March 18 – April 25, 2014
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
5:00pm – 8:30pm
Press Release »
Art Merge Lab is pleased to present Reconstruct, an exhibition featuring four artists who build and rebuild works using photographic imagery, while expanding the medium’s capabilities as a container for emotions, concepts and memories. Opening March 18, with a reception at 5:00 p.m. this exhibition includes artists Bryan Bankston, Julia Elsas, Joseph Lee, and Liz Steketee. These artists not only push the technology of photography, but also bring it into contact with painting, printing, collage, found art, textiles, and various digital processes.
Reconstruct continues Art Merge Lab’s exploration of artists using photography. Following the abstract, and formally contained works of the recently closed group exhibition Composure, by contrast, Reconstruct brings together a collection of figures and portraits whose subjects are buffeted by contingencies of memory.
Portraiture, with its long history, carries associations with the preservation of memory, and the capturing of an individual’s essence. Yet, each artist in Reconstruct tweaks these assumptions, playing with portraiture as a genre that is seemingly so straightforward, yet in fact, is shot-through with ambiguity and complexity.
Reconstruct features the photographic composites of Bryan Bankston, created out of assembled fragments and disassembled wholes. Bankston’s portraits are compiled from hundreds of faces found using Google searches. He merges these portraits into a single image that reveals the blur produced by endless information.
Julia Elsas’ gouache on photographs draw new emphasis to the otherwise mute subtext of archival portraits. A mixed media artist, Elsas will show a selection from her “Blackout” and “Collage” series for Reconstruct. Using painting on found images, these works turn on the themes of courtship, flirtation, sensuality, and violence.
Joseph Lee gathers bits and pieces of information from magazines and printed ephemera and transforms them into paintings on canvas in oil and wax. The figures in Lee’s commercial pages are edited and stripped of their conotations as advertising, and distilled down to spare form and shape.
In Liz Steketee’s digitally manipulated vintage photographs, memories of real events are shown to be inseparable from the images that depict these events. Her series “Reconstructed Memories” examines themes of personal biography and family history, occupies the space between what we remember and what we think we remember.