Artists: Jonathan Berger, Takeshi Murata and Thomas Palme
Three addresses issues of physical and psychological rigor (and eventual possibility) in new art.
Using sculpture, drawing and architecture, Jonathan Berger produces memorable installations, charged with humanism, that invite experiences rich with potential for transformation. In the large exhibition space, the viewer is surrounded by a dozen or so hand-made models of windowless buildings. Made of whittled-down sticks and colored with milk paint, these structures are based on abandoned port buildings in harsh coastal settings. They seem to be in various stages of dilapidation, as though their roofs had collapsed or something had fallen through them. Once functional, their time is now up. Or perhaps they could be used for something else. This moment of opportunity, this transient state and the feeling in people that results from the in-betweeness of things, is what Berger is after. Here, the emotional response to a building in transition is a metaphor for the possibilities for transformation that exist for all of us when confronted with “a chance”. Berger will also show a new diorama based on makeshift scaffolding that conjures feelings of loss and transition. Scaffolding becomes a signifier for opportunity—for change about to take place. Berger has shown in Los Angeles, Philadelphia and New York.
For Three, Takeshi Murata presents a video work in which he meticulously alters every single frame of the appropriated video footage used for this 4 minute piece. Riding the line hard between figuration and abstraction,Monster Movie, 2005, transforms a few seconds of B-movie footage into a panoply of digital marks, gestures and colorful distortions enveloping a hairy beast whose once threatening carriage has been reduced to a comical break-dance. Nothing in Murata’s videos is a happy accident or left to chance. Like American painters of the 50’s who began this conversation about representation’s dance with abstraction, Murata is culling new meaning from existing images by digitally “tearing-up” pre-existing cinematic narratives. The haunting result is trippy and measured, confident and curious. The video is set to music created by Plate Tectonics. Murata has shown in San Francisco, Tokyo, Oslo and New York.
Thomas Palme draws with both his left and right hands simultaneously. With disquieting confidence, he produces thousands of portraits, abstractions, poems and one-liners; few of these works ever make it into the world. 21 are included in this exhibition. Palme uses up to 16 shades of gray pencil to further inform a single drawing that often includes text scribbled purposefully, ambulating between matter-of-fact and frightening. His subjects include history, current events, personal mythology, fashion and the natural world. A little boy with a giant razor blade in his shoulder standing next to a tiny cross-bearing chicken, text that reads, “THE DRAGON SPEAKS, THE DRAGON LIES, Marianne Moore in Cannes”, surrounding a portrait of a woman in a hat, and these incredible figures reminiscent of Schiele and Rainer, floating against spare grounds that are embellished with crosses, scribbles, hatch marks and text. A voracious reader, Palme seems to make art that’s automatist and compulsive. His books, “The Brick” and “The Grip” (Darling Publications, Cologne 2004 and 2005 respectively) feature over 4,500 examples of his work. Weighing-in at thirteen pounds, the tomes suggest something altogether different; Palme’s art uses a consistent vocabulary to make the best sense possible of the big mess that’s become our contemporary identity. Palme has shown in Brussels, Cologne, Vienna, New York and Munich.