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Sara Greenberger Rafferty
November 4, 2006 - January 10, 2007

Rafferty’s work combines the traditions of comedy and popular entertainment with the keen visual vocabulary of conceptual art. Rafferty borrows heavily from theatre, using elements such as stage props and sets to create work that plays off of practical jokes, gags and the absurd.

Rafferty’s video "De/Feat" (2005) documents a 12-minute performance in which the artist attempts to put on a standard-issue straitjacket all by herself. The video teeters on the verge of hilarity, all the while subtly alluding to the polemics of mental institutions and the art of illusion. In a reversal of the classic Houdini escape, Rafferty enacts an equally challenging stunt. The earnest effort is compelling. The spectacle of seeing a young woman trying to restrain herself is equal parts hysterical and pathetic, and the end result is slapstick torture of the most incredible and pitiable proportions.

In addition to the video, a selection of recent drawings will also be on view. Based on historical photographs, prints, and performance documentation and almost exclusively black-and-white, Rafferty’s drawings depict morphine injections, pies-in-the-face, levitation, rage, and other acts.

Jacob Dyrenforth
some get strong, some get strange
November 4, 2006 - December 22, 2006

In his drawings, sculptures, and videos, Dyrenforth constructs a delicate narrative of the passion and pathos behind revolutionary aspirations. Tales of self-destructive glamour and excess act as the source materials for Dyrenforth’s drawings. Executed in a mechanized process of mark-making devoid of any gestural maneuvers, Dyrenforth’s drawings reveal the darker aspects of transgression. In this exhibition, several portraits depicting rock musicians who have died as a result of overindulgence and self-abuse will be on view. Dyrenforth pixelates found images of these rock-stars and renders them in his own hand with black pencil on gray paper, creating drawings that are neither exact translation nor pure invention and blurring the lines between the historically accurate and the socially mythologized.

Everyday objects and images of landscapes are incorporated into Dyrenforth’s sculptures. In Dyrenforth’s “insideoutsideinside,” decorative sconces and mirrors and large-scale photographs of bucolic terrains are affixed to freestanding walls in an attempt to mimic the look of a typical suburban rec-room. By infusing a banal domestic setting with the youthful yearning for escape, Dyrenforth evokes convictions of various counter-cultural movements, namely the back-to-the-land phenomenon of the 1960s and 1970s. Dyrenforth’s modular sculpture, “yesterday’s tomorrow,” conveys a similar nostalgia by marrying the pictorial language of folk music album covers with the sculptural legacy of minimalism.

Dyenforth’s 12-minute video “Skywatcher” will also be exhibited. The video soundtrack broadcasts the aural meanderings and ersatz manifestos of Nicodemus, a character devised and portrayed by the artist, who finds himself alone in the middle of a field scanning the night sky for some sign of an alien presence.

Hernan Bas
The Great Barrier Wreath
September 9, 2006 - October 14, 2006

“The features of the characters would melt into the vibrations of the atmosphere.” - Edouard Manet

Hernan Bas’s paintings of elegant, androgynous boys who stand on the edge of adulthood explore the language of dandyism and its related subculture. Bas handles his medium with brash confidence and strikes an artful balance between the mischievous and the coolly blasé. Driven by an interest in literature and a passion for historical painting, Bas infuses his compositions with nihilist romanticism. Decadent dandies, teenage waifs, languid loners and dashing adventurers are some of the figures that populate Bas’s ongoing narrative. The dark, atmospheric paintings suggest a fluid period before dawn or at dusk, a fool’s paradise in which youths are encouraged to live out their torrid fantasies. Bas’s rich palette flames with dreamy brushstrokes, and his forms swell and recede with controlled eroticism.

This exhibition marks the debut of “The Great Barrier Wreath,” Bas’s first large-scale painting to date. Here, Bas has invented his own mythology by layering references to contemporary fashion with historical imagery based on the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, a long defunct dance company most famous for its production collaborations with Surrealist artist Salvador Dali. In “The Great Barrier Wreath,” harlequins and Pierrot figures lounge around as if they are offstage awaiting their final performance, while a conductor can be seen perched on top of a mountain leading an invisible orchestra through a dirge. In Bas’s painting, much like in Hieronymus Bosch’s “The Garden of Earthly Delights,” there is no central character, but rather a cast of jokers and tricksters whose antics add up to a single tale about life after death.

