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Weekend Without Makeup


PS122 Gallery
150 First Avenue, 212 288 4249
East Village / Lower East Side
September 15 - October 7, 2007
Reception: Saturday, September 15, 5 - 7 PM
Web Site

Jesse Finley Reed Joseph Maida Kevin McCarty Jonathan VanDyke

curated by Jeffrey Walkowiak

Weekend Without Makeup brings together a group of artists whose work approaches the notion of representation with a queer sensibility. Through diverse practices these artists acknowledge our current moment of obsession with the way we see others and ourselves. Mainstream culture’s preoccupation with looking and being looked at has created a visual climate that feeds expectations, insecurities, self-deprecation and longing. The artists in Weekend Without Makeup are akin through their mutual attitude towards this atmosphere and their attempt to suggest a more humble and revealing representation of the individual.

Kevin McCarty’s photographic series No Pic No Pvt deals with the construction of identity within the realm of an on-line public. The images incorporate the forum of the computer screen where chat room visitors use a carefully selected language to describe themselves and their sexual desires. Within these images McCarty also reveals the mechanics of digital communication by incorporating the computer screen itself, the structure of the site, pop-up windows, interface graphics, etc. In doing so he de-familiarizes the viewer from the common computer experience and shifts the focus to show the lengths the users go to make themselves desirable to others.

Also working with the medium of photography Jesse Finely Reed explores ideas surrounding transformation through temporal materials, including lighting, makeup, and decoration. His images illustrate how these materials can transform bodies and spaces into something strange or uncanny. If you’re lonely… is an ongoing series of backlight portraits of men. The bodies depicted in these images emerge into darkness blending together into a repetition of stylistic structures, light and size. But upon closer inspection individual physical qualities begin to crystallize and differentiate themselves from the others.

Joseph Maida’s series amailstripper4u documents the artist’s relationship with a man who performs and sells recorded strip teases on-line. The artist acquired a number of these videos and composed an awkward and revealing portrait of the performer. Although the intent of the performances is to fulfill another’s fantasy, the performer satiates his own. A variety of cliché acts of exhibitionism performed in an ambiguous domestic setting provides the subject of amailstripper4u the opportunity to exercise his power, vulnerability and anonymity.

Jonathan VanDyke’s sculpture and installation are constructed from a variety of media and have multiple components that cause them to be self-conscious in their presentation. Informed by queer identity his work describes fluidity and circumscribes ambiguity. FROM FRONT TO BACK, FROM SIDE TO SIDE, FROM YOUR TOP TO YOUR BOTTOM is a walnut shelving unit that displays a series of uniform vessels. This collection of seemingly similar objects transforms into an audience of distinct individuals that demand the viewers’ recognition of their differences.

Jeffrey Walkowiak is Co-Director of Sara Meltzer Gallery who also writes and curates independently. Curatorial projects include: Ceci N’est Pas, Sara Meltzer Gallery, NY; Prevailing Climate, Sara Meltzer Gallery, NY; Alain Levitt & Danielle Levitt, The Gallery at the SoHo Grand Hotel,NY; Video 2005, Art in General, New York; Salad Days, Artists Space, New York; Video (Por)Traits, Art in General, New York and others. Recently he has been a visiting critic at Art Omi International Residency Program, Pratt Institute, the School of Visual Art, and MIT. He will juror Open Studio at ArtSpace in New Haven, CT. He holds a Masters degree from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College.
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