AROUND TOWN: Exhibition at Microscope Gallery, “Teenage Dream Sequence: Seduction of the Eye”

Teenage Dream Sequence: Seduction of the Eye

KATHERINE BAUER

Exhibition Dates: December 15, 2013 through January 5 January 13, 2014 (extended!)
Gallery Hours: Thursday to Monday from 1:00pm to 6:00pm, or by appointment
Gallery Location: Microscope Gallery, 4 Charles Place, Brooklyn, NY 11221
Contact: 347-925-1433 / info@microscopegallery.com

Photos Below:  Courtesy of the artist and Microscope Gallery © 2013
Text Below: From Microscope Gallery (http://www.microscopegallery.com/?page_id=12312)

Katherine Bauer, "Sizzle", 2013, b/w photographic print on fiber paper, 5 x 5"

Katherine Bauer, “Sizzle”, 2013, b/w photographic print on fiber paper, 5 x 5″

Microscope is pleased to present KATHERINE BAUER, Teenage Dream Sequence: Seduction of the Eye, the third in a series of live film performance events and exhibitions, following the 2010 Black Sabbath Black Mass and this year’s Invocation of Joan of Arc, which took place at Cité Internationale des Arts, in Paris. With Seduction…, the New York-based artist continues her series inspired by coming of age rites of the American female teenager – rock & roll rebellion, teen idolization, “dirty” novels, etc. – addressing that time of transition in an interpretation of Georges Bataille’s 1928 “The Story of the Eye”.

“[Seduction…] is about the seduction of the eye, of seeing and the desires that it creates. Or of not seeing… about what we do not see… what is not there, what is imagined, in the way that [Bataille’s] novel is not about sex but desire and fantasy of discovering unknown secrets of life and death of birth and excess, death and denial.” KB

Seduction… opens with a 16mm film performance event (on 12/15) that doubles as an apparatus for the live production of photograms, which along with the film loops, projectors and ephemera from the event – the only evidence of the event that took place – will be mounted in an exhibition (opening on 12/19). The experiential, mysterious, and uncertain nature of Bauer’s work draws influence from 1960s expanded cinema, the ritualism and black magic of Kenneth Anger, Viennese Actionism, and body art among others. Seduction… may also be seen as a “literal cinema”, or a work in which content is further considered as an exploration of the material and technological nature of celluloid film and its projection.

Katherine Bauer, "Eye-O-Gram #1", 2013, egg, milk, urine, champagne on b/w photosensitive fiber paper, 42 x 100"

Katherine Bauer, “Eye-O-Gram #1″, 2013, egg, milk, urine, champagne on b/w photosensitive fiber paper, 42 x 100”

During the performance, light from 16mm film loops, projecting images of the eyes of the female performers onto their actual eyes, exposes photosensitive paper, positioned as both stage and backdrop, to capture impressions of the bodies and objects in the room. Bataille’s concepts of vision and liquids surface in the performance culminating as an erotic presence, summoned and transferred through milk, urine, and raw egg. Sound is an important and purposeful coalescence of the voices of the performers reading excerpts from Bataille’s “Story…”, analog synth compositions, and the hum of the rotating film strips.

The artworks in Seduction… are conceived not as remnants or residues, but as temporal crystallizations – the filmic surface itself composed of crystals – of the forces at play during the performance. Bauer states, “…the images are not representations, just as the performance is not an adaptation of The Story of the Eye – instead they are presentations, making its content present…”

Katherine Bauer CV

"Teenage Dream Sequence: Seduction of the Eye" - Installation View

“Teenage Dream Sequence: Seduction of the Eye” – Installation View

Katherine Bauer, "Wide Eyes/White Eggs", 2013, 16mm film strip installation, dimensions variable

Katherine Bauer, “Wide Eyes/White Eggs”, 2013, 16mm film strip installation, dimensions variable

KATHERINE BAUER works primarily with 16mm film and its material potential for sculpture, photography and installation. Much of her work involves mythologies, folklores, and narratives. Her work has previously exhibited at Participant Inc., NY; Shoot the Lobster, Dusseldorf, Germany; Place Gallery, Portland, Oregon; and Immanence Gallery, Paris, France among others. Bauer was awarded a 2012-13 Cité Internationale des Arts Paris Residency and was a recipient of a Carla Bruni-Sarkozy Foundation Fellowship (2012-13). Bauer holds a BA in film and electronic arts from Bard College and a MFA from NYU Steinhardt (2013). Bauer was born in Houston, Texas and currently lives and works in New York.

