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Seven artists tackle organizational and cultural systems

by James Thorne
on 03 July 2012

An innovative group exhibition, "Systemic" at Carolina Nitsch Project Room tasked seven artists to submit work representative of their relationship to process and organization. The result is a mixed bag of takes on systems and structures that range from the mathematical to the organic. Each personal approach has implications for collective behavior, with the exhibition functioning as a kind of societal meditation on the way we process our surroundings.

We recognized E.V. Day's "Pollinator" from Art Basel, and her three-dimensional reflective sculptures of mirrored flower organs held up the playful, free-form end of the organizational spectrum. Richard Dupont presents the strangely appealing "Head Head", made from solid cast polyurethane resin. Dupont embedded the larger sculpture with masks cast from his own face as well as masks of random celebrities—ranging from Leonard Nimoy to Beethoven—that were sourced from the Internet.

Within the cast head, Dupont included aged epoxy rapid prototypes of himself and his wife as well as two antique glass heads. The work was especially interesting in the context of the show, providing a physical representation of mankind's organizational system in real space. Dupont's use of biography and pop culture in the masks created a narrative of memory and storytelling that informed other works within the exhibition.

Also of note are Tauba Auerbach's die-cut paper sculptures. Completely collapsable, "[2, 3]" is a series of giant pop-up books that unfold into wild geometric forms and can be closed to become books at any point. Another geometric work, "Spiral (for LB)" by Alyson Shotz is a life-sized hanging sculpture inspired by Louise Bourgeois' "Spiral Woman". The sculpture's reflective surface plays with light in the space, changing according to day and season.

A floor-to-ceiling woodcut print comes courtesy of Aaron Spangler. Titled "Christian Separatist Home Birth", the piece is constructed from basswood panels that were sourced from northwestern Minnesota, where the artist lives. Adjoining this piece was "Speech Bubble" by Jürgen Drescher, an amorphous silver-plated sculpture that distorts the viewer's reflection. Spencer Finch exhibited "The River That Flows Both Ways", a sequence of handmade paper panels that show the change in color of the Hudson River throughout the day.

"Systemic" is on view at Carolina Nitsch Project Room through 11 August 2012.

Carolina Nitsch Project Room
534 West 22nd Street
New York, NY 10011

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