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‘Til I Die

Spencer Brownstone Gallery (39 Wooster)
39 Wooster Street, 212-334-3455
July 12 - August 18, 2007
Reception: Thursday, July 12, 6 - 8 PM
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Skip Arnold * Patricia Bucher * Ian Burns * Growing * Valerie Hegarty Marie Lorenz * Tod Seelie/Miss Rockaway Armada * Kristin Oppenheim Graham Parker * Tara Sinn * Walker & Walker

Spencer Brownstone Gallery gets all lost at sea this summer with our group show `Til I Die. Titled after Brian Wilson’s ocean-themed ode to physical and mental dissolution, the exhibition seeks to explore some of the complex and often fragmentary ways in which the sea persists as motif and metaphor in the work of a range of international artists.

`Til I Die will feature work by artists who have literally taken to the seas, often constructing their own craft: including documentation of Skip Arnold’s reckless row boat mission into the Bermuda Triangle (he lived to tell the tale); Patricia Bucher’s drawings of subverted nautical motifs, inspired by six weeks spent on a freighter; a selection of images from Marie Lorenz’s `Tide and Current Taxi’ project, which offers New Yorker’s an alternative commute to work courtesy of her own handmade small boats; and Tod Seelie’s photographs of The Miss Rockaway Armada, a group of artists from all over the US who constructed a flotilla of rafts to journey down the Mississippi River.

If these artists’ projects invoke the figure of Bas Jan Ader (and his legendary 1975 performance “In Search of the Miraculous”, during which the artist disappeared while attempting to cross the Atlantic in a 13ft sailboat), indeed all of the artists in `Til I Die make work that channels something of Ader’s unique conjoining of contemporary media with a sense of the power of nature.

Walker and Walker evince a traditional notion of the romantic sublime mutated into haunting new forms: locating the position of the North Star in relation to the center of the gallery space, they create a glowing surrogate embedded in the gallery wall; Kristin Oppenheim’s audio piece `Sail on Sailor’ conjures a sense of infinite solitude and isolation through her own hushed and halting acapella rendition of the Beach Boys’ last great song; while Valerie Hegarty’s barnacle-encrusted sculptures suggest the unmentionable depths of the imagination, as much as any geographic space.

Graham Parker’s `Lost In The Telling’ addresses Ader directly, juxtaposing an internet-sourced version of the legend with another mythic disappearance at sea: Titanic designer Thomas Andrews, staring at a painting in the first class smoking lounge, as the ship sinks beneath him in 1912. Ian Burns will be showing one of his new trompe l’oeil video landscapes that examine the instrumentalization of nature and our ever more passive immersion in the power of the screen. And Tara Sinn takes the French phrase vont en bateau as a starting point to present an animated `trip’ that will offer portholes to another world.

Finally, Growing (Kevin Doria, bass and Joe Denardo, guitar) will perform their aqueous, instrumental rock at a special opening night performance sampling Brian Wilson’s titular track.
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