Galleries Curate: RHE
Pat O’Neill, Pope.L, Martha Rosler, Jacolby Satterwhite, Julian Stanczak
Apr. 6 until Apr. 10, 2021
Presented by Mitchell-Innes & Nash in New York
Mitchell-Innes & Nash is pleased to announce its participation in
Galleries Curate: RHE, launching online and in person on April 6, 2021.
Continuing the group’s discussion of water, the exhibition includes work by
Pat O’Neill, Pope.L, Martha Rosler, Jacolby Satterwhite and Julian Stanczak.
The artworks span a range of media including photography, film, installation and painting and address the theme from distinct conceptual concerns. Overall, the exhibition reflects on the ways artists utilize water to reflect the ever-changing state of the world around us.
For more information, please contact Isabelle Hogenkamp: firstname.lastname@example.org
b. 1939, Los Angeles, CA
Lives and works in Los Angeles, CA
Pat O’Neill’s Water and Power (1989) is an experimental film focused on the paradoxical relationship between humans and nature through the lens of Los Angeles, a thriving desert city that is its own contradiction. The city has been subject to ongoing desertification, the process by which land becomes desert, largely due to human activities, namely excessive water consumption.
The film presents a fragmented vision of the landscape, blending together and overlapping scenes of power plants, human gatherings and natural landscapes to create anxious and surreal compositions. The score by George Lockwood is similarly composed of contrasting acoustics ranging from chamber music to jazz renditions to electronic soundscapes. Ultimately, O’Neill suggests an apprehensive look at the toll of thriving human economies on a fragile environment.
O’Neill is an American independent experimental filmmaker and artist. He is perhaps best known for his groundbreaking films which blend iconography, surrealism, humor and sound design to reveal his interest in the connections and divisions between humans and nature. His films illustrate the materiality of sound, images and pacing as well as his avant-garde use of the optical printer. He is a founding member of Oasis, a collaboratively run experimental film exhibitor in Los Angeles active in the West Coast film scene. Water and Power won the Grand Jury Prize at the 1990 Sundance Film Festival and his complete collection resides at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Film Archive.
b. 1955, Newark, NJ
Lives and works in Chicago, IL
Well (Redistribution Version) (2018) is an installation by Pope.L consisting of nine art-deco drinking glasses placed on the floor of the gallery space. Every morning, each of the glasses is filled to the brim with club soda, and then overfilled so the bubbling liquid spills onto the surrounding floor. No action is taken to control the flow of water. The first few minutes present a lively sound performance, the liquid audibly buzzing with potential energy. Quickly, the action fades to a dull whisper before disappearing entirely. The resulting pools of water slowly evaporate throughout the course of the day, leaving a perceivable film of the minerals left behind. An absurdist intervention into the gallery space, the presence of the water’s detritus suggests the viewer has missed something, a performance or happening that took place only minutes before.
Pope.L is a visual artist and educator whose multidisciplinary practice uses binaries, contraries and preconceived notions embedded within contemporary culture to create art works in various formats, for example, writing, painting, performance, installation, video and sculpture. Engagement with water and its implications has been a long-time component of the artist’s practice. Most recently, Pope.L presented Choir at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York in 2019, a multimedia sound installation consisting of a one-thousand-gallon water-storage tank installed under an inverted fountain suspended from the ceiling in a darkened room. The fountain spews a stream of water into the top of the tank at varying speeds while microphones records and amplify the sounds of filling, draining, dripping and gushing. In 2017, the artist presented Flint Water, an installation, performance and intervention that called attention to the water crisis in Flint, Michigan by bottling, displaying and selling the city’s tap water.
Lives and works in Brooklyn, NY
The trio of photographs that constitute Greenpoint Elegy (1994) by Martha Rosler engages with the continuing gentrification in one of New York City’s oldest neighborhoods. In the late 1980s when Rosler moved to the area, Greenpoint was a predominantly working-class, immigrant neighborhood, an urban village that time forgot. The artist foresaw—following the trajectory of neighboring Williamsburg and in anticipation of developer-friendly changes in zoning law— the encroachment of new residential buildings onto abandoned and polluted industrial areas and the construction of luxury high rises along the decrepit waterfront. Together, these three Greenpoint images present a picture of life in an area many of whose residents were being driven out by rising rental prices and a middle-class influx, with no way of expanding past the East River which lines its western border.
Martha Rosler’s work, in video, photography, text, installation and performance, often addresses matters of the public sphere. She has explored issues from everyday life and the media to architecture, war and the surveillance state, especially as they affect women. Rosler has published 17 books of photographs, texts and commentary on public space. Her book Culture Class (2013) explores the role of artists in gentrification. She received the Spectrum International Prize in Photography in 2005 and the Guggenheim Museum Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010, among many other awards.
b. 1986, Columbia, SC
Lives and works in Brooklyn, NY
Jacolby Satterwhite’s UV pigment print Room for Demoiselle Two (2019) presents an eccentric amalgamation of a tiled bathhouse and a strobing dancehall. Phallic vessels sit within this space, containing fuchsia figures posed in the composition of Pablo Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907). The environment is loosely inspired by the artist’s late mother’s drawings of utilitarian and absurdist interventions specifically products she invented around the theme of cleansing, with three handwritten notes proposing new forms of bathtubs.
In the 2-channel Birds in Paradise (2019), the artist is baptized in the ocean by a woman who has taken the role of the Nigerian water deity, Mami Wata, while the artist’s mother’s voice croons, “born to be free.” The counter channel explores a burnt orange hued digital stadium populated by bopping avatars. A winged horse flies overhead, throwing a projection of the ocean scene from the coinciding channel. In both artworks, the artist presents worlds undergoing renaissance where water is the catalyst, reflecting on the ways in which cleansing can represent rebirth.
Satterwhite is celebrated for a conceptual practice addressing crucial themes of labor, consumption, carnality and fantasy through immersive installation, virtual reality and digital media. For over a decade, the artist has used 3D animation, sculpture, performance, painting and photography to create fantastical, labyrinthine universes. His continued exploration of themes around public space, the body, ritual and allegory is furthered through referential elements that range from Italian Baroque painting and Modernism to 90s video games and artworks by his late mother Patricia.
b. November 5, 1928, Borownica, Poland
d. March 25, 2017, Seven Hills, Ohio
In Twist and the Rain, Gray (1975), Julian Stanczak summons the ubiquitous and visceral experience of precipitation, calling to mind perhaps the pitter patter of rainfall on a windshield or the dampness of the misty air between droplets. A dynamic and masterful interplay of light and color, the artist’s work translates the force and potential of nature into a universal impression.
Stanczak asks his viewer to question their perceived differences and find solace in a common lived experience. This vision reflects the artist’s personal journey, particularly the diverse places he has lived. Stanczak was born in Poland in 1928 and, after fleeing extreme conditions in Siberia, found asylum in a Polish refugee camp in Uganda in the late 1940s. Incredibly methodical, Stanczak worked alone on his canvases without the aid of preliminary sketches, relying solely on his own vision of a finished work. His canvases were created through a complex process of tape masks in which colors were systematically added and unveiled in layers.