Friday, February 22, 2008

Upcoming: Martin Wöhrl at Spencer Brownstone Gallery

The Chili Moon Town Tour Productions show remains on view at the gallery through Saturday February 23rd, whereupon we will be closing for the installation of our first solo exhibition of German artist Martin Wöhrl's sculpture and installation work. Press release follows below, please join us for the artist's opening reception Friday February 29th, 6-8pm!

Martin Wöhrl

February 29th – April 5th, 2008.
Opening Friday, February 29th, 6-8pm

Spencer Brownstone Gallery is proud to present a solo exhibition of new work by Munich based sculptor Martin Wöhrl, the artist’s first exhibition in the United States.

Wöhrl’s wide-ranging practice routinely incorporates reinterpreted motifs and strategies drawn from the history of art, architecture, and design, and is characterized by an elliptical skirting of the borders between form and function. Often using found objects or materials sourced form budget DIY and hardware stores, the artist has crafted elevated minimalist platforms that can be enjoyed as sculpture - or used as stages or seating. He has produced a series of fish tanks modeled on utopian modernist housing, and standing lamps from recycled junk. His ongoing ‘Gloriole’ decorative wall works fashion baroque radiating halos from discarded shards of wood left on his workshop floor.

For his exhibition at Spencer Brownstone Gallery, Wöhrl will present several new ‘Gloriole’ pieces alongside new works specially created in-situ at the gallery. Springing from the art historical concept of ‘Kontrapost’, the works in the show will be orchestrated as a series of unfolding dialectical ‘conversations’. The show’s centerpieces will be architectural structures in the form of columns, and two major wall pieces constructed from old wooden doors that have been carved, using power tools, with elaborate ornamental decorations referencing Bavarian folk decoration and corporate logos.

The handcrafted detailing and sensitivity to color and patina sets the artist’s work apart from much contemporary critical discourse on the relationship between art and design. Wöhrl’s work ultimately offers a more generous and inclusive traversal of our shifting definitions of the aesthetic and the functional.

Martin Wöhrl was born in Munich, Germany, in 1974 and studied at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in the city before completing his studies at Glasgow School of Art through a DAAD Fellowship in 2002. Recent solo exhibitions include ‘New Works’ at Villa Concordia, Bamberg, and ‘Papa Bifi’ at Atelier Wilhelmstraße 16 e.V., Stuttgart, as well as several solo exhibitions at Sprüth/Magers Projekte, Munich. The artist has participated in group exhibitions at venues internationally, including Museo Carrillo Gil, Mexico-City; 4th Berlin Biennial; W139, Amsterdam; and Lenbachhaus, Munich.

Read more on Martin Wöhrl here.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

No Money, No Honey - more installation shots!

Just over a week remaining to catch Chili Moon Town Tour Productions' sequin-tastic 'No Money, No Honey' at Spencer Brownstone Gallery. Check out a full slide show of installation shots here, and read more on the show here...

Friday, February 1, 2008

Olivier Mosset selected for Whitney Biennial

Spencer Brownstone Gallery is delighted to announce the participation of Olivier Mosset in the upcoming Whitney Biennial 2008.

Olivier, who was born in Switzerland in 1944, now spends his time between New York and Tucson, Arizona. He has had three solo exhibitions at Spencer Brownstone Gallery, most recently in March 2007.

The artist’s astute and often provocative approach to painting has kept him at the cutting-edge of contemporary art since he first came to prominence in Paris in the late 1960's, alongside Daniel Buren, Michel Parmentier, and Niele Toroni. After relocating to New York in 1978, Mosset’s body of monochrome canvases were a key influence on the generation of Neo-Geo painters who emerged in the 80’s. His selection for the 2008 Biennial underscores the continued relevance of his practice to a new generation.

Working always within painting's particular limitations and concerns, and with a deep understanding of the sensuality and physicality of color, Mosset's work nevertheless engages acutely with the network of institutional relations that underlie our encounter with art. For his 2003 solo show at Spencer Brownstone Gallery, the artist installed two huge floor-to-ceiling monochrome canvases, whose sublime scale and orange coloring were playfully undermined by the fact that the artist chose their color based on the gallery’s letterhead design.

Mosset’s shaped canvases similarly play games with our expectations of the meaning and functions of painting. In his solo show at the gallery last year, a three-part yellow circular work that was shown next to two customized motorcycles designed by legendary mechanic Indian Larry, could be read as either pure painting, or an almost absurd cipher for a motorbike-and-rider (Olivier himself is a lifelong biker). The artist’s ‘Red Dot’, 2007, a 48 inch diameter red canvas that riffs on the ubiquitous symbol for a ‘sold’ artwork, currently hangs in the gallery office for inspiration. As the late Jean Baudrillard noted, Olivier's work is "…like a witticism, in its nonsensical and elliptical form, ridiculing all the heavy armature of language and communication."

The 2008 Whitney Biennial opens at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, on March 6, and runs through June 1, 2008. Since its founding in 1932, the Biennial has evolved into the most important survey of the state of contemporary art in the United States. The 2008 Biennial is curated by Henriette Huldisch, Assistant Curator at the Whitney, and Shamim M. Momin, Associate Curator at the Whitney and Branch Director and Curator of the Whitney Museum at Altria, and overseen by Donna De Salvo, the Whitney’s Chief Curator and Associate Director for Programs.

Read more on Olivier Mosset here