Sam Austen, 'A Door Has Opened', production still from colour 35mm photograph, 2013
A group exhibition featuring: Sam Austen, Stefania Batoeva, Nigel Dunkley, Sophie Lee, Alex Rathbone, Guy Rusha, John Tiney and Lachlan Thom Curated by Grace Schofield and Preeya Seth
New York, NY [March 21, 2014] – Garis & Hahn is pleased to present DREAMLAND, a group exhibition featuring mixed-media installation, painting, sculpture and film by London artists, all of whom will be showing in the US for the first time. An essential commonality between all the artists featured in this exhibition are their varied strands of connection to Britain – some are of British heritage whereas others have chosen the UK as a base to continue developing their artistic practice. The works, curated by Grace Schofield and Preeya Seth, embrace organic and imaginative possibilities over the sleek refinement often privileged by aggressively commoditized contemporary art. There will be an opening reception at Garis & Hahn (263 Bowery, New York, NY 10002) from 6:00-8:00pm on Wednesday, May 7th.
Titled after the now defunct theme park situated in the English seaside town of Margate, DREAMLAND promises a venture into playfulness and sincerity that could be seen to serve as a direct response to the current art market’s focus on hyper-polished works and the use of expensive materials. The collection, chosen for its carnivalesque content, invites and encourages viewers to explore eccentricity and the complexities of the imagination. Guests can expect a vibrant and spontaneous show that unveils the potency of conscious and subconscious dreaming.
The artists, who predominantly live and work in London, are showcasing their new work for the very first time in the US, an abundance of synergistic possibilities evident between them. Sam Austen taps into surreal fantasy with his text-heavy film. Painstakingly collaged and filmed on 16mm, he presents shots evocative of the dreamy lights and labyrinthine landscape of theme parks while juxtaposing moments of melancholy, humor and ecstasy, like a ghost train from the 1980s. Sophie Lee shares similar aesthetic priorities in her own film work, cultivating and establishing previously unnoticed cultural narratives via a synthesis of disparate contextual elements and creative modes, such as essays, music videos and children’s television programming. Where Lee’s journey may have been fanciful and idiosyncratic, John Tiney’s work finds cartoon figures copied from ’80s men’s magazines, in states of vulnerability and embarrassment, painted on top of found ‘failed’ paintings that were discarded in the artist’s studio by previous tenants.
Guy Rusha and Nigel Dunkley draw on and repurpose more familiar imagery: the ever-popular characters of Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner are cut from steel and cast as silhouettes on the wall in Dunkley’s installation; while Rusha presents a human-scale boulder sculpted from deep blue foam, which teeters on an absurdly small plinth in the middle of the room. Alex Rathbone creates narrative-driven storyboards, imagined worlds which find a compelling chorus of characters (a scientist, a hippie, a cloaked mystic) in a haunting and vaguely interwoven tale. Conversely, Lachlan Thomemphasizes abstract and existential settings in his paintings, reading the picture plane both as a reflection and exploration of one’s lucid experience of reality. Stefania Batoeva’s calm and beautiful plaster works, in turn, seek to translate the perpetually in flux mental moods of light, reminiscent of day dreaming and childhood fantasy.
While vast and varied in scope, these spirited works are bound by the way they all fuse together intensity, integrity and imagination with uncanny delight. Their conversation with one another – and with the viewer – creates a space that is authentic, engaging and welcoming to all those who value philosophy just as much as play. This space is called DREAMLAND, and the viewer is invited to come and share in the possibilities.
About Garis & Hahn
Garis & Hahn is a gallery-cum-Kunsthalle that mounts exhibitions focused on conceptual narratives and relevant conversations in contemporary art. By displaying an array of carefully curated artists, the gallery endeavors to provide accessibility, education, awareness, and a market to the art while engaging both the arts community and a broader general audience.
Location Garis & Hahn 263 Bowery New York, NY 10002