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Jorge Queiroz & Ryan Johnson

Sikkema Jenkins & Co.
530 West 22nd Street, 212-929-2262
October 21 - December 4, 2010
Reception: Thursday, October 21, 6 - 8 PM
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Sikkema Jenkins & Co is pleased to present an exhibition of new drawings and paintings by Jorge Queiroz in his debut solo show with the gallery, on view from October 21 through December 4, 2010.

Employing a wide range of techniques including pencil, charcoal, oil stick, gouache, Japanese ink, and oil paint; Queiroz creates works that explores the inventory of tensions between reality and imagination/ figuration and abstraction. The conflation of disjointed but harmoniously composed elements suggests a mysterious and enigmatic world in which narratives are hinted at but never fully resolved. This undefined narrative can be observed both within individual pieces as well as traced throughout the entire body of work. As the artist states, “…the perception of one work affects the reception of the next one. Something perceived as an abstract structure or a fictional scene is altered by a flow of mental images, one melting into the other, from one work to the next. The observer is guided by an imaginative perception and by his own hypothesis about what he has just seen. The exhibition space is like a dynamic stage, on which each work stands for itself and creates relations with other works. This context allows the observer to store ideas and instigates the multiplication of these ideas, imaginary spaces and forms.”

Jorge Queiroz was born in Lisbon in 1966 and currently lives and works in Berlin. He studied at the Centro de Arte e Comunicação Visual in Lisbon and completed his MFA at the School of Visual Arts in New York. Queiroz recently had a major solo exhibition at Museu Serralves, Porto (2007); other solo shows include Galeria Helga de Alvear, Madrid (2009); Thomas Dane Gallery, London (2008); Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris (2007); Horst-Janssen Museum, Oldenburg (2006); Studio Guenzani, Milan (2004); and Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin (2004). He exhibited in the 4th Berlin Biennale 2006; the 26th Saó Paulo Biennial (2004); and Venice Biennale (2003). Residencies include Recollets, Paris (2007) and Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin (2004). Concurrent with Jorge Queiroz’s show, the gallery will present Ryan Johnson’s exhibition Description of a Struggle, which takes its title from the Kafka short story of the same name. The use of this title is intended to reflect the sequence of contradictions at play in this group of objects that attempt to cohabitate the tensions between sculpture, photography, and painting.

Spread across both rooms of Gallery 2, large totemic constructions placed on an expanse of artificial blue carpet create the initial impression of an absurdist playground comprised of suspended shapes, arcing limbs and brightly colored forms wearing shoes. Here, pictorial devices are staged within and against three-dimensional form, playfully drawing out space from flatness and compressing actual dimensionality.

Johnson’s use of medical casting tape – the same material that doctors use to wrap broken limbs – accentuates the stillness of the sculptures as it is a product explicitly designed to arrest movement. Other materials on display include paper, wood, acrylic paint, stainless steel, readymade shoes, and rebar. In several works, the Futurist’s idea of “absolute motion” comes into play as ‘time’ itself seems to be treated like a physical material. An example of this is a sculpture titled Ancestors, which consists of a twelve-foot tall tripod-like figure with an outstretched limb that suspends a mobile. Visible on two of the circles in the mobile are images of a recently discovered baby mammoth paired with a photograph of an adult elephant from Eadweard Muybridge’s motion studies. One shows an immobile specimen petrified for 40,000 years in river silt while the other depicts the fixed instant of 2/1000ths of a second created by exposing a light-sensitive plate to an elephant in motion. Both appear to be walking, frozen in near identical ‘poses’ mid-stride.

Another work, titled Occident, highlights the ‘silence’ and stillness that sculpture and photography often share. In this piece, Muybridge’s famous photograph of a racehorse galloping at full speed is characterized as an oversized hobby-horse housed in an emphatically stationary figure. Although seemingly straightforward, Johnson’s painted constructions are difficult to pin down as they inhabit a paradoxical space, a hybrid of illusion and materiality.
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