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“A Feeling” Interview

Maren Miller asks Catherine Pearson about the new paintings in her show at Good Work Gallery and the launch of her book, A Feeling.

IMG_7499-2M: Are we both going to transcribe and compare our own versions and see where we favored ourselves?

C: I’m just gonna make stuff up.

Both: [Cheers]

M: So I’m curious – and I think we’ve talked about this before – where you draw the line between mark and shape. With recent work you refer to certain things in your paintings as marks but other things as shapes. Does that reflect a particular thought process or is it mainly intuitive?

C: It’s rudimentary in an almost “elementary school” way. Like a thing that’s just one line, that’s a mark, but a big fat thing that takes two or three gestures to make, that’s a shape.

M: But wouldn’t you call that squiggle mark a
shape?

C: I think you might! We had that really good chat in my studio recently where you liked one of the first squiggle paintings and you were said: that’s the first time the mark looks more like a shape….

M: But you still consider that a mark?

C: Yeah. A shapely mark.

M: You just want it both ways I guess.

C: It’s everything at the same time. Simultaneously. It contains multitudes.

inside the surface. i’m trying to create depth with very little compositionally. If there’s already the surface plane of the canvas and the pigment is inside the canvas that’s something I can play off of.

M: It’s interesting to talk about depth with paintings that are so much about surface. Rather than illusionism.

C: I do have that woodshop story from Cooper about how I went in to make some stretcher bars and the shop tech says “How big do you want them?” And I’m like, “54 by 54”. He asks, “But what about the third dimension?” and I’m like…

M: I’m trying to think back to the point at which you started allowing the the canvas to come through…

C: I like the kind of stain painting where the

“what do you mean? It’s a square.”

Both: (laughter)

C: He goes: “No, the other dimension”. And I say: “they have four sides you fool”. This went on for some time and finally I realized that he was talking about how far they come off the wall. And I realized this hadn’t even occurred to me. And I really didn’t care. Then the story was told back to me later by someone “I heard this crazy story in the shop today about this painter who didn’t know about the third dimension”…

M: (laughs) That’s so cool

C: I don’t know about the third dimension!

M: And I refuse to learn!

C: I refuse to engage with the third dimension!

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M: Well the point is that you don’t think of them as objects. In any way.

C: No. I think of them as paintings.

M: So what does that mean? What is a painting then?

C: It’s just the surface. How much you can pack into just a surface. How much can you do with oil paint and a surface? These are the barest set of parameters I can work in, and since it’s abstract it can literally be anything that ever happened! It’s so open that it’s almost impossible to begin.That challenge has kept me super interested for a really long time. Now I finally want to make figurative painting and other things again because I feel like I got a little bit of a handle on what it meant to make work that way.

M: Do you draw a serious line for yourself between abstract and representational work? Because for me that’s really hard to do.

C: In my own way. Just in the sense that I became completely invested in, i would say, the classical idea of abstract painting. I really wanted to investigate it. I started from a very old-fashioned place and I felt like I had to work my way through all my interests to find out why I was interested in them. And to get them out of my system. So when I’m thinking about trying figurative work again I then want to work through all the kinds of figurative painting I like.

M: (Laughs) Which is a lot. You may have to take a different approach there.

C: But I think in the process of doing that I will find my own place in it…who knows if I’ll end up in a style that’s somewhere in the middle.

M: So when you say you have to enter into figurative painting in a traditional way, at what point are you gonna start? What are you considering traditional? Cause it’s easy to point to the beginning of abstract painting, but where are you going to decide is the beginning of figurative painting for you?

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C: Like a figure, in a room, a person in a room…

M: But I mean are you going to try to…

C: Oh you mean am I gonna try to paint like Courbet or something?

M: Yeah!

C: No I think it’s the same way that I approached figuring out what I like about abstract painting.

M: You want to feel what it feels like to paint your favorite type of work?

C: Yeah. I wanna paint like Matisse and get all these beautiful floral fabrics and one of my beautiful friends and get her cleavage out and go to town. If you’re gonna be voluptuous about it, you can’t be slightly voluptuous.

M: I like what you said though about having to paint through all the work that you were interested in. I mean, I have a hard time connecting with a lot of the painters that you really connect with, so I’m just curious what that moment is. Is it like… you’re looking at this painting, thinking about their process, wanting to feel the feeling of knowing that this decision is the right decision?

