a receding wave. They are about a dissolution or disappearance of material. They are also intimating an ordering, not symmetrical, but still a balancing of elements. They provide a framework to integrate color onto the form. The shape of my sculpture is usually something simple, enough to hold a diverse amount of marking"