Andrea Rosen Gallery: Katy Moran | Lior Shvil - Operation OZ Belev-Yam - 5 May 2011 to 11 June 2011
May 5 – June 11, 2011
Opening reception: Wednesday, May 4, 2011 6:00-8:00pm
These new works evocatively deepen and expand Moran's exploration of the sensation of painting, and although they remain in their characteristically small format, it is remarkable how the paintings reflect a dynamic push and pull between boundaries that feel at once immeasurable and yet profoundly essential.
We're astounded by just how provocative these new paintings are, in both their attraction and in the mystery of how they are put together, especially in a time in which we think we understand everything there is to know about painting. Each work presents a unique and enigmatic exploration of the vacillation between abstraction and representation. The paintings, so deliberate, descriptive and expressive in each brushstroke, tempt us to try to find a reference, in order to satisfy the urge to assign specific meaning to their intensity. Moran's deeply personal and subjective approach to painting becomes intertwined with our own subjectivity as viewers, leaving us at the loaded cusp of approaching the works intellectually or through pure sensation. The smaller format of the paintings assists this particular and resonant oddness, as formal nuances and gestures proceed and recede from focus as the paintings are viewed from different distances.
Moran's recent practice has included radical approaches and strategies which allow for the slippage of theory in to the intensity, irrationality and violence of letting go. Many of the new works incorporate collage, of found material and even the layering of the canvas itself, creating both beautiful and disruptive nuances of texture and form. By starting a painting with collage, Moran is able to remove the self-conscious first act of making a mark or choosing a color, immediately liberating herself from the demand traditionally associated with the artist's first gesture. In some cases, by starting the collage on large 4 x 5 meter MDF boards and then beginning to paint over top, the expansive scale gives room for the paint to cover and to crop, and even then for the paint itself to be washed away and removed. From this wide angle perspective Moran can zoom in to a particular passage or "sweet spot" of a shape or color that reveals itself as essential to the bigger picture, which can then be excised from its larger context and isolated, or distilled and combined with another work. In one particular painting, "funhilser bay" Moran has cut pieces of the canvas off of one frame and recombined them with another work. The result is at once a strikingly resonant contemporary and yet evanescent image, that through the collage of canvas also engages with the history of distorted form and the constructive brushstrokes of post-impressionist painting.
Moran's more recent investigations of materiality and appropriation are not relegated to notions of surface, but also to notions of the objecthood or the subversive life of the canvas itself. One work is painted on an old cheese board that Moran found at a charity shop, another work, "circus clown and friend," on a vintage tray whose edges provide an unexpected frame for the painting. In "bear fun," it was the back of the found board that provided the perfect slippery surface, akin to oil paint, on which Moran instead applied acrylic and varnish with an expressive and lyrical energy. Punctuating the work are the old eye hooks that playfully and steadfastly remind us that the work we are looking at was once in fact another painting which is now obscured from our view.
As always in Moran's work, there is a dynamic push and pull between the addition and the removal of paint. In some works the thick application of paint seems to tantalizingly obscure, while in other works, Katy's removal of the painterly gesture, with rags dipped in varnish or even by sanding, further complicates and deepens our reading of the expression. The tension between the marks made with paint and what Moran reveals or hides with these gestures, and the marks made by the process of the washing of the canvas, letting it dry and then washing it again, or the passages of fabric dipped in varnish which literally and gesturally wipes the paint away, creates a meaningful slippage. There is a dazzling oscillation between what we can learn from the processes of addition and subtraction, what we think and what we sense, and our response to the presence of both.
Katy Moran was born in 1975 in Great Britain. She studied at the Royal College of Art, where she was part of the highly regarded painting MA program. In addition to her 2008 exhibition at Andrea Rosen Gallery, she has had solo exhibitions at Stuart Shave Modern Art in London and Anthony Meier in San Francisco. Moran has been included in group exhibitions at the Tate Britain and Parasol Unit in London, and at the Kunstverein Freiberg in Germany. She had a solo exhibition at the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, Middlesbrough, England, Tate St Ives, Cornwall, England, and most recently presented "Six Solos, Katy Moran," at the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio, November 6, 2010 – February 13, 2011.