C: So much of what interests me in general in looking at art, and that I respond to with respect and admiration, is when I’m looking at a painting, no matter what style it’s painted in, that this person meant to make this exact painting. Every brushstroke that’s in here, every compositional decision — they’re into it.

M: So these painters that get into their own worlds and have their own systems, that create a vocabulary for themselves?

C: And who are invested in learning by doing…Hopefully you’re thinking of painting as a lifelong practice. When you’re flipping through one of these big monographs, looking at someone like David Hockney who just tries a shit ton of stuff…everything he tries still has this touch that’s very unique to him. It’s playful and has a certain sense of color, whether he’s making those weird xerox prints from the 80s, or now he’s doing the iPad stuff. Every era of his work is about getting excited about a new tool, or a new interest.

M: Do you feel like you go through periods where you’re really excited about different kinds of marks? That’s how I would apply that to you.

C: Yea for sure, I did that first squiggle and I felt this is new, this is different, I can do lots of things with this. I can give it different senses of speed depending on how fast I’m making it, how carefully I’m placing it, how wet to how dry, it can have a lot of different moods. So I got super excited about it and I did it on 30 paintings. But now when I went to make work a few weeks ago I was like I fucking hate that squiggle I don’t want to put that on this painting. I need a different mark, I’m so over that mark, I never want to see that mark again. But I’m sure it will find its way back eventually. It’s like when you get really excited about a food and you eat it every day until one day you’re like god Nutella’s disgusting.

M: It’s also funny with that squiggle though, most of your work I can see what you’re saying about the layers going over and under but the squiggle is always set on top like a little squirt of icing.

C: I heard it described back to me as a punchline which I thought was an interesting way of putting it.

M: It’s very you.

C: For a while, I wasn’t in a place where I fully understood what I was doing. I wasn’t capable of making the kind of work I envisioned and I wasn’t getting the feedback I wanted. But when I started to make the squiggly mark someone said: I can tell your work is humorous. The consensus was that it’s goofy. And that was one of the first times where I was like yeah, my work is conveying my intentions! That felt nice. I had felt like people thought I was trying to be more serious and intense about abstract painting than I was just because I was working through all these serious phases. It took a while for the humor that I naturally feel to become visible in the work, but I’m glad that’s finally coming through. It’s important to me that they be a lil goofy. Cause it’s goofy, it’s goofy to make something like that, and I feel goofy when I make them. I’m a goofball.

M: It’s like you want to convey that feeling but you refuse to speak English. You want people to feel really specific things but you won’t do anything to let them know, it’s all an insinuation game.

C: I think thats the magical thing about abstract painting that keeps me so invested in it. You’re trying, in my experience, to convey something so specific, with a medium that is so vague, so every single choice has to be exact or you’ve failed. Which is the high stakes I was talking about that’s super exciting. If I want to do a painting that’s starting with the three colors of the builing that I saw this morning when the light was at a certain time but I’m also listening to Jonathan Richman and giggling to myself while making it then I want that all to be exactly in there somehow because those are are all very specific things.

M: But only in your special Catherine language that’s so subtle.

C: But I want you to look at the painting and be like I feel a sense of early morning goofiness…

M: But you are still so invested in your own vocabulary that you won’t give that to anybody. I mean I don’t know how you would do it but I can think of many ways that aren’t like the Catherine paintings I’ve seen. I’m not saying you have to write Jonathan Richman on your paintings but I can think of many ways that would be more direct, so it can’t just be about wanting people to feel that…

C: Yea, well it’s about taking something and filtering it through your own process. For me it’s more than just that specific experience.

M: I wanted to talk you about your use of color. It seems like you go through these palettes that you work with for periods of time. I’m curious where those come from. You’ll say something like, oh, I based this off what I saw in the morning… But that can’t be happening that often, because you go through these periods where you paint with the same colors over and over again!

C: Well I’ll see a combo somewhere, and it’ll be super interesting to me so I’ll use it directly in one painting. Then as I’m making that painting I’ll be like, what if it was a slight difference, what if this hue was warmer, what if this hue was cooler, and that will start me immediately into the next painting. And I’m usually working on 3 or 4 paintings in the studio at the same time and sharing the different colors between them. And trying all the different ways that I can make one or two colors I found work.