Alejandro Cardenas, Bert Rodriguez, Alexia Stamatiou
Left Behind, Hesperides and ...
July 1, 2006 - August 12, 2006

Curated by Hernan Bas

Playing off the Surrealist game of “exquisite corpse,” in which artists pass around a folded sheet of paper and each make a drawing on one segment before viewing the entire composition, Hernan Bas asked each artist in Left Behind, Hesperides and … to come up with an element for the exhibition’s three-part title. Although seemingly odd when juxtaposed against one another, each phrase, word or punctuation mark in the title reflects all three artists’ interest in the unpredictable nature of death and man’s attempt to rationalize this dreadful inevitability. Through storytelling, myth, humor, religion, and politics, Alejandro Cardenas, Bert Rodriguez and Alexia Stamatiou dissect the veins of mortality. Their work, much like the “exquisite corpse” game itself, suggests that the bigger picture looms, but each of us remains caught in the darkness of our own perspective.

For the last three years, Alejandro Cardenas has been working on an ongoing series of drawings entitled "Viviana Died." His detailed and elegant ink drawings depict scenes of the afterlife as experienced by a fictional librarian named Viviana. In the latest chapter of these works, Cardenas introduces us to the Hesperides, the nymphs in Greek mythology who guard a tree of golden apples said to provide immortality. In the context of “Viviana Died,” Cardenas casts the Hesperides in a different role, using them to illustrate the complexities of amorous relationships and thereby making a correlation between the desire to find lasting love and the quest for eternal life. Cardenas was born in Chile and received his BFA from Cooper Union in 2000. He lives and works in New York, and has shown his work at Daniel Reich Gallery, Guild & Greyshkul and Spencer Brownstone Gallery.

Bert Rodriguez’s work marks a visual contrast to that of the other two artists in Left Behind, Hesperides and … and also stands as an exclamation point to the sentiments involved in the show. His contribution to the exhibition title is the simple ellipsis. As opposed to the painstakingly hand-rendered work of Cardenas and Stamatiou, Rodriguez’s work is decidedly hands-off in its production. Whether stated through black-light neon text, photography, video or a dug-up love letter from elementary school, Rodriguez’s work fluctuates consistently between reckless abandon and utter hope in order to remind the audience that we all have our own secret inner fears and aspirations. Rodriguez received his BFA from New World School of the Arts, Miami in 1998. He currently lives and works in Miami and is represented by Fredric Snitzer Gallery, where he has held two solo exhibitions.

Alexia Stamatiou’s work is based on Dispensation Premillennialism, the Christian belief that as Armageddon draws near, the truly devout will be snatched up by Jesus Christ “in the twinkling of an eye”; an event referred to as Rapture. Stamatiou chose “Left Behind” as her contribution to the show’s title as a reference to the series of books co-authored by evangelical preacher and political activist Tim LaHaye and writer Jerry Jenkins. Written in the style of fictional thrillers, the “Left Behind” series tells the story of those who remain on Earth after the faithful have been saved and the Antichrist rises. In Stamatiou’s latest series of small-scale paintings, groups of eager Rapture-ready men who have stripped themselves of all earthly possessions stand waiting in forest thickets for the End. Stamatiou received her BFA from Cooper Union in 2001. She currently lives and works in New York. She is represented by Fredric Snitzer Gallery in Miami and Freight and Volume Gallery in New York, where she will have a solo show in October 2006.

Hernan Bas, the curator of Left Behind, Hesperides and …, lives and works in Miami and is a graduate of the New World School of Arts. In September 2006, Bas will have his third solo exhibition with Sandroni Rey.

Peter Coffin, John Espinosa, Daniel Hesidence, Randy Moore, Carter Mull
The Aleph
May 20, 2006 - June 24, 2006

Curated by Nu Nguyen

In that unbounded moment, I saw millions of delightful and horrible acts; none amazed me so much as the fact that all occupied the same point, without superposition and without transparency… I felt dizzy, and I wept because my eyes had seen that secret, hypothetical object whose name has been usurped by men but which no man has ever truly looked upon: the inconceivable universe.”
- Jorge Luis Borges, “The Aleph,” 1945

The Aleph borrows its name from Jorge Luis Borges’s fictional account of his confrontation with the so-called aleph, a mysterious object that is curiously able to encompass and exceed all human perceptions and observations. The reader of Borges’s tale comes to understand the aleph as an experience of infinite time and space contained in a singular present moment. The aleph’s effect on its viewer is immense and, in Borges’s own words, ultimately “ineffable.” The works of Peter Coffin, John Espinosa, Daniel Hesidence, Randy Moore and Carter Mull are all bound by a common interest in such mythic, transcendent encounters - ones whose depictions lie just beyond the normal reach of language and representation. Through painting, photography, sculpture and video, these five artists navigate in and around the many corridors of the vast, unceasing universe, giving shape to various immeasurable, abstract ideas and consequently coming to terms with the finite limits of their own tangible, earthly experiences.

