Ryan Mrozowski talks about his studio practice and the role painting plays within it.
Ryan Mrozowski’s A Mouth that Might Sing was the painter’s third solo show at Pierogi in Williamsburg. It was also his most diverse to date; filling the two galleries, Mrozowski’s new work included collage, video, drawing, and found paper objects. Still, the Brooklyn-based artist is, by his own definition, a painter at heart. Mrozowski sat down with me recently to discuss failure, the uncanny, and being a weirdo at the Strand.
Carmen Winant Your third solo show just closed at Pierogi. How has the work changed over the course of those exhibitions, or during the last several years with the gallery?
Ryan Mrozowski Those three shows happened over the course of four and a half years. My first show was in 2008, when I was a few years out of grad school at Pratt. I was still finding my voice as a painter, let alone as an artist. During the last four years, I’ve allowed the play in my studio practice to find its way to the gallery wall. And in that process, which is decidedly more open, other materials and mediums have found their way in. It has been a process of outward growth.
Moyra Davey’s been included in the 2012 Whitney Biennial and has an upcoming exhibition opening at the end of this month. Here, a pause for a portrait of the artist.
Moyra Davey has been busy: her photography and video work were featured in MoMA’s New Photography 2011 exhibition and she’s featured in the 2012 Whitney Biennial. Finally, Davey also has a show opening at Manhattan’s Murray Guy at the end of this month. Carmen Winant sat down with the artist at her apartment in Washington Heights to discuss private experiences in public places, resisting nostalgia, being messy, and how Roland Barthes is a perfect soundtrack for making work.
Carmen Winant Since we are speaking in your studio, which is in your apartment in Washington Heights, let’s start with this: how long have you lived here? Have you always had a live-work space?
Moyra Davey I’ve lived here since 2000. Before that I was in Hoboken, and, before that, in Williamsburg for five years. We had a big loft in Hoboken, but I didn’t like working there. It was a beautiful but really permeable space: noisy and dusty. I prefer this set up, which is an apartment in a pre-war building. The walls and floors are lined with cement so it is incredibly quiet and private. I work on the couch, the bed, at the kitchen table. It drives my partner crazy because I colonize the whole space. But I love to find the perfect spot for whatever it is . . . reading or writing, or working on some photographs. I want the best light, the best music. If I am doing something boring like folding up photographs I will go in the kitchen table, where there is a little MP3 player.
Carmen Winant interviews Brock Enright about his unusual CV and the evocative similarities between a mirror and the stage.
Brock Enright has an unusual CV for an artist. Over the past several years, the artist has staged abductions upon request, been the subject of a documentary film, held solo exhibitions in New York, London, Berlin, and Los Angeles, and appeared on The View and Good Morning America. His most recent work is now up at Kate Werble Gallery.
Carmen Winant So, before we speak about your current show at Kate Werble gallery, I am hoping to talk about your own mixed media practice. You work in performance, music, installation, drawing, and, perhaps you would even call yourself a director? I read that for your 2001 MFA thesis show at Columbia, you had your mother perform a body building routine. How would you describe yourself as an artist—and is it difficult to reconcile across different media, or decide what is most fitting for each project?
Brock Enright . . . I use the appropriate material to execute my hypothesis. By doing that, I am aware of the possibilities for misunderstanding, or the lack of interest or comprehension. The result is a larger bite than one normally eats in entertainment, or the art world.
Photographer Amy Elkins peers through the lens of masculine identity into the eye of a high-contact sport with a new show at Yancey Richardson.
After seven years of living and working in New York, the photographer Amy Elkins recently moved to Portland, Oregon. However, her roots in the city are still strong: her current exhibition, