September 15, 2015

Robert Egert and Friends to Dec 19

Robert Egert: Beeding hearts and distraught souls cannot prevail against economic policies designed by non-human constructs.
oil on canvas 2015
New Paintings
with guest artists Chris Fiore and Tobias Tak
October 3 – December 19

Oct 3 • 7–9:30 PM
Opening Night with a performance by (NOS)
— a genre-fluid mental health tribute band

Nov 14 • 8:30–10 PM
Film Night with Eva Schicker and Chris Fiore

Dec 19 • 7–10 PM
Closing Party

Catalog essay by Laura J. Padgett

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Perhaps we could call Robert Egert’s painting contemporary action painting, however not the kind of action painting by which the body directs the artist’s movements and marks made on the canvas. In Egert’s paintings the gesture is removed from the maker, it becomes a kind of meditative, autonomous painting, a kind of painting that is more related to the European tachisme than American action painting. The German "informel" artist Bernhard Schultze comes to mind with his figures wavering between human and animal forms. 

– Laura J. Padgett (from the catalog essay)

A new body of work by Robert Egert is generally an eagerly-awaited and well-attended event. For that reason we are fortunate to have this artist on board at the gallery. In fact, it's fair to say this gallery is itself the outcome of a history and a conversation that Robert Egert himself started. He has roots, he has reach, people go to his shows.

Robert Egert has tended to work in distinct phases, changing his style and mode of production, and bringing the full force of his thought and enterprise to bear upon focused projects. And there are consistent themes and strategies that run through his career. His tendency, for example, to account for the canvas and the mode of presentation in self-reflexive and jarring ways, is evident in his early paintings from the East Village, as it is in later work that we have featured and written about here at the gallery. Robert's career runs the gamut of the East Village, Williamsburg, a bit of Bushwick, and a good stretch of the artistic diaspora of the Hudson Valley.

Chris Fiore, Crouching Figure, early 1990s
For this show we welcome two guest artists, Chris Fiore and Tobias Tak, whose work comports with Roberts and with the hyper-gentrified "morphopolis" theme that we use here for flavor more than as literal subject matter. A lively program is in store! The band N.O.S. will perform on opening night, and in November we'll have a film night featuring work by Eva Schicker and Chris Fiore. A catalog is available in print and as a download, with a featured essay by Laura Padgett. And we'll wrap with a closing party at the end of December. Plenty of events, plenty of reason to come and see an awesome show! As ever, we are open every weekend.

To complement Robert's work and the sense of the show, we asked Chris Fiore to exhibit a remarkable set of photo-collages he made decades ago. Fiore was arguably the first cyberpunk in the nascent Williamsburg scene in the 1980s. He arrived early and left early, but lived large while he was in Brooklyn. That is to say, he lived alone on an enormous factory floor in a very dicey neighborhood, literally like a character in the movie Bladerunner. In his work from that time we see a collision of deconstructive impulses from lower Manhattan with certain shape-shiftings that would later come to characterize the "synthetic turn" in Williamsburg. It is real turning-point work and well worth a look. Chris Fiore and Robert Egert never knew each other, but each negotiated a transition between Downtown and Brooklyn aesthetics at a formative moment.

Tobias Tak, CanciĆ³n Tonta, 2012
We have also invited the illustrator and graphic novelist Tobias Tak because he invents unique and elaborate worlds, and has an all-out imaginative style that comports with Robert Egert's lyricism. We have invited the illustrator and graphic novelist Tobias Tak because he invents unique and elaborate worlds, and has an all-out imaginative style that comports with Robert Egert's lyricism. Tak will be showing drawings from his forthcoming book of twenty CanciĆ³nes (guitar songs) by Federico Garcia Lorca. This will be the first completely drawn book of Lorca's poetry and will be published by Scratch books in 2016.

— Ethan