Peter Coffin’s work encourages a negotiation of alternative modes of consciousness, while also acknowledging the subjectivity of pseudo-sciences. For his “Aura Portraits,” Coffin uses a special Polaroid camera to capture the spiritual color fields emanating from his subjects. By removing the actual subject from the portrait so that only the color field remains, Coffin focuses on an abstract image, giving substance to that which is normally invisible and thereby challenging what is traditionally expected of the photographic image. In this manner, Coffin is able to remind viewers of the unstable nature of perception. At the same time, Coffin also calls attention to the corporeality of the spectator who situates himself not in relation to the contours of another physical body, but rather in relation to the presence of a force from beyond.

The foundation for John Espinosa’s work straddles the blurry line between the natural and supernatural worlds. Espinosa’s sculpture “An Infinite Collapse” (2005) will be featured in this exhibition. “An Infinite Collapse” consists of six marine-grade aluminum walls that are precisely positioned to form a strict, three-dimensional geometric shape. In between these walls, Espinosa has housed fifty gallons of the mysterious and supposedly spiritually powerful waters of the Bermuda Triangle, which he himself harvested from the legendary locale. With “An Infinite Collapse,” Espinosa acknowledges the seductive allure of quasi-mystical beliefs, while also introducing a lighthearted hint of ironic skepticism. He captures the precise instant in which living beings are exposed to and reckon with unfathomable energies and life-forces, giving viewers a glimpse into the physical and psychological catharsis that can follow such mysteriously transcendent experiences.

Daniel Hesidence’s visceral paintings evoke both the corporeal, human form, as well as the greater, cosmic universe. Vaporous whirlpools of color swirl over misty grounds in Hesidence’s abstract works, while scarred and disfigured faces are commonly depicted in his portraits. Within each one of Hesidence’s paintings, a crucial focal point suggests the notion of infinite time and space. It is this vortex, which functions much like Borges’s aleph, that allows Hesidence to see not only his own reflection, but also his own internal anatomy and bodily processes. Grotesque yet beautiful, Hesidence’s painting’s have the ability to uncover the seemingly contradictory feelings of rapture and disgust, reminding viewers that one sentiment is never intimately experienced or truly understood without the other.

Randy Moore’s video “Death Drive Death Valley” (2004) documents his 78-mile, five-and-a-half hour-long bicycle ride through Death Valley, California in 100-degree heat. Moore’s video engages an explicit dialogue with Chris Burden’s performance “Death Valley Run” (1976), in which the latter artist rode a motorized racing bicycle for seven hours across the historically fabled Death Valley. Beginning his own journey in Badwater, the lowest point in the Western hemisphere, Moore rides a professional racing bicycle through the excruciatingly inhospitable mythic desert, ultimately ascending into the mountains almost six thousand feet above sea level. The relentless, circular repetition of pedaling up a vast, desolate mountain constitutes the entire action of “Death Drive Death Valley.” Moore offers up this task as a Sisyphisian metaphor, highlighting the mental and physical challenges posed by the grueling journey through a seemingly endless landscape.

Carter Mull creates complex systems out of simple matter – dust, human hair, audio tape, plastic strips, glass beads and paper scraps. Mull carefully arranges the gritty materials on a large plinth and then photographs his tangled accumulations in order to index the play between constructive and destructive creative expenditure. The resulting photographs are unashamedly decadent and completely strange. Like the character in Borges’s “The Aleph,” Carlos Argentino Daneri, Mull attempts to construct order out of chaos. Unlike Carlos Argentino Daneri, Mull is able to do so not by simply and explicitly listing the wonders of the world, but by creating a sublime abstraction of images which are duplicated, multiplied and layered one over another ad infinitum. Mull pushes surfaces to hallucinatory heights, nearly approaching a state of hyper-reality.

Efrat Shalem
The Track
April 15, 2006 - May 13, 2006

The Track will consist of three video works – “Route,” “Rudolph and Me,” and “Fishbone.” “Route” was filmed in Wilmington, North Carolina and reveals a placid exterior world that seems secretive and familiar at the same time. For this glimpse into American suburbia, Shalem takes a ride in an ice cream truck and captures the setting she sees through the truck’s portal window. In “Rudolph and Me,” Shalem browses through an open book in an attempt to revive a dead body with the touch of a hand. This video explores the myth behind Viennese Actionist artist Rudolph Schwarzkogler’s calculated self-castration and the power of images in general. “Fishbone” is Shalem’s disturbing, but highly mesmerizing video that captures the sharp sounds created by the strangely violent and juvenile action of striking a spiked wood plank across a long metal fence.