For additional information please contact Microscope Gallery at 347.925.1433 or info@microscopegallery.com

Katherine Bauer, "Wide Eyes/White Eggs", 2013, 16mm film strip installation, dimensions variable

Katherine Bauer, “Wide Eyes/White Eggs”, 2013, 16mm film strip installation, dimensions variable

Still from "Wide Eyes/White Eggs", 2013, b&w hand-processed 16mm film, 6 minutes 49 seconds, sound

Still from “Wide Eyes/White Eggs”, 2013, b&w hand-processed 16mm film, 6 minutes 49 seconds, sound

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REVIEW: The Skin of Experience: Thoughts on “Nu Age Hustle” at Momenta Art

The Skin of Experience: Thoughts on “Nu Age Hustle” at Momenta Art
written by Conor O’Brien, The Living Gallery

Momenta Art space

Momenta Art space

“Hide from a North American Empathic” by Saya Woolfalk comes with a lengthy description telling the history of the Institute of Empathy located in Greene County, New York. The Institute’s founders, according to this origin story, came upon a humanoid skeleton during an excavation in upstate New York. Through contact with this skeleton, apparently composed of both animal and plant genetic material, the excavators underwent a physical transformation that turned them into “Empathics,” a being that is “extremely receptive to the introduction of foreign genetic material.” Pictured above is the skin or “hide” shed and ornamented by an Empathic being.

“The fungal spores circulated throughout our bodies, slowly mutating our DNA”

“The fungal spores circulated throughout our bodies, slowly mutating our DNA”

The history of this Institute literalizes the empathic experience. Those who choose to become Empathic can join the Institute, come in contact with the same genetic material, and transform into one. The process of “objectifying perception” involves a senior Empathic guide help translate a junior Empathic’s lucid dreams into paintings. Ritual is experience given structure and form. It is a performance, a representation of experience, though much of the time without the performer knowing it is just performance. “Hide from a North American Empathic” is a comment on ritual, the skinning and ornamenting of experience.

“Their eye” by Elise Garcia de la Huerta

“Their eye” by Elise Garcia de la Huerta

Much of the work in the “Nu Age Hustle” show seems to deal with this process. Elisa Garcia de la Huerta’s piece “Their eye,” said to be “inspired by visualizations [the artist] experienced during a healing and alignment meditation,” uses a sewn collage of various fabrics to create a hallucinatory tapestry. The eye in the center of the piece, perhaps the negative image of the viewer’s eye, seems to project the piece outwards in a reversal of the eye’s function, projecting rather than receiving image.

“Country Ball” by Jacolby Satterwhite

“Country Ball” by Jacolby Satterwhite

The description of Elisa Garcia de la Huerta’s piece claims it is a “hymnal for amorphous and non gendered shapes floating in an exotic pleasure paradise.” Many of the pieces are similarly concerned with questions of gender, and physical v. spiritual experience. Jacolby Satterwhite’s piece “Country Ball” is made up of two screens, one playing a home video of the young artist with his siblings dancing for their mother on Mother’s Day, the other screen is made up of 3D animated “genderless” figures dancing in a psychedelic space amid floating neon letters, large wedding cakes, and barbecues. The space in the animation was inspired by Hieronymous Bosch’s triptych “Garden of Earthly Delights.”

“Shim who must be obeyed”

“Shim who must be obeyed”

Vaginal Davis creates a playful and childlike watercolor portrait of the historical figure Peter Seawally, the African American prostitute/ transvestite whose court trial wherein he defends his practice of cross dressing, sensationalized in his own time, has been appropriated as an early example of someone publicly defending queer-rights. The portrait depicts Seawally in a pink dress, the phrases “alias Eliza Smith,” “alias Mary Jones” repeated in the margins of the portrait. Within the dress, the artist’s signature “VDasPS” is written repeatedly. Below the figure is the tongue in cheek phrase “Shim who must be obeyed/ Peter Seawally the He/She Monster.”