M: Can you define a color working?

C: Ooh. I guess when it strikes me as being exactly what I want it to be and in the vibration with the other colors in a way that feels precise and correct to me.

M: And that preciseness and correctness, is that embodying a particular feeling that you want to convey or embodying some sort of moment, or a mood of the painting?

C: All of the above?

M: Because I get the sense that you’re afraid of your colors becoming muddy. The colors, even though translucency and stains are used, are all very autonomous. You seem to be in love with individual colors and you don’t want them to mingle on the canvas other than one behind the other. Is that another function of trying to preserve this moment you had when you were struck by the moment of those colors being put together?

C: I think so. And I think it’s a desire to have every element of the work feel chosen, so that if I do choose to have one small corner or one specific mark or moment in the painting where the colors do bleed together that you see that and you notice it. Because I think that so much of the allure of painting is that juicy messiness but I want that to feel intentioned. So when I’m working through a painting I’ll be striving for that crispness and that autonomous color for most of it so when I get to a certain part of it and it’s a wet plane and I’m going into it wet and the brush is mixing the two together and making this unholy alliance that part sticks out to you as an intention. So I think it’s like a meaningful mess.

M: Will you reject a painting if it leaves the devised system of experimentation? Or do you find that you’re making decisions on the fly?

C: On the fly all the time. I never, or very rarely have a preconceived idea of what the painting is, just a general scheme of colors that are on my mind and go from there. And oftentimes that’ll completely change through the course of making it. The only time I’m rejecting is when it feels overworked, when it loses spontaneity. I like the thought, like with the layers we were talking about that are all suspended and autonomous, and also intersecting, that they coalesced and were captured at this specific moment. But that they could also dissolve again at the next moment. If it’s overworked that sense of a briefly captured composition is lost.

M: Well you’re clearly invested in painting as a time based thing. You’re inserted in the moment of touching it, how long it takes to pull across it, the existing time as something like: I put this mark here first because it’s in the canvas.

C: I had a really good studio visit that kind of made me laugh but also cry a million years ago with this super anal guy who made every painting over 6 months, photorealist rendered things, and I had tried something new where I had done about 50 tiny pencil lines across the whole canvas or something, and I was like “this one is special because it took so long to make it, it took a whole day”

Both: [laughing]

C: And he was like “if you think that’s a painting that takes a long time then you’re a fucking insane person. You’re a very fast painter, so own it and get to know it but calm down”.

M: Yeah that’s really funny. It took a whole day.

C: It took a whole day to make that whole mark.

M: Should we go?

C: Lets go.


99 cent plus Fundraiser – content

 

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99 cent plus asked Good Work Gallery to contribute the work of 11 artists and we delivered. In sticker form!

Featuring sticker designs by:

Ben Sisto
Catherine Pearson
DADDY
Eric Shaw
Joshua Caleb Weibley
LAZY MOM
Michael Assiff
Ryan Chin
Saki Sato
Scott Goodman
Taylor Shields

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99¢ Plus Gallery is pleased to announce our 2nd Annual Exhibition and Fundraiser, 99¢ Plus Art Shop II. Almost exactly one year ago 99¢ Plus Gallery opened its doors for the first time with the Inaugural 99¢ Plus Art Shop. In celebration of an incredible first year and our immediate community of incredible galleries, curators, and artists, we have decided to continue the tradition. We have invited 9 local galleries to choose 11 artists each to donate one original artwork to 99¢ Plus. The work of all 99 artists, from emerging to established, is sold for a mere $9.99 in an effort to not only raise money for the gallery, but also to create an alternative art buying experience as accessible and inclusive as a 99¢ store.

Why:
All proceeds from the 99¢ Plus Art Shop go towards supporting an all-inclusive space in which the production, exhibition, and consumption of art and objects can exist under one roof. At 99¢ Plus Gallery we encourage alternative curatorial models, immersive installations, performance, and innovative approaches to art commerce. By involving 11 curators of what we believe to be some of the most interesting galleries in Brooklyn and 99 artists we expand our community and support artists from many different kinds of practices, experiences, and mediums. By pricing each work at just $9.99 we hope to make art accessible and create an inclusive buying experience.

