Oct
3
to Nov 9

After Light


10.03 – 11.09 /2019

OPENING RECEPTION:

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 3, 6 – 9 PM


GALLERY HOURS: THUR /FRI /SAT 12–7 PM

ELISABETH ROTH /MICHAEL VILLAREAL /MEGAN STROECH /ASHLEY JONAS /SAAR SHEMESH

Curated by Daina Mattis

Windows have a universal impact; they let light in, frame our view of the exterior, act as portals into another space, and aptly provide an escape/exit. In the 18th century Western Civilization, shopkeepers began integrating large openings and glass windows to brighten a dark shop-room, yet more significantly to draw attention from the outside inwards. Alternatively, audiences from sidewalk pedestrians—a marketing strategy bridging the domestic/private/familiar and the public/commercial/foreign—became a middle-class pastime with arcades developing, bridging class and the practice of window shopping. After Light spring-boards from this social phenomena of the idea of looking but not buying. One can buy a window accessory, a view, even airspace, but ironically no one can purchase daylight. The artists’ work in After Light punch holes into the capitalistic mirage that everything is for sale. One cannot buy time; By churning the impossibility of commodifying daylight, these artists throw shade on access, ownership/tangibility, utility, and class in our current social, political, and ecological climate.

Elisabeth Roth’s cyanotypes frame what is not visible - sunlight. Cyanotypes are an early, affordable form of photography using a paper that is coated with a light sensitive chemical. That which is exposed to the UV light cures to a dark shade of blue and what is blocked is washed away with water. Roth’s sun-drenched work fill their frames with fragmented curtains. While trying to capture light there is a counteraction of material decay. Strong in contrast, visually delicate, presence through absence, and like a worn in couch, molded to the body of its owner. Roth masterfully and minimally creates a work about the invisible by merely blocking out the light.

Insulation foam, wood, and paint are raw construction materials Michael Villarreal utilizes to shape his work depicting disheveled blinds. Yoked between painting and bas-relief sculpture, his blinds ooze humor through their corporeal/anthropomorphic presence. Ripe with confrontation, the blinds physically enter our space, and sarcastically deny us any visual egress; tongue-and-cheek in nature, Villarreal stealthily withholds access, all while teasing, coaxing us to want what’s on the other side. This sort of pussyfooting between give and take augments concerns and abuses of space, immigration, and manipulation—Materials that are used to insulate here become walls to shut out.

Integrating printmaking techniques, free-hand painting, and various solid and patterned fabrics, Megan Stroech creates large collage wall pieces that all at once teeter between object and aerial views of still lives. A browser of local dollar and discount stores, Stroech goes further than gleaning from the excessively decorative window displays, and integrates and/or imitates the affordable, mass produced materials themselves. Plaids, paisleys, and hand-painted looping lines lasso low-brow elements together, grounding them in the Americana nostalgia of picnics and the Wild West while simultaneously creating a high brow sensibility of ownership in the shadow of the fine art commodity. Indiscriminately embracing irony, Stroech defies class, and spins high and low material culture to challenge ideas about commodity and access.

Deeply invested in the question of utility (a ceramist’s dilemma), Ashley Jonas integrates both found utilitarian materials and ceramic pieces, creating free-standing sculptures. These banal materials are old, used, and marked up, consisting of pieces of wood, sink basins, garden edging, and thread, objects that served to enhance our lives and disposed of once completed or broken. Not all materials are created equal. In some states, clay can be reclaimed. It can be returned to its wet, moist body, to again be cut, thrown, shaped, pinched, and coiled. It’s final act as container, to hold and carry liquid, can be shattered, yet Jonas argues that too is part of its “job.” It’s no wonder that clay’s mantra, “Of Many Lives,” is adopted to other utilitarian objects, redefining their reliability to function in a new way. Sustainably and gracefully, Jonas frames new purpose and new identities into fragments bound to the same law we all follow: gravity.

