well you’re my friend (it’s what you told me) and can you see (what’s inside of me) many times we’ve been out drinking and many times we’ve shared our thoughts but did you ever, ever notice the kind of thoughts I got well you know I have a love a love for everyone I know and you know I have a drive to live I won’t let go but can you see its opposition comes a-rising up sometimes that it’s dreadful and position comes blacking in my mind
and that I see a darkness and that I see a darkness and that I see a darkness and that I see a darkness and did you know how much I love you is a hope that somehow you you can save me from this darkness_
From I See a Darkness, Bonny ‘Prince’ Billy
STOREFRONT is pleased to present DUNKLE WOLKE: an exhibition curated by William Powhida featuring the work of Ellie Ga, David McBride, Bjoern Meyer Ebrecht, Jenny Vogel, and Bill Abdale. Opening reception, June 3 from 6-9PM. Exhibition continues through June 26. For more information visit: www.storefrontbk.com.
The artists in Dunkle Wolke are people I consider to be friends, or at least people I’ve shared a drink and a discussion about art with. They are artists who also have some experience with darkness in all its forms from the purely formal to the emotional weight of loneliness. They talk about darkness as a condition of their environment, history, politics, a color, or personal relationships that often takes on the form of what Bjoern Meyer-Ebrecht describes as an ‘ominous shape’. For me, the ominous shape is an expression of anxiety about the production of art and a search for meaning in an often chaotic world where historical narratives break down into reality without the authority of history and moral intention. Through the process of putting reality into a narrative, we attempt give it meaning making it a contentious site to be written and unwritten giving rise to a tension between form and language.
These tensions between reality and history, language and form are present in the works of the artists, all of whom I think about when I consider art’s relationship to the authority of history and its certainty of intention, which I do not share. Bill Abdale’s series of large-scale charcoal drawings examine the surfaces of the books he has read including Dosteyevsky’s meditation on morality “Crime and Punishment”. Through the process of reproduction, Bill traces what has been lost, scarred, and destroyed through use and interpretation. Ellie Ga’s performance, “Catalog of the Lost”, seeks to rediscover what has been presumed to be lost to history by exploring the fate of an arctic expedition. Her photographs in the show, “Fissures” are beautiful documents of her own 5 month arctic expedition, which was as much as an inward exploration as it was of the environment her ship became literally frozen in. David McBride’s dark paintings of grottos and sunsets contrast starkly with his own abstract forms, painstakingly rendered with subtle corruptions of color and registration. The tensions between the precision of his CMK process and touch create an anxious state that is mirrored in the curious relationship between representation and abstraction in his paintings. They share an uneasy co-existence that also marks Bjoern Meyer-Ebrechts sculptures and re-assembled books. The relationship between Modernist theory, represented by soft cover textbooks, and their abstract supports is uncertain, undermining the authority of both. This textual cityscape is also paired with black hard-cover books Bjoern has reshaped into angular, winged forms that imply another kind of horizon in space, echoing the tension between flatness and depth in all the artists’ pictoral space. Jenny Vogel’s video of a slowly spinning meteorite perhaps encapsulates these tensions, as the alien form threatens to invade the world, scrapping against the surface of the screen. It may also be the ultimate ominous shape, a truly free-floating darkness that rises up in opposition.
All of the works are equivocal representations of time, distance, and space with unfixed beginnings and end points that remain ominously close to darkness and the ambiguity of vision. They question our certainty about history, but they don’t give in to chaos. They are rescued by beauty, maybe even love without sentimentality, a love for process and possibility that art can provide some meaning and relief to the anxiety of living. Even I have to believe that sometimes.