'The Swerve' at Ortega Y Gasset Projects

Ortega y Gasset Projects opens the 2016 season with two concurrent exhibitions. A joint reception will be held on Saturday, January 23, 6-9pm.  At a special afternoon event on February 6, Jennifer Coates, David Humphrey, and Glenn Goldberg will play music in the gallery.

On view in the main gallery, Lauren Frances Adams and Jennifer Coates co-curate The Swerve, featuring works by Julia Bland, Caroline Wells Chandler, Glenn Goldberg, Bill Komoski, Joyce Kozloff, Bruce Pearson, Sarah Peters, James Siena, and Barbara Takenaga. The exhibition runs until Sunday, February 21.

The title for the exhibition is based upon a book of the same name by Stephen Greenblatt, which touches on ancient atomistic theory, wherein atoms normally falling straight through a void are sometimes subject to a clinamen — a slight, unpredictable change. It is in this interruption of regularity where the action lies. According to Lucretius, if atoms were not in the habit of swerving, “nature would never have produced anything.” Taking this as a point of departure, The Swerve presents contemporary paintings and sculptures that explore the haptic and conceptual approaches to pattern: how pattern and its rupture are employed in service of meaning.

Joyce Kozloff appropriates the iconic Islamic star to create a richly colored all-over pattern that merges non-Western motif  with an American quilting logic, revealing the political in the decorative. Julia Bland utilizes an eccentric, loose weaving technique to build emblematic, symmetrical imagery that seem to contain hidden meanings, while Caroline Wells Chandler uses crochet to generate soft sculptures: feminist homunculi that merge cartoons with craft. Sarah Peters’ ancient Assyrian hair patterns become almost architectural as they frame and support an open-mouthed female: many periods of art history coalesce into a single head. Barbara Takenaga’s woozy forms radiate from a glowing center, as her carefully tended surfaces create cosmic vortexes. Bill Komoski’s lattices and sculpted holes on canvas leak toxic sludge in tongue-like shapes, as he channels the bodily via the urban industrial. Bruce Pearson’s white-on-white biomorphic carvings also make use of relief, embedding text within them: once your eyes adjust the code is broken. In James Siena’s drawing, a figure emerges from a density of tiny marks, she seems to be trapped within the edges of the paper. Glenn Goldberg makes hallucinatory use of dots to create an atmospheric world from which two tiny birds emerge.

The artists all share a propensity to tease out meaning from complex visual matrices. Images range from figuration to abstraction, but the recurrent theme is an organic wavering between recognizable form and repetition.

On view in the gallery vestibule, Adams and Coates curate Star Upon Star, a site-specific installation by Kirsten Hassenfeld. The piece will be on view throughout the Ortega y Gasset spring exhibition program.

Star Upon Star is constructed from recycled giftwrap, using a system both geometrically precise and intentionally off-kilter. Hassenfeld forces clashing patterns and the associations they evoke to coexist and to coalesce into a sculptural whole.

Educated as a printmaker, Kirsten Hassenfeld makes sculpture from paper and found objects. She has been honored with numerous awards and residencies, most recently the St. Gaudens Memorial Fellowship in 2014. Her work has been featured in Art in America, the New York Times Magazine and Interview Magazine, among others. She lives and works in Brooklyn and the Catskills.

Lauren Frances Adams (Baltimore, Maryland) mines the histories of power, labor, and material culture to make surprising connections that resonate with current sociopolitical issues. Solo exhibitions include Back Lane West, Cornwall, UK; Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis; EXPO Chicago; and Conner Contemporary, Washington, D.C. Group exhibitions include: The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; Contemporary Applied Arts, London; CUE Foundation, NY; Mattress Factory and the Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh.  Residencies include Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and a Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA Grant.

Jennifer Coates is an artist, writer and musician living in NYC. Her ongoing series of paintings – “Total Fat” – explore the sacred architecture and spiritual radiance embedded in processed foods. She recently had a two person show of collaborative work with David Humphrey at Arts & Leisure Gallery and a two person show with Tom Burckhardt at Valentine Gallery, both in NYC. She currently has a painting, PB&J, on view at the Museum at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. She has written art reviews for Time Out New York and Art in America and can be seen playing violin and singing in various bands in the region.

Ortega y Gasset Projects is a gallery curated projects space in the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn. Comprised of artists currently living in Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, and Tennessee, OyG operates a cross-country collective and an incubator for dialogue and artistic exchange.

For more information contact Lauren Frances Adams at laurenfrancesadams@gmail.com

Open Saturdays & Sundays 1-6pm and by appointment

Ortega y Gasset Projects The Old American Can Factory 363 Third Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11215