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Bryan Zanisnik: Brass Arms Upper Eyelid


Horton Gallery
504 West 22nd Street, 212.243.2663
January 13 - February 19, 2011
Reception: Thursday, January 13, 6 - 8 PM
Web Site

Horton Gallery is pleased to announce Brass Arms Upper Eyelid, its second solo exhibition by Brooklyn-based artist Bryan Zanisnik. Featuring a new photographic series and a video, these works constitute a meditation on the materiality of American culture, the trial of masculinity, and the perversions of memory.

In the photographs, hoarded treasures and talismans from the artist’s personal memorabilia are combined with an assortment of cast-off family relics, junk-shop detritus, found media, and mass-produced consumer goods to create sculptural assemblages suggesting museum displays, workshops, reliquaries, or shrines. Shifting in scale from fussy ‘desktop’ spaces to full-size rooms, these flattened, affectless tableaus appear to have been aggressively purged of motion, personality, or sentiment, but each one points to a phantom universe where degraded, disposable mass culture meets authentic longing and desire. In Forgot What I Came Back Here For, an abstracted space vaguely suggesting a 1970s recreation room is disturbed by a meteorite made out of road tar and melted toy cars. In Off Season, we find ourselves face to face with a collection of Hallmark cards signed “Love Mom and Dad” atop of portraits of Zanisnik’s childhood idol Larry Bird. Juxtaposed with this memo rabilia is an assemblage of white bread indented with the artist’s thumbprints, suggesting a tension between inaccessible boyhood fantasies and repetitive bodily or mechanical activities.

In Repetition Compulsion, a five-minute video, the psychological journey plays out in a series of six acts, each one set in a different room in Zanisnik’s childhood home. These enigmatic and harrowing encounters between Zanisnik and his father, who both appear on camera, revisit fraught autobiographical terrain and allude to Freud’s famous “Fort-Da” game, in which a child first learns to exert control over his world by throwing and retrieving a token symbolically standing for his father. In Zanisnik’s video it is the artist’s father who initiates this fragile, sacrificial ritual by his irresistible and insatiable command towards his son – “Gone!”

In conjunction with the exhibition, a live performance will take place at Horton Gallery on Saturday, February 5, from 4:00pm – 6:00pm.

Bryan Zanisnik (b. 1979 Union, NJ) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. He received a MFA from Hunter College, attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and is currently an artist-in-residence at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace Program. He has recently performed and exhibited in New York at PS1/MoMA and Artists Space; and in Chicago at the Museum of Contemporary Photography. Concurrent with his exhibition at Horton Gallery, Zanisnik’s work will be included in exhibitions at the De La Cruz Collection, Miami, FL; and the Leubsdorf Art Gallery at Hunter College, New York, NY.
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