“Trilluminati Universiddhi” by Katie Cercone

“Trilluminati Universiddhi” by Katie Cercone

As the multi-level pun title suggests, Katie Cercone’s “Trilluminate Universiddhi” combines elements of hip-hop, new age meditation, materialism, and Disney movies. A small television set sits on the floor surrounded by the ephemera of an adolescent girl: doll house, Disney bed sheets, lotion, skis, fake wedding cake, etc, creating an overwhelmingly decadent setting. A small television plays a video of the artist in various yoga poses, the artist’s cover of A$AP Rocky’s “Purple Swag” plays in the background, interspersed with her singing a song from “The Little Mermaid:” “Wouldn’t you think I’m a girl who has everything…I want more.”

“Mandala of the B-Bodhisattva” by Sandford Biggers

“Mandala of the B-Bodhisattva” by Sandford Biggers

Sanford Biggers’ video installation “Mandala of the B-Bodhisattva II,” similarly incorporates elements of both ancient spiritual ritual with modern pop culture. The video features a inter-borough breakdancing competition that takes place on a dance floor designed with reference to the sacred geometry of Bhuddist mandala.

“Borne from Hannah Ch’oe’s quest to heal her grandmother’s heartached skin”

“Borne from Hannah Ch’oe’s quest to heal her grandmother’s heartached skin”

Greem Jellyfish’s piece “Analgesic, Narcotic and Hypnotic Massage Lotion” features a collage resembling a disoriented magazine ad: disembodied hands applying lotion to a woman amid a waterfall collage. The motion of these hands is at once soothing and violent, they seem to claw or scratch as they massage in the “hypnotic” lotion. Next to the picture is the lotion itself, and a pair of headphones playing a meditative 13 minute track. The description to the left of the portrait collage mimics the language of advertisement, saying of the lotion: “Sad in any state will benefit from this nourishing treatment, but it is especially suited for sad complexions.”

“Greem Jellyfish at Jeoungsimsa Temple” another piece by Greem Jellyfish in the show

“Greem Jellyfish at Jeoungsimsa Temple” another piece by Greem Jellyfish in the show

Greem Jellyfish’s piece evokes this relationship between advertising and ritual. She uses many of the same signifiers that are found in advertisements, though these signifiers are used in such a way that they become disorienting. The images of waterfalls and hands applying lotion crowd and overlap with the female model in the photo. The written description, while certainly appropriating the phrasing, sentence structure of written advertisements, is actually more poetic than it is coherent: “It helps heal even the most frozen heart’s complexions” or “To this day, each lotion is filled by recorder flute to maintain its delicate balance.”

If ritual can be defined as a kind of guided experience, then advertisements are certainly ritualistic. Advertisements do not just present a product to the public, they regulate how the prospective consumer should experience the product. Ads inundate their viewers with particular associations, creating a context in which the consumer uses the product, and guides them toward a desired end result, i.e. spiritual fulfillment. The consumer is normally an unknowing participant in this performance, unaware that the seemingly genuine fulfillment they experience is actually something they’ve been trained to associate with use of that product. This is the way most rituals, religious or secular, work.

“Lechem oni/Prusa” by Tobaron Waxman

“Lechem oni/Prusa” by Tobaron Waxman

The relationship between ritual and experience is further complicated in the piece by Tobaron Waxman. Several bars of soap are piled in a corner of the gallery and encased within each one is a piece of matzah shmura, a kind of bread which in Jewish tradition must be kept dry during Passover. Besides from being described as an allusion to the Holocaust and the Nazi practice of making soap from the fat of Jewish bodies, the piece is also described in this way: “If handwashing is an allegory for relinquishing accountability, the closer the washer gets to the matzah, the closer they are to rendering it the antithesis of itself.” It is a conceptual piece that hypothetically combines the sacred and profane into the same gesture: the secular ritual of cleaning oneself, which induces by association a feeling of spiritual cleaning, i.e. feeling “fresh” or “reborn,” is complicated by the act of profaning the matzah as well as the pieces deliberate evocation of the Holocaust. The soap may clean ones body, but the spiritual associations are prevented from being experienced. The piece reveals the more spiritual elements of self-cleaning to be externally imposed, which we are conditioned to associate with the use of certain products.

For more information on this gallery space, visit: MomentaArt