May 8–10, 2015
Opening reception May 8, 6–10pm
Participating Galleries and Artists:

Greenpoint Terminal Gallery
Alex Ebstein
Brandon Johnson
Cecelia Salama
Cody DeFranco
Cody Hoyt
James Ulmer
Leif Low-Beer
Paul Wackers
Seth Adelsberger
Suzanne Coady
Timothy Bergstrom

Good Work Gallery
Ben Sisto
Catherine Pearson
DADDY
Eric Shaw
Joshua Caleb Weibley
LAZY MOM
Michael Assiff
Ryan Chin
Saki Sato
Scott Goodman
Taylor Shields

Harbor Gallery
Alicia Gibson
Alta Buden
Amanda Wong
Amy Brener
Elizabeth Ferry
Henry Gunderson
Jeff Degolier
John Silvis
Leah Dixon
Michael Childress
Shana Sadeghi-Ray

Interstate Projects
Anna KE
Chris Lux
Erika Ceruzzi
Heather McKenna
Jacob Ciocci
Justin Berry
Kevin Lips
Nick DeMarco
Rebecca Gilbert
Sara Magenheimer
Seung Min Lee

Kimberly-Klark
Aine Vonnegut
Alex Ito
Christopher Roberson
Dennis Witkin
Destinee’s Child
Jessica Tang
Jordan Barse
Kimberly Klark
Riley Duncan
Miki Foster
Nicholas Moenich

Outlet
Ben Godward
Christian Berman
Dan Flanagan
Haruka Aoki
Mark Dorf
Mary Ivy Martin
Matthew Mahler
Norman Jabaut
Robert Nava
Robin Kang
Ryan V. Brennan

Signal
Aidan Koch
Alaina Stamatis
Andrew Ross
Chloe Wise
Dan Herschlein
David Brandon Geeting
Hayley Martell
India Muenez
Priscilla Jeong
Sophie Hirsch
Travis Boyer

Three Four Three Four
Jakob Brugge
Kevin Evans
Lola Bezemer
Louise Jacobs
Marek van de Watering
Nadja Voorham
Silvia Martes
Tim Mathijsen
Tirza Kater
Vibe Overgaard
Zoë Field

99¢ Plus Gallery
Audrey Snyder
Elise McMahon
Emily Wissemann
Eric Pitradzkiewicz
Ian Harkey
Lacey Carter
Melkorka Ingibjargardottir
Nicholas Ricardo
Rebecca Manson
Sam Hemmenway
Tessa Perutz

Catherine Pearson: A Feeling, May 2nd – 22nd, 2015 – content

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Catherine Pearson: A Feeling

Book Launch and Exhibition

May 2 – May 22, 2015
Opening reception Saturday, May 2nd, 6-9pm.

Good Work Gallery is pleased to present the book launch of A Feeling by Catherine Pearson and an exhibition of her most recent paintings. A Feeling uses collage, photography, and watercolor with an immediacy and intimacy which contrasts and complements her more labor-intensive large scale work. The book provides both a context and a key to her approach to abstraction: content as a glimpse, as a feeling grasped. Pearson graduated from Cooper Union in 2010.

Read the interview here, or download the PDF.

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Master & Lingo: New Sculptures by Maren Miller and Saki Sato, March 21st – April 18th, 2015 – content

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Master & Lingo

New Sculptures by Maren Miller and Saki Sato

March 21st – April 18th, 2015

Saki Sato and Maren Miller are long-time friends and collaborators. For the showMaster & Lingo, Sato’s sculptures originate from the ceiling and Miller’s begin at the floor. Both occupy the abstract space where image is translated into object, and object into image.

They last showed work together in February 2010, and most recently curated a show of public sculpture in an abandoned lot in Brooklyn. Sato and Miller graduated The Cooper Union in 2010.

Read the interview here, or download the PDF.

To see their previous work, visit their websites:
Maren Miller
Saki Sato

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Taylor Shields : Mysteries, March 7th, 2015 – content

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Taylor Shields: Mysteries

Saturday March 7th, 8 – 10pm

ONE NIGHT ONLY – Not quite a screening, not quite a lecture, Mysteries will present a survey of Shields’ short videos, excerpts, and performative demonstrations. This body of work investigates Shields’ interactions with physical and virtual spaces using simulations, animations and bodily actions. Don’t miss this one-time performance!

