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Sarah McKenzie, Building Code

Jen Bekman Gallery
6 Spring Street, between Elizabeth St. and Bowery, 212-219-0166
East Village / Lower East Side
February 20 - April 4, 2009
Reception: Friday, February 20, 6 - 8 PM
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Jen Bekman Gallery is pleased to present Building Code, an exhibition of eight paintings, in oil and acrylic, by Sarah McKenzie. This is the artist’s first solo show in New York City.

Building Code will be on view Friday, February 20 through Saturday, April 4, 2009 at Jen Bekman Gallery, located at 6 Spring Street, New York, NY. McKenzie paints buildings in various states of construction, playfully referencing geometric abstraction and twentieth century Modernism. She applies paint to the canvas in ways that often break the unity of the image. The effect is perplexing but informative; her process parallels construction and her surfaces encourage the viewer to compare the structure of the paintings with the frames of the buildings she is painting. About first seeing the work Ms. Bekman notes: At first glance it seemed photorealistic, in part because it reminds me of the ground well trod by many of my favorite fine art photographers. But look closely and it’s clearly not quite real -there is a flatness in both her paint and perspective that has the primitive feeling of folk art.

Take that flatness in and allow yourself to focus on the lines, angles and grids of her work; suddenly you’re fully immersed in geometric abstraction, a la the 20th century Modernists. The familiarity of the subject matter allows me to travel through these genres with ease. McKenzie’s paintings have been featured in The New York Times articles by Grace Glueck and Allison Arief, as well as in Art in America, Dwell, the Miami Herald, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and the Denver Post. Her work is included in Worlds Away: New Suburban Landscapes, which originated at the Walker Art Center in February 2008 and will travel to the Yale School of Architecture in March 2009. Previous exhibitions include the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, the Bemis Center, the University of Akron, and the Katonah Museum of Art.
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