Larissa Goldston Gallery is pleased to present Eat the Document, featuring works made from the 1970s to the present by A.K. Burns, Jimmy De Sana, Alan Shields and Eileen Quinlan. Curated by Dean Daderko, the exhibition initiates a dialogue about cross-genre and cross-disciplinary practices through the inclusion of artworks whose idiosyncratic processes push the limits of their respective mediums. The exhibition locates a space where painting, photography, performance and sculpture crossover, and refigure new possibilities for bodies of work. Eat the Document will be on view January 10th through February 23rd, 2008. There will be an opening reception on Thursday January 10th from 6 – 8 pm.
Central to the exhibition is Alan Shields’ Ajax (1972-73), a free-hanging object in the round that challenges what many people might consider a ‘painting.’ Although Ajax dates from a time in which Minimalism and Post-minimalism were the dominant aesthetic discourses, it stands clearly on a unique ground. Shields’ work breaks painting down to into its constituent parts – surface, support and process – and energizes it by creating an object that productively pushes the field’s limits with freshness and confidence.
Jimmy De Sana’s photographs from 1980, including Auto, Self Portrait; Soapsuds and Plastic Bag, are staged tableaux – performances for the camera – offering us distinct alternatives to reality. Saturated light and simple props combine to push the body’s envelope to a place where new physical and erotic frontiers come into view. De Sana was also part of a generation of artists decimated by AIDS. His groundbreaking work is still evident in that of his contemporaries, many of whom he influenced – Cindy Sherman, Laurie Simmons, James Casebere, and James Welling. They were all part of a group of artists who made pictures, as opposed to taking them. His images transplant us into playfully perverse and surreal scenes at the edges of our terrestrial limits.
At first glance, Eileen Quinlan’s photographs look like abstract paintings, or at least they don't register like photographs. Images from her series Smoke and Mirrors are just that – studio shots of reflection, shadow, atmospheric substance and light. Pushing photography’s representational aspect to an abstract extreme, Quinlan’s sharp focus brings us back to reality: the scratches on a negative, the surprising texture of a paper towel, or the chipped edge of a piece of glass refocus our attention. Pulled in by fine-grained details, these images transport us to a space where photography unfolds with new possibility.
Like Sheilds’ work, afterdye (11 weeks), 2007-08, by A.K. Burns mines an ambiguous space between sculpture and painting. This 10 by 16 foot piece of raw canvas began its life as another work. As Untitled, the same canvas’ center was punched down into a dye bath where it sat for 11 weeks. Over time, the dye crept up and over the edges of the tub, bleeding and softening as it moved out from its liquid source. Refigured and mounted horizontally on the wall, the canvas-object resembles an enormous oceanic fossil, retaining sense of its slow, creeping temporality. In green is the new black, 2007-08, groups of cast cement water bottle forms share this sense of grinding accretion.
All of the works included in Eat the Document are dismantled and reassembled in unexpected and intentionally provocative ways. Taking an object apart and putting it back together differently creates physical, temporal and conceptual gaps between what was and what is, and vital information fills these interstices. The works in this exhibition use media as a material fact, revealing spaces for productive agitation and further cultural dialogue.