Not far from any of these works exists Saar Shemesh’s Louie, a bronze cast cat. To Shemesh, Louie is the incarnation of humanity, what it means to be human—to live, suffer, grieve, loss, have strength, soul, and love. Louie becomes the ambassador for our escape as well as our memento mori. Basking in the “light,” it is unclear if he is asleep, awake, or dead, eerily tethering him to the old saying, “curiosity killed the cat,” and our own human errors, individually, socially, and universally as time runs out. Hung in our windowless basement, these works forge hope and new dialogues by refracting stereotypical characteristics of display, framing, visibility, and utility, pushing for new formats and alternative perceptions. We cannot buy back time, let us draw a new window and new solutions. After all, there is no time like the present to make a change.

Daina Mattis, Co-Director


Image: Michael Villarreal A Little Birdie Told Me, 2016, 31.5 x 23.5 x 5 in. Spray paint, primer, joint compound, and insulation foam on panel

Exhibition’s PDF HERE

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Oct
19
2:30 PM14:30

WORKSHOP /Window Presence - mobile monoprinting

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SATURDAY, OCTOBER 19

2.30–4.30 PM

Hosted by Megan Stroech + Daina Mattis 


What do you see when you look outside a window? Does it look that same way to someone else? Does it always look the same to you? Contrary to printmaking’s nature of editions, this workshop focuses on the uniqueness of mono-printing to create singular and secondary ghost prints. Applying a DIY method students will be empowered to maximize minimal equipment and tools while exploring personal chance and framing their individual perspectives.

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Suggested age is 14+. Space is limited to 20 participants. RSVP is required to contact@undercurrent70.org with After Light Workshop in the subject line.

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Image: Daina Mattis

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Oct
10
7:00 PM19:00

MIGLOKO /Concert



10.10.19

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 10, 7 – 10 PM


THE CONCERT WILL START AT 7.30 PM

Undercurrent is happy to host a special concert with a guest musician from Lithuania, Migloko! Come out to support us and to have a good time!

A voice and a boombox. In 2009, while still a teenager in music school in Vilnius, Lithuania, Migloko attracted the attention of thousands with the eclectic songs she started putting up on the internet. A deep, growling voice echoes over the boombox’s spare arrangements, drawing comparisons to Lana del Rey, but with a eurochic, neo-Goth twist. The haunting breaths break through a curtain of long, black hair.

Migloko has toured widely in Europe and opened for Nouvelle Vague in the French lounge band’s only concert in Vilnius. She has also performed in the US, been nominated for the Lithuanian version of a Grammy, and reached the semi-finals to represent her home country at Eurovision in 2019 with the feral “Rožės (Roses),” where the forceful demands of the refrain break themselves into single syllables grabbing attention between the misleadingly gentle beats of the backing track. 

Legendary producer Leon Somov remixed “Rožės,” excavating and exposing anew the original’s anthemic essence. This summer, the collaborations continued, as Migloko played the role of Buttercup, featuring on “Girls, Girls, Girls,” a Powerpuff Girls–infused feminist call to arms by the grande dame of Lithuanian pop, Erica Jennings. 

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Music links HERE

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Animation: Drawings by Migloko, animation by Laura Zavecka, music from Migloko performing I Know It at Sofar Vilnius on July 9th, 2017.

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A huge Thank You to Moacir P. de Sá Pereira for all the help!

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Oct
4
6:00 PM18:00

AISTĖ KISARAUSKAITĖ /Sorrow, or Roses in Dad’s Memory II

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10.04 – 11.26 /2019

OPENING RECEPTION:

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 4, 6 – 9 PM


ADDRESS:

Sla307 Art Space

307 W. 30th St. New York, NY 10001

BY APPOINTMENT ONLY:

347 533 0481 / 917 584 0579


To honor THE MEMORY OF VINCAS KISARAUSKAS, an acknowledged Lithuanian artist, Undercurrent invited Aistė Kisarauskaitė to organize a special exhibition at Sla307 Art Space

When thinking about exhibitions in far-off lands, and especially on other continents, the first question is always “how can we move these works of art?” Transporting material objects remains a problem.

After artist Vincas Kisarauskas’s father (my grandfather) perished in an accident, Kisarauskas created the work Sorrow, or Roses in Dad’s Memory (1971, oil on canvas, 122 x 91.5 cm). My father himself died on October 27, 1988, in New York. However, we were only able to bid farewell to his ashes, which arrived in Lithuania after unexpected effort.

