Paul Kasmin Gallery is pleased to announce Farewell Transmission, a two-venue exhibition of recent sculpture by Roxy Paine. The exhibition will be on view from May 2 to July 1, 2017, spanning the galleries at 293 and 297 Tenth Avenue. This is the artist’s first major New York solo exhibition in three years and the first of his sculpture at Paul Kasmin Gallery.
Over the past 25 years, Paine’s sculptures ruminate upon the clash of the human and the natural worlds, and the warring of chaos and control that result from humanity’s attempts to manage the process. Fusing organic forms, such as trees, flowers, and fungi with man-made structures and materials among which include stainless steel, epoxy, and polymer, Paine invents, distorts, surprises and confounds our perception of the natural and inorganic and the real and artificial. Farewell Transmission presents two distinct series, Dioramas and Dendroids; each express the artist’s anxieties about the human impact on our habitat and the mechanized tools that seek to impose order and control, often to disordered and unpredictable ends.
In his Dioramas, Paine adopts and adapts a format familiar within the natural history museum, but instead of employing human artifice to represent the natural world, Paine’s Dioramas use organic materials to represent quotidian environments where the fundamental states of the Homo Sapien can be observed. Rooted in the Greek language, diorama translates to “through that which is seen.” Paine’s Dioramas are a device through which one can examine our own habitat, culture and society. Seemingly innocuous at first, each Diorama presents a room devoid of actual figures, yet charged with their psychological dilemmas. Meeting, 2016, is the artist’s most intimate in scale from the series, and implies through attentive details such as a ring of non-descript office chairs, the community space that hosts one of the variety twelve-step substance abuse programs. experiment, 2015, the only diorama of an actual historical event, though one for which we have no photographs, depicts the setting of a 1950s-70s CIA surveillance program examining the effects of LSD. Looking at this hallucinatory experience through another surveilling environment heightens the paranoid feelings of control, manipulation and misguided forensic observation. Personal associations and past encounters with these familiar spaces inevitably creep into the imagined scenes of the Diorama, collapsing the distance between the viewer and that which is on view.
The new Dendroids, Paine’s first iteration in over 5 years of his iconic stainless steel sculptures, further expand upon this multifaceted, yet imperfect, transformation of the industrial into the natural, with even more daring grafting, beguiling engineering, and wild experimentation. In the new works, tree trunks, branches and roots intertwine with lungs and hearts, or with electricity poles and debris and detritus. Ground Fault, 2016, poetically melds a tree’s roots and trunk with two transformers that are used to circulate electromagnetic energy. Paine’s Dendroids continue to reveal the intrinsic affinities and twisted connectivity of a tree’s form with other plant, human and man-made systems.
In Desolation Row, 2017, a remarkable new work, Paine synthesizes the tree silhouettes of the Dendroids, the simulation of the Dioramas and the expansiveness of his earlier Fields series to replicate nature in solitude and at its most poignant moment. Returning to the motif of the tree, Paine presents them in Desolation Row as charred, barren, and destroyed. Positioned across a 13-ft table, Desolation Row is an unflinching portrayal of the infinite cycle of control and chaos reaching its devastating yet paradoxical conclusion where Paine leaves the question of renewal to be resolved.
Roxy Paine (b. 1966, New York, NY) lives and works between New York City and Treadwell, NY. His work is the subject of numerous museum exhibitions worldwide including Roxy Paine: Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor at Beeler Gallery, Columbus College of Art & Design, OH, 2016–17; Natura Naturans at Villa Panza, Varese, Italy, 2015–16; and Roxy Paine: Scumaks and Dendroids at Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City, MO in 2011. In 2009, Paine was selected to create Maelstrom, a site-specific installation for the rooftop garden at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His work has been installed in prominent public venues such as Madison Square Park in 2009 and Central Park in 2002. Paine has been the recipient of many prestigious awards, including John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, the Asher B. Durand Award by the Brooklyn Museum and the Trustees Award for an Emerging Artist by the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum. His work is included in prominent public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art New York, Museum of Modern Art San Francisco, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, National Gallery Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C., North Carolina Museum of Art, Seattle Art Museum, The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.
In 2018, the city of San Francisco will inaugurate its Central Subway Project with a new site-specific sculptural installation by Paine. A major monograph of the artist’s work will be published by Rizzoli next year.