Rachel Uffner Gallery is pleased to present a new series of photographic prints by Barb Choit. In this, her first solo gallery show in New York, Choit explores the effects of photochemical processes on found objects. Taking her inspiration from Dennis Oppenheim’s 1970 work, Reading Position for a Second Degree Burn – in which the artist captured his own body’s painful imprinting by the sun’s UV rays – Choit documents the impact of beauty salon materials and apparatuses – chiefly, UV-light-emitting tanning beds – not upon the body, but upon Patrick Nagel’s iconic 1980’s fine art posters.
Choit purchases Nagel prints online, fades them using a tanning bed, lamps, or bleach to varying, time-controlled degrees, and then documents the results. Enacting a readymade photographic method that is independent of a camera, a dark room, or digital imaging, the artist accelerates the conditions – simultaneously creative and destructive – that are inherent to the aesthetic domain, where all objects are, gradually, destroyed by the very light that makes them visible.
The conceptual focus of Choit’s practice does not negate its comical, harebrained perversity, nor does it cancel out its poignancy. The melancholy that is part and parcel of the conditions of creating and displaying art is especially affecting in the case of Nagel’s prints, which exist in our culture’s collective imagination as always already washed-out – relics hanging on the walls of niche-venues such as mani-pedi parlors and beauty spas. Indeed, Nagel’s oeuvre hovers in that precarious interstice between art and the everyday – a location often disregarded, forgotten, faded. Even his Robert Palmeresque glamazons, it appears, for all their wasp-waisted, vixenish powers, aren’t exempt from the wear and tear that is inevitably encountered in our world, by objects and people alike.
In December, the gallery will host a performance in the form of a lecture by artist Andrea Merkx. The event will showcase Merkx’s collection of MIDI format reproductions of Duran Duran’s 1982 song, Rio, which is included on an album whose cover famously features a Nagel print.
Choit’s work will be featured this December as part of Art Basel Miami Beach. More information about this upcoming project can be found at racheluffnergallery.com under Future Exhibitions.
Barb Choit was born in Vancouver, Canada, and lives and works in Brooklyn. She received an MFA from California Institute of the Arts, and an MA in Modern Art and Curatorial Studies from Columbia University. She has exhibited extensively at venues including Asia Song Society, NY, Redling Fine Art, LA, China Art Objects, LA, the Swiss Institute, NY, and Blanket Contemporary Art, Vancouver.