Now, with an opportunity for me to exhibit work in New York, it is paramount that I honor my father by creating roses in his memory. However, contemporary US regulations forbid importing freshly cut roses or potted rose shrubs. I can place no living roses at the site of his death. No living and material symbol of mourning. Preparing for a regular flight, though, and reading the Ryanair baggage rules, I found that “The carriage of ashes is permitted as cabin baggage, and may be carried in addition to your normal cabin baggage allowance provided that a copy of the death certificate and the cremation certificate accompanies them. You must ensure that the ashes are securely packaged in a suitable container with a screw-top lid and protected against breakage.” As such, this work is positioned to start a discussion about longing and distance. About the longing for those who have dematerialized.

Aistė Kisarauskaitė

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Image: Aistė Kisarauskaitė, Urn I, 2019, from a series of 3. Rose ashes, resin

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Translated from Lithuanian to English by Moacir P. de Sá Pereira

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Exhibition’s PDF HERE



LIŪDESYS ARBA ROŽĖS TĖVUKUI ATMINTI II

Mąstant apie parodas tolimesnėse šalyse ir ypač kituose kontinentuose, pirmiausia kyla mintis apie kūrinių gabenimo galimybes. Materialaus objekto transportavimas vis dar yra problema. 

Vinco Kisarausko tėvui (mano seneliui) žuvus avarijoje, jis sukūrė paveikslą “Liūdesys arba Rožės tėvukui atminti” (1971, dr., al., 122 x 91.5 cm). Mano tėvas menininkas Vincas Kisarauskas mirė 1988 m. spalio 27 d. Niujorke. Mes galėjome atsiveikinti tik su jo pelenais, kuriuos tuomet neįtikėtinomis pastangomis pavyko atsisiųsti. 

Dabar, atsiradus progai padaryti parodą Niujorke, taip pat atrodo svarbiausia atiduoti pagarbą savo tėvui, sukurti rožes jo atminimui. Tačiau pagal šiuolaikines įvežimo į Jungtines Amerikos valstybes taisykles skintas rožes ar jų atžalas bei sodinukus įvežti draudžiama. Jokių gyvų rožių negalėčiau nugabenti ir padėti mirties vietoje. Jokio gyvo ir materialaus gedulo simbolio. Ruošdamasi paprastam skrydžiui ir skaitydama aviakompanijos Ryanair taisykles, radau “Pelenus leidžiama vežti kaip rankinį bagažą ir jie gali būti vežami papildomai prie Jūsų vieno įprasto rankinio bagažo vieneto, tačiau būtina, kad su jais būtų mirties liudijimo kopija ir kremavimo pažymėjimas. Privalote užtikrinti, kad pelenai būtų saugiai supakuoti tinkamame inde su užsukamu dangteliu ir apsaugoti nuo sudužimo. ”Taigi, šis kūrinys ir skirtas kalbėti apie ilgesį ir atstumus. Apie ilgesį tų, kurie dematerializavosi.

Aistė Kisarauskaitė

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Atvaizdas: Aistė Kisarauskaitė, Urna I, 2019. Rožių pelenai, plastinė masė

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Ačių už vertimą iš lietuvių į anglų kalbą Moacir P. de Sá Pereira

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Sep
19
7:00 PM19:00

RODNEY DICKSON ...along the edge... A Film by Bill Page

09.19 /2019

FILM SCREENING /ARTIST TALK

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 7–9 PM


Please join us for a film screening event / artist talk with filmmaker Bill Page and artist Rodney Dickson.

Bill Page is a documentary filmmaker, his subjects typically focus on painters whose work have aesthetic elements of Abstract Expressionism. His films bring alternative insights to the work beyond what we see hanging in an exhibition; By hearing first person accounts from the artists themselves. The experience of viewing an artist speak about their work while creating it in the studio is a privilege and a glimmer into a personal space that moves us beyond the works on the wall.


