Monya Rowe is pleased to announce a group exhibition curated by Jane Harris titled Same Old, Same New featuring Brian Finke, Andy Freeberg, Jennie C. Jones, Kate Teale and Stephen Vitiello. The exhibition includes drawing, photography, painting, sound and installation.
“Everything has been said yet few have taken advantage of it. Since all our knowledge is essentially banal, it can only be of value to minds that are not.” – Raoul Vaneigem
The artists in Same Old, Same New all reflexively respond to their everyday environment – rote events and happenstance, alike – in works that pay homage to the forgotten and overlooked. Each artist also utilizes such seemingly insignificant moments as catalysts for larger themes. Mundanity, then, is not the real subject of their work, but its mode of expression; a means of conveying the particularities of artistic temperament. As such, the works displayed vary in tone and intent, ranging from the intimate to the deadpan, but together pay homage to the muse of simple observation.
A frequent traveler, Brian Finke became increasingly interested in the practiced efforts of the flight attendants who served him. Observing their mechanical routines and team dynamics, the photographer began a two-year project documenting these hosts of the friendly skies. The resulting images, Flight Attendants (a series to be published in a forthcoming book by powerHouse Books), recall the casual yet iconic style formulated by Finke in earlier works depicting cheerleaders and football players. Finke is represented by ClampArt, New York.
Andy Freeberg’s 2007 photo series, Sentry, features the gallery desks and entranceways of prominent Chelsea art galleries. For the uninitiated, these chest-high fortresses (hiding receptionists and worker bees) are often downright intimidating. And this is what Freeberg captures. As a photojournalist, his initial approach was naturally straightforward: “I was in Pace Wildenstein, this massive space with this massive desk, and all you could see was the top of the head of the person sitting behind it. It seemed like the desks had gotten bigger since my last visit. I took the picture without them ever knowing I’d done it.” Freeberg is represented by Danziger Projects, New York.
Jennie C. Jones’ cassette tape drawings, Gravity #1 & #2 (2007) and sound work, Cue Search (2007), both resulted from her encounter with a street sale, where she purchased a compilation CD in which various 78 LP jazz recordings had been transferred to Compact Disk. An artist long interested in intersection of music, abstraction, and the black avant-garde, she began thinking about how the author of the mixed CD accomplished this transfer, which led to her nostalgia for the analog systems of her youth. The results not only reflect the artist’s precipitous encounter on the street, but her ongoing interest in the relationship between music, art, and the technology of listening.
Kate Teale’s ongoing series of figurative paintings, Through the Night (2007-08), are based on photos taken by a camera mounted on her bedroom ceiling that automatically took images on the hour during the course of a night’s sleep. Rendering the random movements of Teale and her husband as they moved about in their sheets, the photos became a means by which the artist could literally and metaphorically explore issues of gravity in painting. The idea of sleep as a process and state of mind akin to that of painting itself began to emerge, evoking Teale’s long-term interest in the meaning and function of “realism” in art these days.
Leaving New York for a teaching position at Virginia Commonwealth University, electronic musician and sound artist Stephen Vitiello began noticing the peculiar noises of his newfound suburban environment; dogs barking; trees swishing in the wind, water gurgling, etc. Night Chatter (2007), a composite mix of various birdcalls recorded at dusk in Vitiello’s backyard is one of the works that evolved from these intent observations. At once banal and poetic, Night Chatter embodies Vitiello’s ongoing interest in the quiet yet profound application of incidental sound. Vitiello is represented by The Project, New York.
- Jane Harris
Jane Harris is a New York-based critic who contributes to various publications including the Village Voice, Time Out, New York, artnet.com, and Surface Magazine, among others