Elizabeth Dee is pleased to present Extraction, an exhibition of new collages, sculpture and wall installations by Meredyth Sparks, her second solo-show at the gallery.
Using the documentary photographs of her previous collages as a foundation, pieces that often incorporated images of musical and political figures from the 1970s and 1980s, Sparks introduces a new series of works on paper and stretched canvases in which the figure has largely disappeared. In the absence of these icons, extracted fragments and sections of collage material are imbued with a new and evocative signification, alongside the scanned aluminum foil and piles of glitter that have become Sparks’ signature gesture. Reconfigured, the compositions function as residual imprints upon which Sparks has placed post-it notes, woodcuts and stitched fabric. The resulting collages and paintings, for which she has coined the neologism extractions, intimate the historical avant-garde and the gender-based innovations of the Pattern and Decoration movement, among others.
In several works, the figure re-enters through abstract, fabric forms, including both cut-out templates and cut-away pieces taken from clothing patterns. One colored acetate sculpture gathers all the components needed to make an entire outfit of clothing, while other fabric patterns include vinyl stencils derived from a Kasimir Malevich painting that Sparks has previously integrated into her collages and wall interventions. A life-size wall-piece presents an image of two women applying this vinyl pattern for Sparks’ recent exhibition in Cologne (Projects in Art and Theory, 2009), providing another reminder of the labor-based preoccupations that function as a primary theme throughout the exhibition.
A three-paneled plywood structure, Untitled (2010), invokes a book, annotated and indexed, and serves to house a collection of mnemonic images, post-it notes and a video projected on its surface. The video captures the sunrise and sunset in Sparks’ studio as light is cast over two photographs depicting found graffiti. While one line of graffiti proclaims “you cant erase history,” the other, taken three months later of the same tag, is provocatively amended to read, “u can erase history.” This dialectic—the desire to gain footing against time’s inevitable passing—throws light on the delicate balance struck throughout Sparks’ practice, where temporality and the aesthetic are under constant negotiation.
In addition to her 2008 solo exhibition at Elizabeth Dee, Sparks’ work was featured in the two person exhibition Meredyth Sparks & Richard Aldrich that the gallery presented in 2007. Recent exhibitions include her 2009 solo shows at Projects in Art and Theory, Cologne, Galerie Catherine Bastide, Brussels and Galerie Frank Elbaz, Paris. Sparks’ first monograph, with essays by Nicolas Bourriaud and Robert Hobbs, was published by Monografik Éditions in 2009.