Albertz Benda Gallery (New York) leaps into the New Year with an exhibition including seven contemporary artists gathered around the same topic. Pay close attention, for the topic could easily be given the title of “bane of our lives”, and certainly is one of the biggest problems of modern society. The artists focus on physical egocentricity in the modern, digital age and the evident drawbacks it brings. From five different countries and through a diversity of mediums such as painting, sculpture and film, these artists touch upon the subjects of overwhelming social pressure, human body, correlation between lack of confidence, self-love, and self-obsession. Going further than just presenting the questions, the artists will challenge the viewers with their work, and some even offer their own idea of remedy for some of these new-age disorders.
Named like•ness, the exhibition refers to Rodrigo Prieto’s debut short film Likeness, 2013, which will serve as the introduction for the exhibition. The movie embodies the essence of the exhibition, presenting a young girl with eating disorder and a shattered self-perception caused by society’s unrealistic presentations and idealizations of the female body. Making a suitable overture for the rest of the exhibition’s artwork, Prieto’s piece poses questions on how we see ourselves, how we want to be seen and in which way the others see us. The flow of these questions can be felt in all of their work, and to pose them, the artists utilize studies on character that explore a growingly complex issue of identity crisis. Moreover, like•ness points out the societal and political aspects that have a strong influence on our lives, as well as the gap between reality and delusion that they cause.
The artists use a lot of different ways to express their opinion on the problem that correlates with their backgrounds. Some of them examine the complex construction of a person’s identity; a (dis)harmony of the grotesque and the acceptable, the past memories and the present experience, a certain fluidity, yet frequent inconsistency. Others offer solutions to the pressures of society, presenting the alternative and merits of rural life as the opposition, something many urban art interventions have tried to evoke. Sara-Vide Ericson refers to it as an “emotional backdrop,” saying “in the middle of nowhere, scared, angry or hurt, you’re out there until you’re healed.” On the other hand, Dongwook LeeThere’s sculptures show inevitable presence of satirical views and are darkly humorous reflections on the emptiness of modern preoccupations with material objects and comforts. All together, the combined artwork being presented in New York shows the darkness of today’s social pressure, and with an aesthetic overview of the phenomenon of likeness loudly calls the viewers to action.
Combining the efforts of seven contemporary artists, the exhibition hosted by Albertz Benda Gallery in New York is bound to make noise regarding one of the most relevant and concerning topics of modern society, using a variety of mediums and methods. Starting January 14, like•ness will be on display until February 13, 2016. The exhibition highlights include video works by Kalup Linzy, hyper-realistic sculptures by Dongwook Lee, Dennis Scholl’s large-scale surrealist drawings and a wide range of paintings by Del Kathryn Barton, Sara-Vide Ericson, Nathaniel Mary Quinn and Terry Rodgers.
Featured image: Del Kathryn Barton - I glittered my planet, 2015