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Jessica Rohrer, Sweeping the BQE

P.P.O.W Gallery
535 West 22nd Street, 3rd Floor, 212-647-1044
November 20 - December 23, 2008
Reception: Thursday, November 20, 6 - 8 PM
Web Site

Gallery is pleased to announce our second solo exhibition of Jessica Rohrer’s paintings, entitled Sweeping the BQE. The BQE is the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, the brainchild of Robert Moses that was originally intended to alleviate traffic throughout Brooklyn and on the bridges to Manhattan. This construction still sparks controversy today as an unnatural fissure that both connects and disrupts. Having lived within one hundred feet of the BQE for over seven years, Rohrer’s paintings record and literally reflect the cars, roads, neighborhoods and implanted nature that a traveler might find while near this thoroughfare.

Rohrer’s painting technique evokes multiple styles, multiple artists, and requires multiple inspections. The car is her primary focus in this series, extending the lineage of artists like Robert Bechtle. The cars are immobile, unattended, and act as portrait-like substitutes for the people who use them. Using the tools of photography, memory, and direct observation, Rohrer distills the BQE into something that is partially minimalist and photorealistic, turning the geometry of man-made architecture and engineering into unsettling abstraction. Rohrer’s controlled, leaf-by-leaf construction of the isolated trees is paired with the manipulated, haunting reflections present in the cars’ windows.

These paintings also function as documents of a moment within the artist’s life. Rohrer has consistently painted where she has lived. Whether it is Kewaskum, Evanston, New Haven or Brooklyn, her paintings act as capsules for her own biography and also for those places. Rohrer both preserves and pays homage to the seemingly mundane and evergreen elements of these places. Vinyl siding, mini-vans, and iron gates are given a focus not normally benefited to them but in these paintings it is justified and deserved.

Jessica Rohrer received her M.F.A. in painting from the Yale University School of Art
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