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A Walk in the Park

Sculpture Center
44 Purves Street, 718-361-1750
Long Island City
September 10 - November 27, 2005
Reception: Saturday, September 10, 4 - 6 PM
Web Site

An exhibition of photographs and sculpture by four artists, where nature intersects with the man-made. The landscapes in A Walk in the Park emerge from a love of the natural, no matter how confused it is with the artificial. The exhibition presents a breezy place of quiet contemplation: enjoy the greenery, and don’t worry about what is real and what is not.

Part photograph and part sculpture, Matt Keegan’s Untitled (Light Leak #1) (2005) presents a ray of sunshine that pierces through the gallery’s sheetrock wall. In this work, representation merges with composition, as the romantic photograph of the sun shining down through forest trees mimics the physical photograph itself, set behind the drywall’s surface. Combining a spiritual moment with a destructive one, a photographic gesture with a sculptural one, and a place where nature rules within a place where walls keep nature out, the artist constructs a world of opposites where a torn-away gallery wall can still allow for magic, transcendence, and beauty.

Reka Reisinger also positions the man-made within the natural world – or vice-versa – in her photographs of real and artificial landscapes. In Untitled (Minnewaska) (2004), a dramatic image of a gorgeous riverbank, she places a life-sized cardboard cut-out of herself posing for the photograph. For Untitled (Natural History Museum) (2002), the same cut-out is seen only in dark silhouette, standing in front of a diorama in the Natural History Museum. Doubly present as the photographer and the photographed, the artist – and her represented twin – uses the schizophrenic and sometimes indistinguishable relationship between the real and fake to explore the logic of image-making.

James Yamada works in a wide range of media. In an ongoing series of photographs, he arranges objects outdoors to form still lives in the natural landscape. An appropriation of painting’s still-life genre and a formal sculptural arrangement of physical shapes, these photographs also incorporate the passage of time: live animals appear in the images – birds in Propane Reflection (2005) and ants in Blue and White Balls (2005) – and erase distinctions between photography’s capture of a static image and that of a fleeting moment. Viewers become passersby, witnesses of a time when nature’s wildness is synchronized, for an instant, with man-made composition.

With his sculptural installation of mylar mobiles, If today was perfect, there would be no need for tomorrow (Part 2) (2005), Michael Phelan references art history, neo-spirituality, and bad public art as part of his ongoing endeavor to remodel the contemporary American landscape. Phelan explores Manifest Destiny and its relationship to mass-market products and foreign manufacturing – a relationship that is mimicked in the artist’s own production process. While typically meant to seamlessly blend into our domestic interiors or landscape designs, Phelan’s objects slip between the decorative and the functional and become isolated figures of an idealized world where nature and artifice and the real and the unreal stop being contradictions.
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