Andrea Meislin Gallery is proud to present Decadal Variations; a celebratory exhibition, marking the gallery’s 10th anniversary. The exhibition will be on view October 15, 2014- January 9, 2015, and is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue with essays by Shelley Rice and Nissan Perez. In conjunction with the exhibition Andrea Meislin Gallery will host a series of public programs featuring artist talks, film screenings, and live performances.
Artists: Ilit Azoulay, Daniel Bauer, Rina Castelnuovo, Michal Chelbin, Andy Freeberg, Barry Frydlender, Vardi Kahana, Naomi Leshem, Tal Shochat, Angela Strassheim, Pavel Wolberg.
Since its inception in 2004, Andrea Meislin Gallery has presented over 60 exhibitions and the works of dozens of artists. Decadal Variations is an anthology, an historical overview and a vantage point to the future. The exhibition is a celebration of artistic appreciation by curators and cultural institutions, with each work being part of a major museum or public collection; attesting to the global recognition of artistic, aesthetic and cultural values.
While by a diverse group of artists, ranging in age, location and nationality – the works highlight repeating themes in the gallery’s vast exhibition history-- recurring aesthetic and artistic concerns, shared preoccupations and a wide range of photographic practices. Personal and national identity; time and place; political commentary and social critique are the thematic threads that run the gamut of this show, tying together disparate and distant practices into one cohesive statement. Each work alone, and the exhibition as a whole, are representative of the gallery’s programming in the past decade and are evidence of the gallery’s commitment to curatorial recognition.
Barry Frydlender’s depiction of Israeli reality is joined by Tal Shochat’s utopian renderings of an edenic existence. Ilit Azoulay and Daniel Bauer’s work, exhibited together for the first time, team to challenge our notions of order, balance and hierarchy within a photographic plane. Angela Strassheim and Naomi Leshem offer interpretations of the psychological conditions of youth in contemporary society, while Michal Chelbin, Pavel Wolberg and Andy Freeberg’s works open a window into the inner worlds of inaccessible communities, rendering the invisible visible for a brief moment.
While all the works shown are photographs, not all were made with the use of a camera. Daniel Bauer’s 75% Mattress (2002), for instance, was created simply with a scanner. Bauer focused on his bed, his marital and familial bed, by physically recording its surface, inch by inch, with a large scanner; he then digitally stitched the files together to create a remarkably life-like rendering – of what he calls “the evidence of many years of life”.
Known for its multiplicity of details, Barry Frydlender’s work is the outcome of a laborious process of digital construction. Created out of hundreds of photos taken over long periods of time, Frydlender’s seamless assembly of frames creates the illusion of documentary photography. His large-scale work Blessing (2005) evokes the biblical era while engaging one of the many realities of life in Israel. It is both political and self-reflexive, and invites a subtle critical view into Israeli society.
Frydlender’s technological process can be seen in a way as a predecessor to Ilit Azoulay’s working methods and formal investigations. Azoulay works in photomontage and digital assembly to construct photographic compositions of imaginary environments. Using objects collected in construction and demolition sites in Tel Aviv, Azoulay’s compositions are archival and archaeological in nature. Her photographs turn mundane objects into precious artifacts. Through the archival process, the objects are now rendered as a testimony to that which has passed, to the residues of a not-so-distant history. The contemplation that follows this process reminds us of the significance of small histories within a broad social narrative.
While Bauer, Frydlender, and Azoulay’s practices are inherently explorations of the photographic medium, other artists choose a classical approach to photography to present artistic concerns and investigations. Pavel Wolberg’s photograph of a group of Hasidic Jews at a wedding offers a rare glimpse into the insular and secluded communities of the ultra-orthodox sects in Israel. The composition is realistic and informative in nature, yet elusive and mystical—reflecting the feeling of the rituals Wolberg documents. Visually, Wolberg’s images take the vocabulary of his personal past in photojournalism; however, the sensitivity to detail and use of light and shadow immediately cast associations to the European Old Masters.
A similar documentary impulse is recognizable in Michal Chelbin’s striking portrait of young children in Eastern Europe. Alicia, Ukraine (2005) reveals the gaps that exist between the odd and the ordinary, and calls to re-examine ideas of normality and abnormality, and the significance of the mainstream narratives to contemporary society.
Angela Strassheim’s photograph presents an uncanny, dream-like scene loaded with psychological complexity. Rife with symbolism, her work offers up narratives that examine the subtext of innocence and normalcy, and confront American societal conventions.
Naomi Leshem’s documentation of a sleeping girl in Germany encapsulates the inherent tensions experienced by youth worldwide, and puts forward questions about the role of the individual in a larger societal context, regardless of physical place or location. Leshem’s subjects are forever suspended in a momentary limbo between zones; between full awareness and reflection; life and death.
Ultimately the works in this show are engaged in an ongoing dialogue with one another. As if in a ballroom dancing the waltz -- meeting at certain points or moments, and drifting away once again – constantly maintaining a balance of contact and distance.
Decadal Variations is a pause in time; a moment to look back and reflect on the common motivations and interests shared by the gallery’s artists throughout the years. It is also an opportunity to reflect on the differences and variety of practices and inquires of each artist. However, more than anything, this exhibition is an outlook to the future, to the possibilities and opportunities afforded to us by art and culture.
Museums and Public Collections:
Ilit Azoulay The Centre Pompidou, Paris
Daniel Bauer The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
Rina Castelnuovo The Margulies Collection, Miami
Michal Chelbin The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Andy Freeberg The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Barry Frydlender The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Vardi Kahana The Tel Aviv Museum of Art
Naomi Leshem The Norton Museum, Palm Beach
Tal Shochat The Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Angela Strassheim The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Pavel Wolberg The George Eastman House, Rochester
January 17 at 1 PM | Panel Discussion: Megan Holly Witko; with Daniel Bauer, Ofri Caaani, and Assaf Evron
In an intimate conversation led by Megan Holly Witko (curatorial associate, Dia Art Foundation), gallery artists Daniel Bauer, Ofri Cnaani and Assaf Evron will discuss their practices and reflect on ways that a photography-focused gallery can evolve in tandem with the changes in medium and the discourse that surrounds contemporary photography.
January 22 from 6:30 - 8 PM | Performance: Pre-Midnight: Tamar Ettun and Molly Lowe
A performance of absurdist sculptures come to life by New York- based performance artists Tamar Ettun and Molly Lowe. Commissioned by Andrea Meislin Gallery and presented to the public for the first time, Pre-Midnight is Ettun and Lowe’s first collaborative piece.