Image: Rodney Dickson on Kawasaki 500 at Undercurrent, 2019. Photographed by Laura Zavecka

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RODNEY DICKSON /Paintings 2009 – 2019
Sep
5
6:00 PM18:00

RODNEY DICKSON /Paintings 2009 – 2019


09.05–09.28 /2019

OPENING RECEPTION:

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 6–9 PM


GALLERY HOURS: THUR /FRI /SAT 12–7 PM


Three different aspects of Rodney Dickson’s creative interests are on display at his new show, Paintings 2009–2019, at Undercurrent. The descending stairway at Undercurrent’s entrance displays 22 of Dickson’s sketchbooks, all black and identical in size, suggesting 22 Gideon Bibles from 22 hotel rooms. Attached to the wall, the sketchbooks descend with the floor line. Inside, one finds more than two thousand black charcoal drawings, notes, and project ideas. The drawings depict faces, nudes, and some landscapes, and the somewhat private sketches are very direct, swift and expressionistic in style and impulse. Often the charcoal imprints itself on the opposing page. Large black and white masses on paper suggest monumental ambition, and they also led us to display the sketchbooks intact, like Assyrian tablets, rather than as individual paper drawings on the wall. Presenting the sketchbooks this way leads us to a larger appreciation of the artist’s process as whole.


Rodney Dickson is best known in New York for his large, extremely thickly executed oil paintings. They are abstract, but their presence is so physical, and at the same time visceral, that they confuse, question, and blur the line between what is abstract and what is real. These paintings do not imply, allude, or refer to either landscape or figure. However, the thickness and viscosity of the paint itself suggests the magnitude of internal, inner friction in its physical and metaphysical senses. In a way, Rodney’s paintings state that the act of creation is first and probably the only real thing. Some paintings appear as though they were executed in one day, but most were painted, scraped over, and painted again. Through this process, the paintings become sculptural terrains of paint and color. The thick paintings take forever to dry; it can take up to 10 years for the oil paint to harden fully. In the meantime, the paint shrinks dramatically, changes color, and collects layers of dust. These processes of aging and time are much more present in Rodney’s paintings than their smoother, slicker cousins by other artists. Typically, an art work is considered finished when artist has stopped working on it. In this case, the artist plays a part in a multi-year process that gives the painting its final visual appearance. Only when they are only fully dry and hard, with no fluid liquid left in them, with all their time-formed textures, reminiscent of skin, is that appearance available to the viewer.


Importantly, Rodney Dickson’s works are not monochromatic, cool, minimalist objects. He paints using the complexities of whole range of colors. His paintings are not simple; they are suggestive and open-ended. They are the opposite to rational, industrial, execution-style art projects. Rodney Dickson’s art has more in common with Monet, or Delacroix, or Van Gogh, and the more romantic, emotional, and baroque side of abstract expressionism. Theatrical play with light and shadows creates separate, whimsical sides for these paintings. In Paintings 2009-2019, we have several examples of these paintings, anchoring the exhibition.


The largest piece, never before exhibited, is Shanty Town, occupying an entire wall. You can see this work as an installation, or as a painting; it is a collage of colorful stapled, canvasses/rags. Dickson began it in 2011, and the work remains in progress. In some way, the work is a political piece about globalization, poverty, and real estate. But it also suggests a very poetic, almost nostalgic, rags to riches myth. On the formal or art historical side, it can be interpreted as an artist studio. Through the ages, artists have depicted their studios, giving them the opportunity, as with self-portraits, to make a statement about the world and themselves. Recall all the Rembrandts, Courbets, Kahlos, Van Ghoghs, Braques… In the same vein, Dickson creates a piece that in its spirit resembles Rothko’s paint- and pigment-soaked canvases. But in this work the rags, used by painters for millennia to clean their brushes, are the main actors, covered in the Hollybollywood flavor of glitter.

Julius Ludavičius, Co-Director


Image: Shanty Town, 2011–present. Rags, tempera. Dimensions variable

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Celebrating Annie Ali Khan’s  SITA UNDER THE CRESCENT MOON
Jul
20
4:30 PM16:30

Celebrating Annie Ali Khan’s SITA UNDER THE CRESCENT MOON

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JULY 20, SATURDAY

4.30-7.30 PM


Copies of Sita under the Crescent Moon will be available for purchase.

