Potemkin // Body
January 27, 2018–March 11, 2018
Reception: Saturday January 27, 6–9pm
Ann Greene Kelly, Cécile Krähenbühl, Devin N. Morris, Mario Navarro
organized by Ramsay Kolber
Potemkin//Body is both workaround and wall: a framework built from a façade // surface as functioning surrogate.
It is avatar identities, assumed structures of knowing and behavior, illusions of safety/prosperity/space. It is the abstract body in variable forms: political, physical, virtual, and architectural. It is not static, nor whole–rather changeable, material unto itself.
Surfacing from the notion of the Potemkin Village, this group exhibition seeks to investigate the ways in which media and medium shift our understanding of personal and social structures, and how they can be (de)constructed.
Working across and between disciplines, the artists included independently interrogate the solidity and definition of accepted frameworks, whether a question of physical environment, personal identity, or societal constraint. They thrive in the fluidity formed between surface strictures and internal substance, actively engaging space as a form of subversion. Seemingly sound while intentionally elusory, these works repeatedly dissolve and reform anew, destabilizing the physical site and body as a source of certainty.
In turn, the truth of the Potemkin Village was an intended lie. A self-reflexive myth in content and construction, it was deception employed towards political capital. Yet whether material or mirage, the structure was built // alternative, meta, resolved // out of nothing–and so it remains.
Ann Greene Kelly (b. New York, NY) lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. She received her BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art, MD in 2010. Working across drawing and sculpture, Kelly's practice shifts between spaces at once personal and private. While the artist's intuitive approach to object-making alludes to the physical body, her drawings render figures as elusively environmental. Fluid between urban and domestic environs, these bodies couple and contort illusionistic space, muddling the boundaries between interior identity and exterior site. Kelly has had solo shows at AND NOW, Dallas; Chapter NY, New York; and White Columns, New York. Her works have been included in group shows at Michael Benevento, Los Angeles; White Flag Projects, St. Louis; David Zwirner, New York; and Stems Gallery, Brussels.
Cécile Krähenbühl (b. CH) lives in Montreux and works in Lausanne, Switzerland. In 2016, she graduated from the Geneva School of Art and Design (HEAD – Genève) with a BFA in Fashion Design. Her "couvertures" represent a collaborative commission with the Geneva-based interdisciplinary space HIT, run by artist and director Anne Minazio. Sourcing imagery from previous exhibitions and events at HIT, Krähenbühl created composite architectural environments printed on fabric and later stitched by hand. Multidimensional and intended for use, these "couvertures" may be worn, laid out, draped, or suspended. Both skin and surface, they intertwine illusionistic, architectural spaces with the physical body as both activation site and armature. Krähenbühl is currently collaborating with fellow HEAD graduate Rafaela Almeida on AK LEBINÔME, a fashion and textile design partnership, to launch a men and womenswear collection.
Devin N. Morris (b. Baltimore, MD) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York and has a background in Journalism and New Media as well as Fashion Merchandizing. Employing various digital, physical, and immersive strategies, Morris's multimedia practice focuses on collage and dissonance as a means to engage societal conventions and expectations. His works are at once emotionally charged and sumptuous, as subjects appear simultaneously familiar and out of reach. In these interactions between person and place, both intimate and imagined, Morris constantly serves to breakdown and reconfigure what one assumes of the spaces we occupy, both within and outside of ourselves. In 2017, Morris had solo shows AC Institute, New York and Terrault Contemporary, Baltimore. He is the founding editor of 3 Dot Zine, and spoke at MoMA, New York in 2017 regarding the importance of publications as forums for collaboration and exchange.
Mario Navarro (b. CA) is a Mexican American artist who lives and works in New York. He received his BA in Architecture from Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Occidente (ITESO), Guadalajara, Mexico in 2008. While active across a range of media, Navarro's practice utilizes sculpture and space as a means to interrogate the legacy and assumptions of architectural models and language. Through site-specific interventions and an attention to material structures, Navarro accentuates the slippage between physical and social architectures and their assumed function and form. He has had recent solo shows at SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, GA; Proyecto Paralelo, Mexico City; and Komagome SOKO, Tokyo, Japan. His work has been included in group exhibitons at Johannes Vogt Gallery, NY; Museo de Arte de Zapopan, Mexico; and International Studio and Curatorial Program (ISCP), Brooklyn, NY. Navarro is currently a Visual Arts Resident at Pioneer Works, Brooklyn, NY.
Ramsay Kolber is an arts professional living and working in New York, NY. She currently serves as Senior Museum Educator / Museum Guide and Academic Programs Coordinator at the Brooklyn Museum, and works part-time at the gallery, Chapter NY. Previously, she held positions at Independent Curators International (ICI) and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York. She holds an MA in Global Conceptualism from the Courtauld Institute of Art, London, and her writing has appeared in Hyperallergic and 3rd Dimension, PMSA Journal.