In ‘Harry and Pete’, Todd Bourret and Brian O’Connell come together under three familiar constraints – space, time, and budget ¬– to produce a body of collaborative work that explores the nature of dialog, debate, support, and influence. Limiting themselves to an established materials list, Bourret and O’Connell will use the DAC gallery as a studio in the week preceding the opening.
Through a material back-and-forth, Bourret and O’Connell employ their mutual interest in the manipulation of indexes to suggest further generative possibilities. Both artists use indexical procedures (e.g. photographic processes, prints, stencils, molds, etc.) to make effects of the past present. In making, recording, and displaying residues, their work provokes both memories of and projections into pasts as viewing becomes an act of reconstruction. In ‘Harry and Pete,’ an expanding series of works traces material and conceptual transformations that reflect both deliberate responses as well as chance effects.
To begin their conversation, O’Connell will capture the pattern of light entering the gallery through the window on a photosensitive canvas. The shapes of this image will become the basis for a group of monochrome ‘embossed paintings’ by Bourret that play with the exasperating experience of a painter who inadvertently exposes the otherwise invisible ‘structural support’ of the canvas – the stretcher.
After this initial exchange, which reflects aspects of their own practices, Bourret and O’Connell will use the remainder of their materials (e.g. plywood, canvas, paint, concrete, etc.) in further two- and three-dimensional works. As an example, they use the shapes removed from Bourret’s supports as molds for sculptural forms so that the negative structure of one group of work determines the positive form of the next.
As the available materials diminish, how one piece materially determines the possibilities for the next becomes increasingly acute, forcing provocations and responses. Problems are created and solutions proffered. Ultimately, even the work-table used for ‘Harry and Pete’ is cannibalized.
The title of show refers to the relationship between artists Harry Holtzman and Piet Mondrian.