Jeff Bailey Gallery is pleased to present Chris Gentile: Photographs.
Gentile’s photographs are presented as allegories of his studio practice with alchemical overtones. Lightning bolts, surfboards and lifeguard chairs are meticulously cast in small scale and mixed with a variety of functional studio objects, like plywood, saw horses and a trashcan. The combination of his sculptures and studio ephemera suggest an inconclusive narrative, and imply the after effects of both creation and decay.
Gentile’s earlier photographs are images of sculptures, or sculptural scenarios, that he created in his studio. Disembodied from any specific context, scale and versimilitude are questioned. Building upon this practice, his most recent photographs include the addition of basic studio objects, and partial glimpses of the studio itself.
For Gentile, the process of making the photograph is as important as the photograph itself. The studio serves as the artist’s refuge, laboratory and cathedral: a unique place to both conceive and execute ideas. In Cast in Ancient Light, a pile of hundreds of lightning bolts cast in concrete sits alongside a gleaming trashcan. Both rest on sawhorses and plywood, lit from above. The lightning bolt, a symbol of enlightenment, is being cast away, dumped. At the same time, the tight pile of bolts appear cast from the trashcan itself, as if it were a mold.
This combination of the symbollically important and the obviously mundane is one that allows Gentile to explore themes of hope and abondonment, and search for greater meaning in the mysterious alchemy of disparate objects grouped together.