Taylor Shields received his BFA from Cooper Union (Sculpture and Video, ’09). Since then, he has continued screening videos, collaborated with DADDY, and was featured in Megazine’s last issue. He is also self taught in 3D modeling software and works as a miniature model fabricator. He lives and works in New York City. To preview some of Taylor Shields’ work, visit his website.

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Freudian Slippers, January 23rd – February 14th, 2015 – content

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Freudian Slippers

Jan 23 – Feb 14th
Opening reception:
Friday, Jan 23 from 6-9pm
After Party will follow at Lone Wolf Bar located conveniently near the gallery at 1089 Broadway.

Curated by Nicole Lucaroni and Sara Blazej

Featuring: Jamie Fletcher, Paris Hynes, Manal Kara, and Jason Martin

Good Work Gallery presents Freudian Slippers, an exhibition which depicts the con- stantly evolving significance of fetish aesthetics in art, and explores a subversion of power conventions interpreted through creative means.

The various aesthetics of fetish culture have deep art history lineage. Since nascent documentation over a century ago, imagery evoking submissiveness, the Gay un- derground, and play with power dynamics has proliferated itself into a mainstream consciousness through standard (and non-standard) media representation. Major social transformation and sexual revolution have allowed for altered and heightened percep- tions of desire to reshape and broaden the cultural landscape of fetishism today. In this exhibition, the subversive and taboo topic is skewed with humor, play, and practicality through form. With a tongue-in-cheek attitude, these artists attempt to bring the viewer closer to understanding and challenging their own perspectives on sexuality and fetish.

Jamie Fletcher
The “leather daddy” and “gimp” are two of the most recognizable fetishes we see. They have been around for years in gay eroti- cism, and have a long history in sadomasochistic fantasy. We continually see versions of this aesthetic in many current forms of media, such as films, advertisements, television, and routinely gracing fashion runways. In Fletcher’s work, however, we see a more painterly vision of this fetish, and with a woman’s perspective. Chains, masks, leather, and male-on male-submission are idealized – something not traditionally idealized in a hetero-normative world – and used to subtly express her struggles with her own femininity. Fletcher currently works and resides in NYC.

Paris Hynes
Paris Hynes’ series of oil paintings depicts figures in fetish attire – typically the iconic bondage suit, or gimp suit. Combining
the visual extreme of latex-covered bodies with the humorously banal way in which they are presented – standing alongside a tall potted houseplant, or confronting the viewer as a masked bust – Hynes pokes fun at both traditional portraiture as well as the perception of fetishists as deviant Others. He sources the images for these works from the Internet by culling photographs from deep fetish forums and blogs. He also uses commercial photos of products on bondage gear websites. Hynes’ carefully seductive rendering of the latex surfaces reveal a fixation on the textural qualities of the costumes, and suggest a conscious lean toward a more aesthetic appreciation of the BDSM experience. He lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

Manell Kara
Her work takes traditional forms of houseware and décor, such as vases, cups and mugs, and undermines the original homemaker intention with the humorous use of breasts and penises. Conversely, her S&M product line, White Worm, flips the “evil sex dun- geon” look of most S&M toys and tools with its lighthearted flair of electric colors and playful new shapes. Kara is a Chicago- based artist and Dominatrix, and her works can also be found in local Brooklyn-based boutiques and showrooms.

Jason Martin
Jason Martin is an artist and musician who has been producing television, video, photography and other forms of media since the early ‘80s. His most recent performances and videos are part of an ongoing project named Animal Power Systems, a species and gender-queer exploration channeled through hybrid beings from otherworldly origin. The first appearance of his wolf character was used in the LP cover art for his band Brown Cuts Neighbors and the public broadcast TV show by the same name. His draw- ings elicit a mix of power dynamics veiled in the use of fetish roleplaying games and cartoon imagery. Martin is currently based in upstate New York and performs in NYC at many of its alternative venues.

Opening hours: Every Saturday & Sunday, Jan 24 – Feb 14, 2014. 12 PM – 6 PM.

