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Indepth Arts News:

"Distant Shores: Jason Glasser, Karolyn Hatton, Janine Lariviere, Bruno Peinado, Stefan Sehler, Joshua Stern, Fabien Verschaere"
2003-05-30 until 2003-06-22
Parker's Box
Williamsburg, NY, USA United States of America

Perhaps one of the best things art can do is to transport us elsewhere, especially when things begin to heat up in the city, and everyone is over resenting the harshness of winter, and the shortness of spring. The works chosen for ìDistant Shoresî are all made by artists with an interest in images that suggest characters and places that exist elsewhere, even if the reality that might often be that the inspiration or genesis for these images lies in interpretations of our western experience and/or its history.

Ambiguity is a great tool here, especially when the origins and identity of characters or settings are hidden or veiled. In the work of Berlin-based artist, Stefan Sehler, his mountain paintings at first sight suggest a realistic representation of alpine landscape, until we notice the repeated contours, and subtle stylization, which gently push us more towards other thoughts of 'true alpine freshness' as being that of mountains represented on dairy packaging or spring water bottles. In a similar way, French artist, Bruno Peinado tirelessly absorbs the imagery that surrounds us, and that ultimately expresses our era. Peinado makes 'pictures' by diverting them from playing another role in packaging, or as logos, graphic devices, advertising sound bites, etc., all areas where the exotic elsewhere is prized as a marketing tool. References to history and tradition, however vague they may often be, also form a significant part of the flood of images that assail us, normally for the purposes of selling us something. Of course, it would be wrong to necessarily link many artists' work to this language - but we have all become conversant with it, and conditioned to reading images through its filter. Jason Glasser's low-contrast, reverse-painted hunting scenes depict an ìother world' clearly within the tradition of painting, narration and neuroticism. However, any length of time spent with these uncanny creatures that at once draw us close into Jason's world, while at the same time asserting their dumbness as two dimensional representations on car glass, tends to slow down the sound of traffic outside and even keel a gentle hub of pleasant, but absurd, interaction. Not so pleasant or absurd, the psychological discord of juxtaposition in Karolyn Hatton's work. She takes the issue head on in 'Bravo' (2001) an arrangement of flowers made from a recycled fatigues jacket that conjures up ideas of domesticity as well as foreign policy. Her directness with divergence continues in a series of photos that belie their simplicity in taking on near and far, three of which are shown here in Distant Shores. Up close, but strangely impersonal, the artist gives us a glimpse into a narrative that she then refuses to indulge in whimsy or farce.

Whimsy and farce may be exactly what photographer Joshua Stern is going for in black and white images that signify somewhat of a departure from the artistís 2001 Parkerís Box solo show 'GOB (Catarrh Among the Living).' These big photographs feature a recurring set of characters that, while faceless, can be considered no less human than Sternís last cast of carefully crafted individuals. Now more situation driven, these new pieces are large in size as well as their possibility for interpretation. Stern flaunts his playersí independence leaving us unsure of his own role: mad art historian or moral documentarian of his own mind? 'Distant Shores' becomes desire, introversion and more of going away within, than going away without. Some of us will be here, after all, throughout the hot summer in New York, so Janine Lariviere is offering tours that navigate a timeline of flowers in an ongoing work called ì20th Century Narcissus. Made up of approximately 100 small photos from gardening catalogs, the images of daffodils (also known as narcissus) are organized according to their divisions and registration dates. The record this piece offers of the past is purposely from the vantage point of the present and the crossings of horticulture commerce and fashion are as much an expression of human tastes and culture as of that vague thing we call nature. The temperature drops as the astronaut rises in the delicate, but not-so-precious watercolors of Fabien Verschaere. Erotic, neurotic, incoherent and sophisticatedly embryonic, Verschaere does for painting what the Cyclone does for Coney Island: itís scary every time, no matter how often you've ridden it. More free than a bird, more stairway than heaven, more smoke than water, 'Distant Shores' offers bargain rates daily.

Bruno Peinado
Installation, 2002

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