Glen Fogel, Ryan McCartney and Andrew Rogers
Thomas Erben Gallery is pleased to open the new season with Psychic Inheritance including the works of Glen Fogel, Ryan McCartney and Andrew Rogers. The exhibition focuses upon the attempt to create a physical embodiment of the elusive term ‘American’, a fractured identity and accumulation which purports nevertheless to the existence of an American psyche. By formally manipulating key iconography or by foregrounding formal decisions as witnesses to circumstances, these artists present to us reinvigorated, living ‘organisms’ with the ability to absorb an ongoing gathering of the cultural, political and personal histories of this nation.
In Untitled (Black Flag), Andrew Rogers installs four American flags, which he quilted with the help of his mother out of two nearly uniform shades of black. Hung in a formation directly referencing the logo of the 1970’s Los Angeles punk band, “Black Flag”, it is political commentary, abstract painting, constructivist inspired installation, graphic arts and marketing. Similarly, Rogers’ graphite drawings localize both corporate and peripheral logos within minimalist fields and abstract them to talismanic ends.
Glen Fogel’s image of Mick Jagger, which has been manipulated in format and contrast, renders the legend emptied out and, due to a scanning fault, physically deformed with a light bar over his eyes suggesting super-human powers. The Enemy, extending Fogel’s previous, sexually charged work, presents a quote about Tedd Haggard’s homophobic disposition, written before the evangelistic leader’s recent homosexual scandal:
“The life of the _ is an endless succession of orgasms, interrupted only by jocular episodes of male bonhomie. The _ promises a _ existence, the garden before Eve. As such he is not just tempting, but temptation embodied; the enemy.”
Projected on the back of a double-sided mirror, viewers encounter their own images and naturally fill-in the blanks according to their own biases. Political realities are thereby connected to their individual origins. This piece will be accompanied by hallucinatory footage of the 2005 Billy Graham Crusade, a “found spectacle”, in which the artist edits and effects extreme states of being in a manner that destabilizes the visual field to support a constantly evolving reality.
Ryan McCartney views his paintings as analogs, which articulate a spectrum of continuous values as opposed to possessing a discrete on/off quality. The works are meant to be a document, not of simple mark making, but of the decisions that went into their making and the circumstances surrounding them. McCartney’s minimal style belies the complexity of what we view, a physical embodiment of a signal received – transmitted from a particular time and place – transcribed by a human psyche.
All born in the late 1970’s, artists included range in notoriety from emerging to well known but more crucially represent a distinct group whose influences and concerns all stem from the same time and space. The artists have studied at such institutions as Bard College (Fogel), Cooper Union (McCartney), and Columbia University (Rogers).