Light refreshments will be provided by Shayan Ali Khan.


Undercurrent invites you to participate in celebrating the release of journalist Annie Ali Khan’s book of reportage, Sita under the Crescent Moon, published this summer by Simon & Schuster India.

A graduate of Columbia’s School of Journalism, Ali Khan split her journalism between New York and Pakistan. Her later work focused on women in Pakistan, specifically the dispossessed and displaced women in the mega city of Karachi. Sita under the Crescent Moon represents three years of reporting and is the first ethnographic window into the lives of a seven women who live in Karachi and practice healing arts or travel across the provinces of Sindh and Baluchistan, seeking healing at spiritual sites. The sites visited by the women are themselves shrines created in the name of, and in memory of, women saints. Ali Khan’s work is the first glimpse into a centuries-old network of female sacrality and power.

Historian Manan Ahmed will facilitate this event, which also coincides with the first anniversary of Annie’s unexpected passing in Karachi last July. In her honor, friends will read short excerpts from Sita under the Crescent Moon, and poets Arooj Aftab and Hasan Mujtaba will perform. Artist Maha S. Ahmed will also apply mehndi (henna) to guests’ palms in Annie’s memory, reproducing a particular pattern that Annie herself used.

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Arooj Aftab is a Pakistani-American composer and performer based in Brooklyn. Her album of ambient, experimental electronic music, Siren Islands, was released in 2018.

Hasan Mujtaba is a Sindhi writer, journalist, poet, and human rights activist based in New York. His work has appeared in BBC Urdu, Dawn and Jang Pakistan.

Manan Ahmed is a historian of medieval and early modern Islamic history at Columbia University. His monograph, A Book of Conquest: The Chachnama and Muslim Origins in South Asia, was published in 2016.

Maha S. Ahmed is a designer and artist based in Manhattan.


Readers:

Durba Mitra is a scholar of women, gender and sexuality at Harvard University. Her book, Indian Sex Life: Sexuality and the Colonial Origins of Modern Social Thought is forthcoming from Princeton University Press.

Madiha Tahir is a journalist, activist and media scholar based in New York. She is a Ph.D. candidate at Columbia University.

Zehra Nawab is an illustrator and journalist based in Toronto, Canada. She designed the book cover for Sita Under the Crescent Moon as well as an interior map.

Shahnaz Rouse is the Joseph Campbell Chair in the Humanities at Sarah Lawrence College.

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*Slide show: Annie Ali Khan’s personal archive

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Dizzy Ventilators
Jul
12
7:00 PM19:00

Dizzy Ventilators

DANIEL JODOCY & YUSUKE YAMAMOTO

DIZZY VENTILATORS

JULY 12, FRIDAY, 7-9 PM

SUGGESTED DONATION $8


In conjunction with Carl Lee’s solo show Myoptic and the gallery's summer closing we are pleased to announce a musical performance by Dizzy Ventilators

Belgian musician and instrument builder, Daniel Jodocy, plays on drums and electronics in Dizzy Ventilators, a duo project born in 2008. There is no real genre of music that can define what they play, because each track is composed of many different textures. This is what happens when sound is built out of New York.

Daniel has performed and recorded with numerous musicians and bands including Jonas Mekas, Bill Frisell, Joey Baron, Robin Schulkowsky, Art Baron, Billy Martin, Jeff Ballard, John Spencer (Blues Explosion), Nublu Orchestra Conducted by Butch Morris, Kenny Wollesen (Himalayas and Wollesonic), Cyro Baptista, Big Lazy, Q Tip, and John Zorn. He also contributed to the Grammy-nominated Brazilian Girls 2008 album New York City and also collaborated with Wollesonic and FilmSpeak.

Daniel conducts his own international Orchestra Ambigua, engaging community members of all levels of experience through improvisational conduction and is actively touring.

Known for his authentic sound, Yusuke Yamamoto plays keyboards and electronics.

