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Ryan Brown: Lots on View
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Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery

6/29/2017 to 8/11/2017
When: Thursday, June 29, 2017
Where: Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery
United States

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Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery presents Lots on View, an exhibition of new work by Ryan Brown.

The cycle of drawings in this exhibition contends that the meaning of a work of art is bound to the context by which it is presented. The implied neutrality of the gallery, its latent societal and economic functions are interrogated, exposed and absorbed into the drawings themselves. The form of pages from an enlarged art catalogue offer an analogy to support the overarching theme of hyper-reflection, where all points of reference loop, feedback and spiral inwards towards an indefinite center.

Images of anonymous abstract paintings contribute to the loop by matter-of-factly describing themselves. The effect blurs the distinction between opposites: copy to original, source to residual, end to beginning. The artist emphasizes layers, like Russian dolls of representation nestled inside of representation. Expressive flourishes are slapped over the surface of metal mimicking paper, paper mimicking canvas.

There's a strong element of self-parody, satirizing the inscrutable figure of the artist. A chiaroscuro portrait is slipped in, almost as an after-thought, with a vague look of dread, the Abstract Expressionist's furrow in the brow. Pages as if tossed from a giant's catalogue are beat up, trampled, creased and jotted on. The disregard adds to the accompanying sense of disproportion. There's a Lewis Carrol-like feeling of having entered an alternative world of uncanny resemblance to our own.

These are works that speak to the order of scraps, to all of the compositions of non-deliberately arranged beauty in the world. There's also the unresolved concern for the commerce and exchange of art making. The drawings hover somewhere between the studio, the collector's house and the auction block. The subsequent equalization of the aesthetics of auction catalogues to the art they purport to describe, classify and sell, questions the purpose of meaning, the meaning of purpose, the very meaning of meaning in art.


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