Lior Shvil - Operation OZ Belev-Yam
curated by Andrea Zittel
May 5 - June 11, 2011
Opening reception: Wednesday, May 4, 6-8 pm
Opening performance: Wednesday, May 4, 7 pm
Andrea Rosen Gallery is pleased to present Lior Shvil's first solo exhibition in New York, Operation OZ Belev-Yam, curated by Andrea Zittel, in Gallery 2. The work is characterized by Shvil's sense of absurdist humor, intimacy and pathos which all serve to frame political issues as larger existential problems rather then ideological positions.
The first character we meet in Shvil's latest work is Benni, played by Shvil – and presented as a large projection on the back wall of the gallery. Benni is a veteran officer of the Israeli Special Forces who manages combat training for a private company abroad that specializing in the creation of private security forces. His character is a specialist, a survivalist, and his language reveals these underlying ideologies of power.
Under Benni's command, the warrior OZ (also played by Shvil) performs a training exercise as live performance in the Vessel 101 – which later also appears as surveillance-style footage. The Vessel 101, a large framed structure, evokes a ship that is invaded by the warrior's movements throughout its orifices – as Shvil problematizes male power and aggression with the violence of his movements, the character in a sense violates and defiles the vessel. The last characters played by Shvil are a series of victims whose photographic images populate a series of targets that the warrior OZ uses for his training mission.
OZ Belev-Yam (meaning "brave in deep water" in Hebrew) refers to the period of time before the establishment of Israel. The story of OZ Belev-Yam is told to children, (in much the same way that we use Western Stories in our culture), to create narratives of good and evil and instill values of bravery, heroism and valor. In Benni Engage and Control, Shvil takes those heroes and puts them in contemporary narrative – through his eyes we see a more corrupted and absurd rendition of this ideology. The vessel in his story is derived from the Zionist myth of the Exodus – a ship that left France in 1947 with a cargo of Holocaust survivor refugees – but was commandeered by the British Royal Navy before it was allowed to reach Israel, and its passengers returned to Europe. Shvil contrasts this event to present day politics in which actions are reversed as Israeli forces intercept foreign boats destined for Gaza.
In the process of creating this work, Shvil has defined three types of aggression. True aggression, which he describes as being loaded with personality and ideology, conditioned aggression (such as the warrior's), which is generated by the military, is characterized by a standardized blind rage and is deeply instilled without being personal. And finally, commoditized aggression, as exemplified by Benni – which is the least personal form of aggression, generally emotionless, motivated more by the need for power than by fear or passion.
Shvil's material is drawn from direct observation of situations and events in his own life, or stories told to him by friends. Benni Engage and Control is based on practices in Israeli and US culture that play a substantive role in shaping both personal lives and international political relations – but which don't appear in mainstream media. For instance, since the 1980s there has been a market for ex-Israeli military personnel in order to fulfill duties in foreign private sectors and oversee military operations.
Shvil creates potent images and charged, psychologically juxtaposed environments through a range of mediums, including sculpture, video, photography, painting and live performance. Through the use of his own physical body, which is in turn punished, heroicized, ridiculed, and eroticized, Shvil creates a cast of characters who act as both the oppressors and the oppressed.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of live performances.
Wednesday May 4: (during opening reception) 7:00 pm
Saturday, May 14: 1:00 pm
Saturday, May 21: 1:00 pm
Saturday, June 4: 1:00 pm
Saturday, June 11: 1:00 pm
Supported by Artis - Contemporary Israeli Art Fund
Lior Shvil was born in Tel Aviv, Israel and lives and works in New York. In 2010 he received his M.F.A from Columbia University. He has a Bachelor's degree in Architecture, and has completed a Post Graduate program in Art and Design from the Bezalel Academy, Jerusalem. Shvil has recently been included in shows at the Sculpture Center, NY; Socrates Sculpture Park, NY and in an exhibition dedicated to performance curated by Rirkrit Tiravanija especially for the 2010 Miami Art Basel. Shvil has had solo exhibitions at Herzliya Museum of Art, Herzelia, Israel (2008); The Heder Gallery, Tel- Aviv, Israel (2005) and Hamidrasha Gallery, Beit Berl, Israel (2004).
For additional press information and images please contact Jessica Eckert, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Renee Reyes, email@example.com