FIXED VARIABLE Opens 27 June at Hauser & Wirth
Beginning 26 June 2014, Hauser & Wirth New York is pleased to present Fixed Variable, a group exhibition featuring works by Lucas Blalock, Ethan Greenbaum, John Houck, Matt Keegan, Josh Kolbo, Kate Steciw, Chris Wiley, and Letha Wilson. Through works by these eight artists, the show explores the tension between the photograph and the object in light of the new and complex ways that we experience images in contemporary visual culture: mediated by the computer, corrupted by Photoshop, unnoticed and ingrained in the urban landscape. Through process and play, the artists in Fixed Variable confront the reductive definition of the photograph as a truth-telling, two-dimensional document. The image is intervened with and acted upon, be it with Photoshop, poured concrete, or a simple crease.
Fixed Variable will remain on view through 25 July at Hauser & Wirth's downtown space at 511 West 18th Street.
For Lucas Blalock, the photograph is something that you 'look through'. Blalock uses a large format camera to photograph deceptively simple, mundane still-lifes and environments. His subsequent Photoshop distortions unfold subtly, confronting the viewer with their unreality often through repeated close viewings. The resulting photograph is a white lie, a false image nominally but fundamentally true to the original in much the same way a Cubist portrait is to its subject.
Ethan Greenbaum photographs painterly and poetic moments on the New York street, from its constituent asphalt to graffiti-ed basement trapdoors, producing images that act as personal landmarks on a map of his neighborhood. Greenbaum prints on vacuum formed plastic that is molded around gypsum ceiling tiles. Recognizable from classrooms and government buildings, that material is soft enough to allow the artist to make gestural markings in its surface. The resulting artwork juxtaposes sculpture, photography, and painting in a holistic portrait of what is overhead and underfoot.
John Houck's self-authored software program allows him to combine any number of colors on a given grid system. The resulting index sheet consists of hundreds of thousands of tiny colored grids, each with a different color combination. Houck folds the print, allowing the crease to intervene with the cold, rational framework - a human gesture in a field of computed data. He then photographs the result, reprints and repeats. Each layer invites a new error and disturbs the visual logic of the pixelated picture plane.
Matt Keegan works in sculpture, screenprint, and text, but photography is the constant referent at the root of his practice. Using stock imagery and his own photographs, he explores our relationship to iconographic systems, such as language, art historical symbols, and common idioms. Keegan explores how photography's lexicon can be layered and juxtaposed to create new visual phrasings.