Horton Gallery, Chelsea is pleased to present Monkey Wrench, a group show featuring works by Michael Berryhill, Stacy Fisher, Hilary Harnischfeger, Sally Ross, Kate Steciw and Wallace Whitney.
As the colloquial “monkey wrench” disrupts our expectations when it is thrown, the artists in this exhibition skew and recast traditional techniques of representation. By complicating modes of image-making as well as categories of artistic media, these artists build layers of visual complexity within their work.
In paintings by Wallace Whitney and Michael Berryhill specific objects and impressions begin to emerge but never fully resolve or materialize. This effect calls attention to the viewer’s inclination to find sources from reality in painted images, which they may or may not ultimately find in this work. Similarly, Sally Ross depicts objects and scenes from an observed reality while her cropping and coloration veers the visual reading of her work towards abstract shapes and patterns. Such techniques as these cause the viewer’s attention to linger as they attempt to discern specific renderings from intuitive mark-making.
Confounding the separation between artistic media, Kate Steciw digitally obscures photographs to create painterly abstractions, while Stacy Fisher and Hilary Harnischfeger’s gestural works straddle the line between sculpture and painting. Steciw uses Photoshop Plug-Ins to distort images of sex acts, once explicitly visible, evoking obscuration and censorship in the Digital Age. With interest more in a formal exploration of the dynamic zones between artistic categories, Fisher uses mixed-media to create curious sculptural works that are not safely situated in realm of wall-paintings nor autonomous art objects, much like the critical Minimal Art of the 1960’s. Likewise, Harnischfeger’s wall-reliefs seem to simultaneously illusionistically depict and physically embody spatial depth.
Creating results of irony, surprise and ambiguity, the artists in Monkey Wrench challenge conventional assumptions of pictorial and sculptural representation.