Summer Show; June 19 - August 2, 1996
The Greene Naftali Gallery will present a summer group show opening Wednesday, June 19th and continuing through Saturday, August 2nd. The show will present new work by Thomas Baldwin, Julie Becker, Rachel Harrison, Josephine Meckseper and Luke Murphy. The artists in this exhibition represent different aesthetic and conceptual points of view and work with various presentations including photography, painting, film, sculpture, and installation. There is no attempt to draw direct relationships between the various practices but rather to present an engaging group of ideas and let chance and intention overlap. Thomas Baldwin and Julie Becker live and work in Los Angeles. Rachel Harrison, Josephine Meckseper and Luke Murphy all live and work in New York. A reception for the artists will be held Wednesday evening, June 19th from 6-8pm.
Julie Becker will present an installation, which continues her senior thesis project, Researchers, Residents, A Place to Rest, which collapses various psychological portraits through constructed "scenes" in both miniaturized architectural models and in the real space of the gallery. Becker leaves the visual traces of presence, creativity, and longing in the form of scattered but highly charged environments. Strewn with such items as typed notes, a coffee pot machine, a crystal ball, and binoculars, these miniaturized spaces illuminate the lives of her selected characters. In the case of the last project they were Eloise, the indulged child of The Plaza, and Danny Torrance, the little boy in The Shining. The model in this exhibition suggests the investigations of an anonymous researcher blurring the roles of the artist with her fictional character. A series of "corner photographs" mimicking the haunting interior decor of the model are placed around the gallery further complicating the psychological and physical space.
Thomas Baldwin has created a poster, a photograph, paintings, and iris prints, which draw visually and philosophically from Japanese culture, modernist painting, and a conceptual art framework. He crosses and multiplies these different disciplines and their associative cultural and historical references to make propositions for the way pictures can continue to produce meaning in our culture.
Josephine Meckseper's work engages through an ambiguous play of drama and suspense, which is exemplified in the series of photographs presented. Operating with the tropes of surveillance, she has created a series of images which suggest a "plot": a man shadowed in a stairwell, a tipped chandelier, a speeding boat, the view from a driver's seat. By flirting with the mundane, she slips these pictures into a narrative suggesting an arena of intrigue and danger. A direct manipulation of spy film genres prompts this imaginative flight with the James Bond and 007 aesthetic referenced freely. The "secret agent" is an assumed character role siezed by the artist giving shape to an alter ego which is pursued in various forms.
Rachel Harrison makes idiosyncratic, sophisticated assemblages and installations which push issues of "content" and "form" to absurd positions. Her unusual collection of materials include wood paneling, cans of peas, casual and cryptic photographs, garbage bags, metal clamps, plywood, and painted paper mache blobs. Harrison choreographs her elements with an eccentric logic that elevates issues of taste, perception and memory.
Luke Murphy makes paintings, which collect, complicate and unravel systems of meaning and logic, exposing the absurd yet compulsive desire to contextualize oneself in relation to the world. Drawing on sources which illuminate the profound, like 13th Century ecclesiastical texts and juxtaposing these with blatantly "dumb" games like tic-tac-toe and hangman, he questions one's attempt to define meaning by complicating and screwing up the systems beyond the point of recognition. The paintings are produced on the computer, which prioritize image and also investigate the role of the artist's "hand" and it's remove or distance in the making of cultural images.