Reality, augmented or otherwise, is delightfully stranger than fiction at 01: Never Mind the Bullocks, curated by LatchKey Gallery‘s Founders, Natalie Kates and Amanda Uribe, at Chashama’s One Brooklyn Bridge location. On view through Oct 21st, the exhibit features four contemporary artists working on the boundaries of modern perspectives. Darryl Westly, Inna Babaeva, Steven Fragale and Toby Barnes all create works for the exhibition that obscure and/or redefine reality. From examining absence in figuration to producing new dimensions of representation, the artists on view take expectation and turn it squarely on its head. At first glimpse the four artists seem decidedly divorced from one another’s practice, until further examination reveals that each artist re-examines objects and scenes that the viewer takes for granted, re-contextualizing the known and burying it deep into the crevices of the unknown until it springs anew, a hybrid and resplendent thing.
Darry Westly, born in Chicago and currently based in New York City, is a renowned international painter who creates illusions of flattened planes in otherwise realistic scenes. Frequently alluding to classical art history references, Westly’s unique blend of Pop Art and figuration herald a new manner of representing in the post-photo manipulation era. Soft pastel hues cradle the outlines of missing figures, collapsed planes of a hybrid reality. Westly’s masterful brushstrokes press against the glass of reality, turning perception around on an unsuspecting viewer. His work disorients as it transcends.
Steven Fragale‘s interactive paintings delight and confound, taking the viewer off the canvas and literally into thin air. Fragale, who lives and works in (and is originally from) New York, takes his work out to the viewer in a custom-built app that accompanies each of his paintings. Extending the composition out into new dimensions using augmented reality, Fragale leaves no stone unturned: examining our reliance on the digital and its intrusion into everyday lived experience.
Toby Barnes is an interdisciplinary artist whose installation and mixed media work collapses what Hito Stereyl aptly termed the “poor” image makes a frequent appearance in the patterns of Barnes’ works, writhing these mobile phone images into dizzying, hypnotic compositions. Born in Miami, and living and working in Amherst, Mass, Barnes has exhibited in an exciting array of venues including PS1, Queens Museum, and NADA among others. Barnes creates symmetric compositions, delineating the lines and populating each section with glimpses of skin, abstracted figure. Abstract and figurative meld into one another, proving impossibly inextricable in the final image. Barnes’ installations and two-dimensional, mixed media works combine the immediacy of Pop with a considered, measured investigation into a thoroughly contemporary view of the image as raw material.
Perhaps most surprising is the inventive work of artist Inna Babaeva, a Ukrainian-American artist based in Long Island City, Queens. Reformatting everyday objects into magnificently mischievous items. Bulbous forms formed in glass break the lines of rows of October magazines and perch saucily on wheels close to the ground. They lie luxuriantly on stacks of paper, sneaking glimpses at passersby from corners of the exhibit. Never has glass possessed such a gestural, anthropomorphic quality. Babaeva’s works re-animate post-industrial materials into new figments of the visitor’s imagination.
01: Never Mind the Bullocks is a fearless investigation into what contemporary art can evolve into, and how it can grow into new forms of inquisition and self-reflexivity. The exhibit is on view at One Brooklyn Bridge (360 Furman Street, Brooklyn) through October 21st, curated by LatchKey Gallery (173 Henry Street in Manhattan) & location courtesy Chashama.