images clockwise from upper left: Patrick Caulfield, Daniel Levine, Richard Paul, Andreas Blank
May 22 – June 27, 2010 • Friday–Sunday 12–6 • opening Saturday, May 22,6–8 pm
Stephanie Theodore is pleased to present In Substantiality, an exhibition of work by Andreas Blank, Patrick Caulfield, Daniel Levine, and Richard Paul that examines, eviscerates and subverts expectations of objects—the standoff between glossy appearance and ephemeral utility, desire and acquisition, substance and superficiality.
The age of the Mad Men, selling consumers dreams of worldly goods through images of sex and status, has given way to an era ruled stealthily by the spin doctors of subliminal desire. The virtual construction of self, via Facebook and its kin, presents a view of the individual as a sum total of affiliation to brands, bands, movies, food products, service providers, and icons of power. This mechanism offers comforting reassurance to the needy narcissism of contemporary life, while allowing marketing mavens to unleash hoards of unwitting spokespersons. We are what we own. Looking in a mirror, an individual sees either the flatness of a reflective surface, but more likely sees the reflection of an identity built via reification; or, perhaps one sees nothing at all.
The late Patrick Caulfield is one of the most important British painters and printmakers of the past fifty years. A contemporary of the father of Pop, Richard Hamilton, Caulfield shared his interest in the objects of ordinary life, but with a more deliberately decorative approach rooted in popular graphic design. In his much-loved series of prints Poems of Jules Laforgue Caulfield offers an impossible poetic existence and unsung heroism of the otherwise sad ordinary objects presented in isolated still life.
In a kind of absurdist updating of Caulfield’s bittersweet household things, Richard Paul, a former commercial photographer, creates peculiar encounters of unrelated objects, on a flat, pastel background. No longer lonely, these objects, shiny and appealing, bask in their own unique synthetic beauty in the eye of the camera, and in the (sometimes literal) reflection of its companion. The pairs are presented with the slick flawless appearance of a Vogue advertisement, but the straight line between object and inferred desire is given a detour into incomprehensible absurdity, and any possible solution to these riddles may not necessarily be found in any language currently spoken; yet they remain seductive.
Andreas Blank doesn’t just depict objects, he creates replacements for them. Blank investigates the changing relations of time in the transformation of material. Blank is a stonecutter by métier. But instead of depicting eternal subjects and themes, he chooses to recreate the ordinary—folded shirts, shoes, boxes, paper airplanes. The temporal nature of objects we buy, make, use and discard is replaced by monumental permanence. His works, hewn out of rare and expensive marbles and other stones, confound the viewer—no longer is a paper plane making one last flight to the recycling bin. Instead, there is the unnerving permanence of a carefully wrought homage to the overlooked.
Daniel Levine is a painter of unusual monochrome paintings — off–square works of modest scale and varying depths, with small borders to amplify the paintings' complex surfaces. After many sessions, layers of paint and the passage of time, the resulting paintings present an abundance of gesture, movement and light. But they also are able to withstand the inference of any viewer of intention, subtext, and subject matter. In the context of this exhibition, Levine’s work offer both a place of reflection and refraction—infinite subjectivity and open ended potential, within a tightly defined practice of painting.
For more information and images, please contact Stephanie Theodore at 212.966.4324 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Luise Kaunert at email@example.com.