An exhibition curated by Ariel Greene and Danielle Wu

June 12 - 24, 2016
Opening: Sunday, June 12, 1-3pm
1pm - reception
2pm - artist talk

Featured artists:
Emily Chow Bluck
Jennifer Harley
Erika Keck
Isaac Pool
Nick Theobald


“Art becomes a matter of Absolute Spirit when, whatever other roles it may play,
it offers, like religion and philosophy, one way of bringing to our minds and
expressing the Divine, the deepest interests of mankind and
the most comprehensive truths of the spirit.”
— Arthur Danto, The End of Art

APT 2D is pleased to host its first exhibition, presenting a space for contemplation and conversation. We are indebted to the artists who generously lent their work for this pursuit: Emily Chow Bluck, Jennifer Harley, Erika Keck, Isaac Pool, and Nick Theobald.

Artists included in this exhibition were chosen for their similar inquiries into the purity of a single medium such as wood, beeswax, sugar, acrylic paint, or the internet. Within this post-minimal practice often requiring self-imposed restriction, these artists reveal the poetic power within the medium itself. An exploration of the malleability and physical properties of material reveal multiple often overlooked facets of its many forms: the beauty, complexity, and sensorial depth.

Emily Chow Bluck uses food as a means to question, transcend, and ultimately transform cultural stigmas, stories of struggle, and oppression in urban neighborhoods. A Curated Selection / Repackaged Value (2016) is a performance with a set of dual pop-up restaurant-esque facades inquiring into the language and aesthetic of food marketing, as well as the implicit ties to class and race. Staged in a Brooklyn apartment kitchen, Bluck raises questions of gentrification and restaurants as a site of demonstrated or reinforced hegemony that is especially relevant to New York as a landscape in constant territorial flux. The viewer is given a choice between which venue to visit: “high-end” or “low-end”, reflectively taking responsibility for their role as consumer.

Jennifer Harley explores the hidden and uncanny possibilities of everyday materials, drawing organic associations with her sculptures and installations. Body Heat (2016) reveals a bodily and grotesque side of the culinary ingredient. Melted down at high temperatures without any additives, the sugar naturally forms into fleshy colors that bear a foreboding resemblance to the human body. Harley says her work “looks at the idea of ephemerality and the fragility of places both physical and imagined, at our illusions about permanence and the fear that accompanies the scent of decay.” Stretching across the floor, Between her Teeth (2016) is a study of creation. Inspired by the rituals between mother and daughter, in which the first demonstration of autonomy stems from arranging one’s own hair, Harley creates an accumulation piece from bobby pins. Their arrangements in rows on the ground communicate a patterned trail of time, habit, and creative potential.

Erika Keck continues to push the boundaries between painting and sculpture by treating paint like a malleable, three-dimensional form. The series Untitled (2016) features ribbons of acrylic paint that spill over the edge and into the viewer’s space. Each drip painting is made using more than five hundred individual ribbons of acrylic paint layered over a wooden frame. By eliminating the canvas altogether, Keck allows acrylic paint and pigment to become the primary object of study. Held to the frame by only the friction of the paint itself, Keck’s work furthers the perception of paint as tangible object with near-corporeal presence. On the subject of materiality in her work, Keck says, “I’m almost extreme realism. Within that realism, it is about the realism of the material, and also the realism of, you’re not always exposing yourself. You’re not always being literal. To me, that’s the ultimate in reality.”

Isaac Pool uses poetry to create spaces from the dissonance of lifestyle maintenance as framed by the Internet.  Pool created today.ykepool.info (2015) after committing to watch the TV show every day for one year. The webpages are filled with poems written on the commute to work after each episode, as well as collaged stills, capturing not only the unwavering optimism of commercial American television—both its artifice and alluring appeal—but also how the social actors of the virtual world infiltrate our visual vocabulary and compose a realm that captivates our concern. Pool has said of his web works that they provide “room for distance—to consider the screen an object and consider yourself beside it.” Handwritten onto the wall, Hand can’t? (2016), provides a starkly archaic contrast. The internet fades away; Pool intones doing away with tools entirely in an impasse of material exploration, “picking it, hoarding and wishing it could bake.”

Nick Theobald creates paintings and sculptures primarily using beeswax – a material intrinsic with historical and ubiquitous meaning that transcends multiple cultures and geographies. As one of the only foods that keeps indefinitely in its raw state, honey has long been associated with a quest for eternal life; ancient Egyptian tombs have been found with pots of honey still preserved and fragrant. Strongly influenced by his childhood in Singapore, Thangka #2 (2016) recalls the ancient tradition of Tibetan religious paintings. Thangkas are used as a record and guide for meditation. Each Thangka is painted according to exact canonical rules dictating subject matter, gestures, and symbols. In Theobald’s raw and reductive composition, he pays homage to the formula by substituting screenprinted black text for images. A thinly applied layer of beeswax on the surface imbues the work with a multi-sensorial experience that invites meditation.

We thank those who make a purchase during the course of this exhibition, which directly benefits the artists featured and ensures the continuity of projects like these. We are also in gratitude to Mirrorball and Perrier for sponsoring the opening reception.

Please contact Ariel Greene or Danielle Wu, contactiscontent@gmail.com

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Ericka Keck, Untitled, 2016.