Efrat Shalem was born in Tel Aviv and earned a BFA in Photography and Video from Bezalel Academy in Jerusalem. In 2003, she was awarded an MFA in Cinema and Television studies from Tel Aviv University. Shalem has worked as a visiting scholar at UCLA and has also taught courses at Tel Aviv University and Bezalel Academy. She has been honored with the following awards and prizes: 1999 Young Artist Prize from the Israel Ministry of Science, Culture and Sport; 2002 Encouragement of Video Art Fund Grant from the Center of Contemporary Art in Israel; 2004 Overseas Study Grant from the Israel Cultural Foundation.

Markus Draper, Thoralf Knobloch
Die innere Sicherheit
April 15, 2006 - May 13, 2006

Markus Draper’s large-scale installation piece, “My Utopia Is Never Gonna Work (Pain)” was recently shown at the Prague Biennial in 2005. Its exhibition at Sandroni Rey will mark the piece’s first showing in the United States. In keeping with the concepts of material construction found in his larger body of work, Draper fabricated “My Utopia Is Never Gonna Work (Pain)” out of plywood and other basic building materials. Although the structure is newly constructed, it possesses a dilapidated aesthetic that infuses a foreboding sense of decay. Draper’s paintings convey a similar ominous impression. In his paintings, Draper oftentimes interlaces dark, empty structures with pieces of desolate landscapes and sweeping abstract brushwork in order to examine the contemporary urban experience.

Thoralf Knobloch’s paintings are based on his observations of the environment of his native Dresden. Knobloch works directly from carefully composed photographs, tracing the course through which reality is transformed into image via the material process of painting. He is particularly interested in the way in which painting ultimately involves turning experienced reality into constructed abstraction through the framing of the subject, the transference of a photographic composition onto the canvas, the selection of color and finally the application of paint. For Knobloch, each one of these steps is a conscious departure from true experience. As a result, the subject and any suggestion of narrative become secondary to the formal elements of painting in Knobloch’s work, so that each painting is less a sociological comment on the scarred landscape of the former Eastern Germany than a pure meditation on composition, form and color. Nonetheless, Knobloch’s paintings are still able to invite the viewer into the pictorial space, so that the viewer almost seems to stand alongside the artist during the entire image-making process.

Anthony Goicolea
March 4, 2006 - April 8, 2006

In his intricate drawings, Goicolea explores the narrative themes and adolescent rites of passage that are frequently depicted in his well-known, large-scale photographs. Goicolea layers multiple images of adolescent figures that are engaged with nature in his drawings and enhances the mystery of these woodland scenes by incorporating various materials, such as graphite, ink and acrylic, into the drawings in order to make varying formal elements fade in and out of focus. As a result, an uneasy ambiguity is created.

In Goicolea’s newest body of work, a sense of foreboding tinged with playful fantasy can be found. Androgynous figures intermingle on top of and through each other in layered compositions separated by planes of semi-opaque vellum paper. The ghostlike figures are caught in free-floating, awkward transitional states, oftentimes appearing in multiples and strangely unified by animals that co-habit the landscape. As the figures migrate through the forest in small packs, they fade in and out of each other in a series of tentative lines that read like traces of previous drawings and thus refer to memory and transition. Scenes that would normally appear threatening, dangerous, or grotesque also inspire empathy, and ultimately prove to be more complex than first assumed.

John White Cerasulo
Unknown Painter
January 21, 2006 - February 25, 2006

Cerasulo’s latest body of work comes from a desire to revisit past genres of painting in an almost telescopic manner while still upholding a certain contemporary integrity. Still-lives, landscapes, portraiture and religious depictions are all included in this exhibition. The images Cerasulo has constructed come in part from existing sources - paintings, lithographs and illustrations. It is this pursuit of finding the perfect image which inspires Ceraulo’s own painting process. By displacing ironies and shifting contexts, Cerasulo ultimately transgresses many of these images’ former meanings altogether. As a result, Cerasulo’s paintings appear completely déjà-vu and slightly neutral in the sense that the notion of a supreme creator is deleted. Cerasulo’s approach to incorporating references into his practice is self-aware, if not unashamedly self-interested, and speaks of the struggle faced by contemporary painters to create an identity of their own, one of the oldest and most problematic notions of art-making as a whole.