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Rendering, November 8th – 23rd, 2014 – content

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PRESS RELEASE
Rendering
Curated by Scott Goodman
Nov 8 – 23
Opening reception: Saturday, November 8 from 6-9pm
1100 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY 11221

 

Featuring: Graham Anderson, Jerry Blackman, Andrew Graham, Caitlin Keogh, Carly Mark, Matthew Palladino, Ben Sanders, and Eric Shaw

Good Work Gallery is pleased to present rendering, an exhibition of paintings displaying graphic characteristics of clipart, logos, textile patterns and other visuals of a commercial nature. This group of artists, who are digital natives, re-approach mainstream sensibilities on their own terms, and in doing so, create paintings which draw on and refresh histories of Pop imagery. The impersonal, immediate, and immaterial qualities of the digital image are contrasted and underlined by the intrinsically human, physical act of painting by hand, using a brush.

Replicating a mechanical line with paint requires restriction of the body to only the most essential movements to carrying out the task. The pulsation of blood through one’s veins and capillaries, or the expansion and contraction of the lungs is enough to disturb the trajectory of a line being drawn between two points. The comparison of man to machine-made production brings attention to the shifting role of the artist in relation to evolving image-making technologies. By implementing painting to produce the effects of machinery, as is the case with the works in this show, the artist mimics the machine, suspending aspects of their own humanity while also accentuating it in the act.

Matthew Palladino’s The Draftsman’s Malaise depicts a space entirely composed of clip art, in which a canvas sits perched on an easel articulated in bold black lines of eerily uniform weight. The pictured canvas features three red cups containing the same arrangement of drafting tools: two pencils, a pair of exacto knives, a ruler, and a paintbrush; all utensils that imply the artists’ hand.

Graham Anderson depicts malleable, planar worlds, mechanically bending comic elements within them around each other. Untitled, depicts a folded cat in an autoerotic sexual act. Whether the image is a highly stylized depiction of a real cat or a realistic depiction of a stylized cat is ambiguous.

Ben Sanders and Eric Shaw incorporate flat sharply delineated brush-stroke-like shapes that simultaneously direct our attention to the gestural application of paint by hand and to the computerized simulation of a paintbrush tool made available through graphic editing programs like Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.

Carly Mark’s floral design in Event Horizon calls to mind the copy/paste and fill commands used for transferring, extending and flooding data from multiple sources.

Andrew Graham mimics the graphic and formal qualities of the CAPTCHA, an acronym for “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart,” which tests the presence of a human onlooker by their ability to recognize, separate, and contextualize distorted numerical and alphabetical combinations.

Jerry Blackman’s untitled series of hybridized cartoons also tests human recognition by splicing together attributes of popular cartoon characters we know from screen and print. The sensation of being reintroduced to ones own family in the horrific aftermath of a facial transplant surgery is evoked. Winnie the Pooh’s ears protrude from Garfield’s head while Bamm-Bamm’s skeleton has somehow slipped under a Bart Simpsons skin suit.

The articulation of Caitlin Keogh’s Argyle patterning in Successful Multiple Retailers draws from textile design. It softly, subtly undulates in a decidedly human manner that glories in fallibility as much as in control and precision.

Opening hours: Saturday & Sunday, 12 – 6pm, and by appointment

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And now for a special treat…

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Lazy Mom: Still Lives, September 20th – October 19th, 2014 – content

Lazy Mom : Still Lives

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LAZY MOM
Still Lives
Sept 20 – Oct 19, 2014
opening reception:
Saturday Sept 20, 2014 6 – 9 PM

“It’s so beautifully arranged on the plate—you know someone’s fingers have been all over it.”

– Julia Child

Good Work Gallery is pleased to present Still Lives, a solo exhibition of photographs and sculptures by LAZY MOM, a collaboration between artists Josie Keefe and Phyllis Ma. This exhibition marks the first LAZY MOM exhibition in New York, and will be on view from September 20 to October 19, 2014.

Still Lives explores imaginative tangents on traditional food photography in the form of still lifes. The images reference art history and modern commercial aesthetics, from Flemish painting and product photography to culinary plating techniques. However, instead of emphasizing or advertising taste and smell visually, Still Lives features food and other familiar objects in compositions that suggest otherworldly landscapes and portraits. Objects are removed from any direct narrative or purpose but retain a sense of anthropomorphic emotion.

Depicted are commonplace items such as fruit, flowers and money, combined into formations of dreamlike kitsch. For instance, Geometric Floral shows a bouquet of brightly colored bodega flowers, dissembled and then reassembled into a perfect cube of household gelatin. Stripes of raw bacon are wrapped around cotton candy pink hair rollers, suggesting the capricious whims of a bored housewife. And a baloney sandwich is rearranged based on a set of undisclosed aesthetic rules. Through humor, LAZY MOM deconstructs tradition feminine icons of sentimentality and preciousness, and imbues them with a new sense of order and significance. It is as if Mom is showing us the beauty of the world while telling us, “Here, go make yourself a sandwich.”

