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John Houck: To Understand Photography, You Must First Understand Photography

59 Franklin Street, 646-559-1423
Tribeca / Downtown
June 28 - August 4, 2012
Reception: Thursday, June 28, 6 - 9 PM
Web Site

KANSAS is pleased to present To Understand Photography, You Must First Understand Photography, a solo exhibition of new work by John Houck. Opening June 28, the works will be on view through August 4, 2012.

John Houck’s work explores how desire functions in a world that is exponentially filled with highly repetitive technical drives. As the philosopher Bernard Stiegler points out, “new technologies have brought about a fall in desire – or the life-affirming aspect of our libido – that corresponds to a reorganization of our energy into purely ‘mechanic’ drives.” Starting with 3D modeling and custom written software, Houck attempts to reclaim desire by complementing digital procedures with tactile and material interventions.

In the Aggregates series, Houck uses his own custom written software, to generate every possible combination of a given grid system, (2×2 grid + 15 colors = 50,6025 combinations) and prints it as a contact sheet on photographic paper. These contact sheets are creased and re-photographed several times. The process creates layered borders that reveal the construction of each piece and adds its own layer of information, breaking the rigid system of the grid. By physically creasing and re-photographing these contact sheets, Houck reconciles the digital ground of photography and shows us the failures and ruptures in today’s algorithmic basis of photography.

The Echelon cyantoypes juxtapose the latest scopic regime of 3D-modeling software with one of the earliest forms of photographic printing. Technology allows the architecture of cathedrals, once only viewed from the ground looking up, to be viewed in an inverse way, from the air looking down. In architecture, this view from the air looking down at an object is also known as a God’s-eye-view, but is now accessible to anyone who has a computer or a helicopter. Houck appropriates 3D models of cathedrals from the Internet, drawn by hobbyists from around the world, and uses 3D software to render them twice, once with perspective and once without perspective (axonometrically). The overlapping views are then combined and contact printed on watercolor paper with cyanotype emulsion.

The works in this exhibition use repetition to reclaim desire and cultivate consideration. It is work that is systematic in its approach, but in opening to desire and intuition, results in a lopsided system that doesn’t simply repeat ad infinitum.

John Houck (b. 1977, Pine Ridge, SD) lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. He received a MFA from UCLA, Los Angeles, CA and BA in Architecture from CU, Boulder, CO. He has studied at the Whitney Independent Study Program and Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. He has exhibited extensively, at venues including The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; The Kitchen, New York, NY; REVERSEVENT, Los Angeles, CA; Orange County Museum of Art, CA; San Jose Museum of Art, CA; Centre Pompidou, Paris, FR and Franklin Art Works, Minneapolis, MN. He has been included in group exhibitions at: Mallorca Landings, Palma de Mallorca, ES; On Stellar Rays, New York, NY; Invisible-Exports, New York, NY; Higher Pictures, New York, NY; Luis de Jesus, Los Angeles, CA; Tony Wight Gallery, Chicago, IL; Kate Werble Gallery, New York, NY and Regina Rex, Queens, NY.

This is John Houck’s New York solo debut, in conjunction with Bill Brady/KC.

For more information, please contact Steven Stewart at KANSAS by calling +1 (646) 559-1423 or emailing [email protected]
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