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Soundcloud

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Video credits: Laura Zavecka + Daniela Garcia Granados

DIZZY VENTILATORS performing at Undercurrent, 2019. Video credits: Laura Zavecka


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Carl Lee
Jun
6
to Jul 13

Carl Lee

LAST HOUSE.   Carl Lee, 2010 (16:30 loop, 3-channel projection, stereo audio, dimensions variable)

LAST HOUSE. Carl Lee, 2010 (16:30 loop, 3-channel projection, stereo audio, dimensions variable)

CARL LEE / Myoptic

JUNE 6 - JULY 13, 2019

OPENING RECEPTION: JUNE 6, 6-9 PM

For our inaugural launch, Undercurrent is proud to present Carl Lee’s solo exhibition, Myoptic. A seminal exhibition for a group of artists branching out from Sla307 Art Space in Chelsea, whose mission was to promote Lithuanian art and diaspora through a cultural exchange, Myoptic marks the move to a new home and our neighborhood debut in DUMBO. This is Carl Lee’s first solo show in New York City and will be on view from June 6 - July 13, 2019. On display are several media installations that act as containers for memory, time, and community.  

Myoptic’s largest installation is Last House, a three-channel video installation, with footage centered around the demolition of a single-family home in Buffalo, NY. Beginning with the portrait of a home, Lee obfuscates the house’s identity by distilling it to a silhouette. The iconic outline provides space for us to fill with our own memories and historically references silhouette portraiture predating the advent of photography. The background fades from black to moving imagery around the structure of the home, forcing us to consider absence and presence within the changing landscape. Lee weaves us from exterior imagery to interior clips of domestic life, where morning light casts endless chiaroscuro shadows abstracting the familiar space while drawing attention to fragments. Paralleling our experiences with memory, these parts of a whole are amplified with the poetic dubbing of a slow demolition, foreshadowing the home’s eventual physical demise. We are powerless as we view footage of the demolition, relating to our own mortality and the inevitability of decay. Last House is a real-time vanitas installation where time slips by, surrendering our memory and sense of home to change. Lee appropriately implies that with every end is a rebirth, of which he leaves to our imagination. 

Another work embracing the house as a vessel is Telescope House 2, an interactive media sculpture constructed out of wood, glass, camera, three monitors, and three media players. Contrary to Last House’s immersive experience, Telescope House 2 is viewed through an individual lens, aptly for the integration of home video footage and an intimate subject, his family. While sharing memories of his daughter’s heartbeat in utero, Lee harmonizes appropriations of Eadweard Muybridge’s Horse in Motion and Bird in Flight, the first moving images ever created. There is a trifecta of sensory stimulation - image, sound, and touch all mingling, amplifying our experience while tapping into our own memories. The repetition of a heartbeat, the matryoshka-like homes nesting within one another, and the reproduction of a new generation echo the cycle of life. 

Demonstration video of "Telescope House," a multi-screen video construction shown here installed as part of Carl's "myoptic" show at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, Buffalo, NY.

Lee’s Home Movies installation includes a monitor, speakers, media player, wood, binoculars, tripod, 6:10 looping video, color and sound. The footage toggles between family-life and family-vacations; seasonal homes, shipping containers, and cruise liners all connect through their impermanence. The distance we view the video paired with the ambient sound installed above us, compounds experience, reminding us that we are viewers, onlookers, gazers at the other, lost in the translation of “home.”

Image courtesy of Hallwalls : Home Movies  installation, Carl's  Myoptic  show at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, Buffalo, NY.

Image courtesy of Hallwalls: Home Movies installation, Carl's Myoptic show at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, Buffalo, NY.

Working with materials that commonly isolate people, Lee connects us to one another through magnifying change. John Massier, the Visual Arts Curator of Hallwalls, states it best,“…the images throughout Carl Lee's exhibition Myoptic are ultimately part of a single long epic poem about life and time. The life of time and the time of one's life.” Serving as incubators for our memories, Lee’s work unifies time’s elusiveness and the mundane, weaving eons into a nutshell, and facilitating an interconnectedness in a time when it is most needed. 

Daina Mattis

Co-director

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