Stephen Mallon: "Reframing the Machine" exhibition at Webster University's May Gallery

Stephen Mallon: Reframing the Machine

Stephen Mallon: Reframing the Machine:

March 2 - 30, 2012

Friday, March 2 , 1 pm: Artist Talk with Stephen Mallon with a screening of his award-winning short, A Bridge Delivered, 1pm, in Sverdrup 101

Friday, March 2 , Opening Reception 5-7pm

Re-framing the Machine follows Stephen Mallon's winding journey of searching out his industrial landscapes. From out-takes to the decisive and violent recycling of New York City, Mallon's selects of the past decade's picture hunting are here to see.

One of the exhibition's featured projects is images of subway cars being dumped into the Atlantic. More than 2,500 of New York's decommissioned subway cars are laid to rest on the eternal seabed. Gutted and windowless, the hardest workers in the mobile world fall down to the new base, where they now forever serve another population. Mallon's photographs elicit both the sadness and the beauty of cascading water overtaking these iconic figures of New York transit as they sink beneath the surface of the water; surges and sprays are caught in time.

Another image in the exhibition is the only passenger jet aircraft to ditch in water with zero fatalities. Time moves and memories fade. Three years have passed, and it can be difficult to recall the moment for one heard the news of a passenger jet landing in a river in New York. The feelings of shock, awe, disbelief, and amazement come rushing back when seeing an airplane emerging from the icy water.

Most recently, Mallon spent six months producing a short film about the transport and installation of the new Willis Street Bridge. Produced from more than 30,000 still images, the time lapse film, "A Bridge Delivered," was reviewed by the Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, GQ, PDN and Wired. "A Bridge Delivered" will be shown at Mr. Mallon's afternoon talk and during the opening reception.

Opening Reception in the gallery Friday, March 2, 5-7 pm

The May Gallery is located on the second floor, west wing, of the Sverdrup Building at 8300 Big Bend Boulevard, Webster Groves MO 63119. Hours are Monday-Friday, 9:00 am-9:00 pm; Saturday-Sunday, noon-5:00 pm.

Julia Whitney Barnes featured in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, article by Mike Weiss

Brooklyn Artist Julia Whitney Barnes: Paintings to Ceramics to Murals

Brooklyn artist Julia Whitney Barnes is seen in Red Hook.  Eagle photo by Mike WeissBrooklyn artist Julia Whitney Barnes is seen in Red Hook.
Eagle photo by Mike Weiss

By Mike Weiss
Brooklyn Daily Eagle

WILLIAMSBURG — At the Front Room gallery in Williamsburg is a 5-foot-tall painting, on which a cool muted blue moves like a stream through an abstract landscape of blazing orange-reds. Within this landscape, the natural forms of clouds and trees contrast with the fractured struts of a tree house. It is a confluence of tensions, a signpost in a colorful twilight zone where passages of dark oblivion compete with swirling steps to a heavenly window, a small escape hatch to the freedom of an open sky.

“Treehouse (Island)” is a painting by Brooklyn artist Julia Whitney Barnes, an artist whose work ranges from studio painting to ceramics to public art. Formally trained as an oil painter, she also has earned “street cred” from her projects across the city, such as a mural along a highway in Harlem and, in 2009, her life-sized bat sculptures that hung from willow trees in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

We spoke in her studio at the Screwball Spaces complex in Red Hook.

Q: You grew up on the gritty, mean streets of Vermont?

A: I was born in Vermont, but I grew up all over New England. I lived on both the east and west sides of Massachusetts and Connecticut and in 1997 I came to New York to go to Parsons School of Design. I decided when I was 16 I was going to move to New York City and be an artist, and about two days after turning 18 I moved here. I’ve been here ever since.

Q: Did you always want to be an artist?

A: No. When I was a little kid I thought about becoming a veterinarian and I also played music, the saxophone and trumpet. But when I was 14 I started thinking about what it was like to make art and how art was a direct translation of my thoughts and more creative for me.

So for high school I went to the Norwich Free Academy in Connecticut, which has a fine arts program. Starting my sophomore year I got to take all different types of art classes, and the teachers were inspiring and taught me so much. That foundation was really invaluable.

Q: You work a lot in ceramics — do you consider yourself primarily a painter or a ceramicist?

A: The ceramics people always think you’re a painter and the painting people are like, “oh, but she makes work in ceramics.” I think 10 years ago there was still very much a separation between them, but now I see more and more shows where people are doing interdisciplinary work with mixed media. So ceramics has definitely come away from the “craft” title. I just call myself a visual artist, but I think I approach ceramics as a painter.

Q: How is that?

A: Well, okay. I started working in ceramics when I was at Parsons and while I had formal training in painting I didn’t have any in ceramics. So after Parsons I signed up to take a class at this place called The Mud Pit in Brooklyn and thought okay, now I’m going to learn how to work with clay. But the clay people were like, “no, no, no, you can’t do this,” or “you can’t use glazes like that it doesn’t work,” and I kept saying, “yes it does, I’ve already tried it.”

Q: Starting around 2004 you began an intensive five-year period painting portraits of bats where their faces and folded wings change into the colorful shapes of flowers. Was the tension created by combining these two very different forms your main goal?

A: I think orchids have the reputation of being “the beautiful” or the “precious” and bats of being “dangerous” and “grotesque” and I definitely wanted a level of tension from those two meeting. But I didn’t just want to combine pieces of them, I wanted it to feel like they were mating, as if they were actually creating something new.

I’d always been interested in bats but once I started looking into them for these portraits, I started seeing there were so many species. There’re nearly a thousand, and it’s mind-blowing the ways they can adapt to live all over the world.

One of the things they do, over thousands of years, is morph into looking like the plants around them. Then I read how orchids, over the same huge amounts of time, can start emulating the forms of the animals that pollinate them. I saw a photograph of an orchid whose center looked just like the nose of this bat I was looking at.

Q: In your 2011 painting “Treehouse (Island),” the tension starts to feel as if it’s coming from more subtle sources. Instead of arising from a combination of unusually paired forms, there’s now the mixing of different perspectives which creates a charged, almost magical sense of space.

A: Yeah. I thought a lot about the perspective and spatial aspects, where the viewer should be and how the size of the painting affects the way your body relates to it. I worked on this piece for over two years, and I think the reason it took so long was because I wanted to create an atmosphere. There are so many layers on that painting, the clouds, the water, the treehouse forms, [they] are all created by layers of paint. Seeing through these transparent layers you’re watching something reveal itself, yet camouflaged at the same time. It’s a very personal painting.

With my ceramic pieces you can walk around them and they seem to change because of the relief, and that definitely influenced my paintings. I wanted to feel like you could explore a space pictorially and use that same level of illusionism.

Q: Last spring, you designed and directed a mural project at 155th Street in Harlem called “Roots/Routes.” Completed with the help of 250 volunteers, the mural runs along 2,000 feet of concrete highway barriers, painted in cheerful day-glo colors of yellow and green, overlaid with a design that appears to be black roots snaking up out of the ground.

A: You know, when you make public art there are certain things you can and can’t do. This piece was commissioned by the Department of Transportation as part of their Urban Art Program. But I think if I get it right, the piece still has an underbelly of tension that I try to have in my work.

That mural is right by this huge housing project and one day a woman came by, looked at it and said, “Yo, that shit is mad creepy — but I like it!” And I thought, “Yes!”

Q: What do you like about living in Brooklyn?

A: I have a car and I love driving around, exploring. Sometimes I’ll drive to a point where I don’t even know where I am and get out and just start walking. I’ve always been interested in the art of cemeteries, I love Green-Wood Cemetery and the old Victorian houses in Kensington, churches and synagogues, and I photograph old theaters all the time. When I first moved here I lived in the East Village and the neighborhood has good energy, but I didn’t feel like I had a home until I moved to Brooklyn and then I finally felt like this is home.

“Treehouse (Island),” Julia Whitney Barnes’s 2011 oil painting, will be on exhibit at the Front Room gallery in Williamsburg until Feb. 26.

Second Friday Event at Front Room

2nd Friday Event at Front Room Gallery

Join us this Friday from 7-10pm for an evening of Sound Performance curated by Jeremy Slater in conjunction with our current exhibition, "In-Habitat."

Friday February 10th, 7-10

Ian Epps

Gregory Reynolds
Maria Papadomanolaki (Dalot) and ( )

Ian Epps, is a Sonic/Visual Artist whose explorations are invested in how an object speaks, utters, and dissolves itself within its given surroundings. His work has been exhibited in the Walker Art Center, Lovebytes Biennial (Sheffield, UK), A.I.R. Gallery (NYC), EYEDRUM (Atlanta, GA), and SIGGRAPH. He has performed alongside and in collaboration with Rafael Toral, Andrew Deutsch and Pauline Oliveros, Mountains, Jozef Van Wissem among many others. Epps’s recent releases can be found on SoftL Music, Grain of Sound, Powershovel Audio, On;(do), Seasonal, and Unframed Recordings. free mp3 release

Maria Papadomanolaki is a Greek sound artist, curator and author, currently based in New York City. She works within the fields of experimental and electro-acoustic composition, including sound design for dance and video, field recording, telematic performance, installation and radio art. Papadomanolaki aims to establish a refined relationship with space, memory and identity through the many different manifestations of sound as a source material, a carrier of a dense network of information, an aesthetic intervention, a physical or ethereal trigger and a form of detritus or novelty and re-evaluation, just to name a few important ones. Her work is also characterized by the notions of participatory understanding and exploration of shared experiences and surrounding environments, as well as the sonification of textural and material peculiarities such as the hidden life of surfaces and urban architectural structures. In the past, she has worked extensively on text-based soundpieces and on the idea of expanding a written text in space through the use of interactive music software; a field that she often revisits.

Jeremy D. Slater
a.k.a. ( ) is a sound artist essentially, but also works with video and sound in performance and installation settings. Performances include sound and live performed video that is ambient and sometimes reactive. Video work also includes single and multiple channel videos for screening and installations with sound and ephemeral sculpture. Jeremy was one of the 1999 recipients of the Computer Art Fellowship from New York Foundation of the Arts (NYFA) and has attended the Experimental Television Residency was artist in residence at Seoul Art Space in Geumcheon in Seoul, South Korea. He has exhibited and performed nationally and internationally.

Gregory Reynolds is a multi-instrumentalist/composer who lives in Queens. He is going to perform a piece for electric guitar that is informed/inspired by the ocean(s), tidal patterns, standing waves, and electric fans.

Rothwell is a member of the band Frogwell. In this band he sings and plays guitar, flute, autoharp, dulcimer, shruti box, percussion, keyboards, sampler and electronics. He also plays in Taxidermy Cats on Subwoofers, Caledonian Laughing Bags and North Window. He records under the alias of Laughing Bag. Current whereabouts unknown.

In-Habitat Exhibition Extended Through February 26th

"In-Habitat" Exhibition

Julia Whitney Barnes
Gregory Curry
Lisa DiLillo
Kim Holleman
Now on view through February 26th
Friday, February 10th: Sound Performance curated by Jeremy Slater
Front Room Gallery is proud to present, “In-Habitat” an exhibition of new works by: Julia Whitney Barnes, Gregory Curry, Lisa DiLillo, and Kim Holleman. In the exhibition “In-Habitat” each artist takes a unique perspective of the concept of habitat, and what it is to inhabit this world.
Gregory Curry’s paintings relate his postulations of a post human environment inspired by and extrapolated from the various dynamic conditions now impacting on the human animal. The environments and entities that populate his paintings seem imbued with pure energy on a primordial level, set against a background of contrasting complimentary colors. Curry utilizes familiar modes of representation such as rendering, perspective and classic spatial relationships in a way that draws the viewers into these uncanny realms, relating our temporality within an environment of elemental particles and genetic materials.
Lisa DiLillo creates nocturnal landscapes and still lives that engage luminosity as a visual correlation to nature's life force. The photographs depict a liminal state where subjects are transforming or are in the process of coming into being, reflecting on our evolving environment and on unusual climatic occurances. The intensity and incertitude of these photographs underscore the idea that the more we investigate nature the more mystifying and complex it becomes.
Rooted simultaneously in science while evoking the fantastic, Julia Whitney Barnes creates works that reinterpret life and the natural environment. Her paintings explore the complex relationship and power struggles of humans with nature, and the contradictions in which our society gives life to and reveres nature while abusing and overlooking it. Her large scale oil painting depicting a tree house abstracted with layers transparencies and lush patches of color, transposes elements of the forest and individual trees with the interior panels of a the structure, relating her desire for a more balanced relationship with nature.
Kim Holleman relates environmental issues of contamination of our natural resources, brought on by radioactive fallout, chemicals seeping into ground water, oil spills and the ephemera in our petro-chemical environment. She infers the impact of these elements and the increasing toll on our natural environment, presenting an installation of displays and scenes, colliding natural and artificial reality, both fantastical and frightening, into a curio collection gone awry. This faux-scientific archive shows us beautiful, sometimes-toxic parks, public spaces, visions of nostalgic environments and constructions straining towards natural growth, but spinning out of control, coated to saturation which threatens their very existence.

L Magazine Review by Deirdre Hering

Artists Imagine Inhabitable Habitats


Anyone can tell you that relationships are complicated, but there isn’t one as urgent or all-encompassing as the one between the earth and its inhabitants. Front Room Gallery’s group show In-Habitat (through February 19th) deals with four artists’ concern for the natural world, and what it means to live here.

Painter Gregory Curry creates abstracted figures in oil using classical techniques. Barely distinguishable from their brightly colored backgrounds, the bodies are at once familiar and otherworldly. Photographer Lisa DiLillo captures nocturnal landscapes up close. Peppered with sparks of light, her images are wonderfully dynamic—shafts of wheat bend low in a breeze; the pale stem of a young flower stretches painfully skyward.

The lone sculptures in the show belong to Kim Holleman. Her landscapes thrive in artificial surroundings; Holleman’s miniature ecosystems live and breathe inside of chemistry equipment (glass beakers and Erlenmeyer flasks). Though the forms inside are organic in shape, they look anything but natural—the leaves and rocks come in an array of Crayola colors. Their borders defined by human intervention, Holleman’s sculptures reflect the environs of today’s natural world: severely limited, and marked indelibly by human influence.

The works by Julia Whitney Barnes indicate a desire for a more harmonious relationship with nature. Barnes combines organic imagery—think abstracted clouds and roots —with renderings of man-made materials. In a mixed-media piece, Barnes affixes an image of a tree house over a dusky forest scene. The house melts easily into the trees, creating a touching visual balance between what is wild and what is not. The piece seems to almost sigh—if only it was this easy in real life.

(Kim Holleman, “Ferrous Tree”; Courtesy the artist, Front Room Gallery)

The L Magazine