Hionas Gallery is pleased to present Jason Covert’s THE BRIDGE (exploring the space between generations of the same family). The solo exhibition, Covert’s second in NYC, will run from November 1-24, and include an artist talk on Friday, November 16, co-hosted by Cole Thompson, author and local historian, and Ryan Carey, Curatorial Consultant for the Museum of the City of New York.
In 2004 Jason Covert was approached by his mother and handed a small leather case, worn but sturdy, containing dozens of antique glass negatives, taken by the artist’s great-great-grandfather, Robert Veitch. Veitch operated a grocery store in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan, and on the side produced and sold photographic post cards, a trade both niche and lucrative in the latter part of the 19th century. Covert was instantly taken aback; not just by the uniqueness of these negatives, but by the fact that he was being handed a never-before-seen (outside of a few family members) chronicle of New York City history, and one that just happened to double as a 100+ year-old family album. “Maybe you can do something with this,” Covert’s mother remarked.
THE BRIDGE is comprised of 20 photographs in all: ten by Veitch, carefully chosen by Covert (several being printed for the very first time) and presented in period-accurate frames, and ten original complementary works by Covert.
The old adage that history repeats itself is as poignant as it is debatable. But what happens when an ancestor forces history’s hand and forges this repetition himself? The results in this case are both haunting and darkly humorous, and by taking certain liberties with contemporary technology, ironically autobiographical. In one of Veitch’s photos, eight family members—infant to elder—hold position in a parlor, each set of eyes looking off to the side, begging viewers to wonder just what other than Veitch’s camera could capture such attention. Covert, in turn, has gathered various family members, as well as multiple incarnations of himself, to pose in similar fashion for a present-day parlor shot. What began as a simple (presumably) documenting of family history has culminated, over a century later, into something resembling ritual-meets-science fiction.
Covert does not shy from placing himself in the middle of it all, or off to the side, or in the shadows. He is scripting a new chapter in his family’s genealogy. Perusing another’s family photo album can be such a bore; this one will do anything but, inviting viewers to unravel each image, create new juxtapositions at each turn, and solve the mystery that is THE BRIDGE.
There will be an opening reception for THE BRIDGE on Thursday, November 1, from 6:00 to 9:00 PM. An artist talk will follow on Friday, November 16, beginning at 6:30 PM. The artist will be present on both evenings.
About the Artist: Jason Covert (b. 1974) was born and raised on the peninsula known as Cape Cod, between a harbor and a marsh. Following his graduation from Connecticut College, Covert deployed himself unto the world at large, living in Boston, San Francisco, Tasmania and Portugal, all before settling in New York in 2000. Since such time the artist has exhibited at the 2012 SCOPE Art Fair, New York; Museum of Russian Art, Jersey City; ArtBridge, New York; Lu Magnus Gallery, New York; and Design Within Reach, Brooklyn, among many others. In 2010 Covert held his first solo exhibition, entitled Carnivora, at +aRT in Chelsea. He is a former Artist in Residence with the non-profit chashama and recipient of the organization’s Visual Arts Studio Award. Most recently Covert sat on the 2011-12 artistic planning committee for Times Square POP. He lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.