In exploring another definition of “humor,” the images in Still Lives are organized into families based on Greco-Roman proto-psychological concept of the four humors. The idea refers to bodily fluids that were thought to define a person’s personality and health, and consist of choleric (risk takers), sanguine (light), melancholic (introverted), and phlegmatic (calm). This is an early example of how man created basic artificial systems in order to understand the natural world. By grouping the images into four humors, personalities of the still lifes are emphasized and objects are transformed from order to chaos and then back to an absurd level of organization. In this way, LAZY MOM dismantles man’s attempts to order nature by creating a new aesthetic system from banal materials. These carefully manipulated arrangements create a landscape of domestic detritus where the real and fake merge to form the surreal.

Josie Keefe was born in 1987 Syracuse, New York and lives and works in New York City. She studied anthropology and visual arts at Columbia University, and has worked as a prop stylist. Phyllis Ma was born in 1987 Guangzhou, China and lives and works in New York City. She studied visual arts at Columbia University as well as fashion design at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

LAZY MOM is their first collaboration, born from their first self-published photography zine titled “LAZY WOW.” “Still Lives” showcases images produced for this zine, along with images that have culminated into their second zine of the same title as the exhibition. “LAZY WOW” is currently available at MoMA PS1, the New Museum, Printed Matter, and at www.lazymomnyc.com

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Elemental, July 11th – August 3rd, 2014 – content

Elemental

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Al Bedell, Portrait of a Frenemy 


Angelina Dreem, LA RUBIA


Molly Soda, Slushy 

PRESS RELEASE
Elemental
curated by Sara Blazej
July 11 – August 3, 2014
Opening reception:
Friday July 11, 2014 6 – 9 PM

Featuring: Al Bedell, Alli Coates, Andrew Ross, Angelina Dreem, Ann Hirsch, Ashley Zangle, Carly Mark, Signe Pierce, and Molly Soda.

Good Work Gallery presents Elemental, a group exhibition and video screenings featuring nine artists working within a variety of interests and mediums. Asked to contribute work that engages with the linguistically malleable theme, the participants’ responses culminate in a playfully diverse arrangement of video, sculpture, painting and drawing – all multidirectional expansions on the term “elemental.”

In it’s initial stages of conception, the theme looked primarily at the classical elements – earth, air, fire, water, and aether – and the respective characteristics associated with them. Angelina Dreem’s film La Rubia features a female protagonist who represents the fifth element, aether. For Dreem, the work “examines a female’s relationship to the elemental forces that protect us and torment us in moments of loneliness and isolation.”

Molly Soda and Carly Mark formally manipulate the term, conveying the topic in its capacity as a part, or parts, of a greater whole – whether as a system of linework constructing a larger pattern, as seen in Mark’s intricate floral design drawings, or as simultaneously occurring action in multiple screens, as in Soda’s video Slushy. Moreover, Slushy demonstrate two base elements in the form of commodity perversions: ice becomes a sugary frozen drink, while fire is reduced to a lit cigarette.

Similarly, Signe Pierce and Alli Coates’ darkly intensified Girls Gone Wild spoof takes place in a tropical setting in which natural elements are combined with nature-based artifice. The scenery, trees, ground, and water present in the film are manicured, paved and sterilized to be marketed collectively as a luxury destination – much like the central female figure has been “modified” and framed by the “male” videographer for hypersexualization.

Drawing from the more tangible world of chemical elements, Andrew Ross’s aluminum structure and Ashley Zangle’s crystallized shampoo painting point to a process-based engagement with the physical properties and form of their materials. Meanwhile, Ann Hirsch’s surreal mixed media portrait That She Devil Jew Lady, and Al Bedell’s reductive social guide Frienemies further widen the lexemic parameters of “Elemental,” referencing social and sexual psychology in its elementary states.

Video screenings featuring the work of Angelina Dreem, Carly Mark, Signe Pierce and Alli Coates, Al Bedell and Molly Soda will be held every Saturday and Sunday for the duration of the show.

***