Intimacy and Abnegation

Intimacy and Abnegation explores the curious experience of a double bind: that is people having more opportunity for friendship, romantic connections, and professional networking, but having this nagging doubt towards having real connections with other people despite the closeness that technology allows us. And yet, there is this strange feeling that humanity is moving forward, while we feel like the connection between other human beings is slowly being eroded or just lost. The artists in this exhibition continue the historical legacies of the their conceptual art predecessors from the late 1960s and the 1970s. Many of these earlier practices were grounded in what was then a critique of the alienation of late capitalism. During those years, Americans experienced a great economic boom. Since then, the economy has been on a steady decline while the material technological advances have made it difficult for many to dislodge themselves from the comfort they give all of us, as we face an unknowable and an ever complicate future.

The artists in this exhibition investigate the intersection between technology and the alienation it unintentionally creates. The works challenge the artifice of representation, images, and time as it is found in film. While the art itself, cannot completely negate the power of these technological modalities, the objects and images remind the spectator that belief is in the power of observation, knowledge, and action.

Michael Ciervo’s paintings encapsulate a number of modalities: classical, romantic painting, photography, and film. Ciervo’s use of multiple images in his paintings purposely confounds the spectator’s needs for direct communication and creates an opportunity towards a variety of meanings. His paintings have a way of seducing the viewer into them and then refusing the spectators need to gain content from that engagement.

Danny Snelson’s work reinstates the aura into the modality of video, one in which authenticity is always at risk of never breaking the artifice of its own delivery because of the opportunity for the producer to change the outcome is always available. Snelson’s work establishes an opportunity for a “new authenticity” in video by remaking his previous source material.

“Since finitude marks the point where we end and others begin, spatially and temporally, it is also what makes room for them – and acknowledging these limits allows us to experience the expansiveness for which we yearn, because it gives us a powerful sense of our emplacement within the larger whole.”
— Flesh of My Flesh, Kaja Silverman.

Sam Metcalf’s Black Box is an eight-foot-tall enclosure with transparent walls containing top-to bottom Venetian blinds controlled by motion detectors. The blinds close when the spectator approaches, allowing only glimpses of a large live fern inside. This piece reverses the experience of the gaze of the viewer and because of the centrality the installation it reflects the design of surveillance blocks typically found in prisons.

Jan Baltzell’s drawings sometimes reference landscapes, still life motifs, and the unknowable. The overall appearance of which is fragmented and moved around by Baltzell. The abstraction in her drawings deconstructs the artifice into a different kind of reordered picture. They are at the same time familiar and yet different enough from their original source material to reward the spectator with a new experience from the act of looking.

Todd Keyser’s photographs of everyday life are pressed into the service of undermining the artifice captured by the camera through painted interventions. Keyser strategically employs abstract geometric shapes to deny the artifice inherent in photography – the power of the shapes immediately make themselves known to the viewer.

Scott Dickson’s uncanny images are sourced from a variety of vintage postcards and are completed through collage. Dickson inaugurates the postcards with a new kind of visual life, whose transformed landscapes recall earlier obsessions that the Dadaist’s had with Native American mythology and art.

Anna Neighbor’s objects and sculpture undermined conventional approaches to beauty and its pretense. The heroic and the confident is aesthetically deflated and exchanged instead for the absurd and the indefinite. In a sense, making the work more compelling than earlier art historical methods prior to the grounding of Feminists Art movement. In addition to Neighbor’s participation in these histories the use of the readymade objects adds an additional dimension to her work, one that is often surprising underscores a “new construction,” the figure reconfigured, the erotic, and the impetus to perform labor and to build.

Robert Scobey’s videos explore the anticipation of an intimate moment that is withheld. Scobey manipulates glitches within the time-line of the video. As a result, the viewer may feel the challenge to keep the emotion of desire in play. As a result, the artifice is replaced with painterly digital interventions instead. This longing for desire is as old as the poetry of Ovid in which civilization first becomes aware of the gaze of desire.

@ New Boone

Opening: Friday, April 7th 2017 | 6:00-9:00 PM

Gallery Hours: April 8th & 9th | 12:00-3:00 PM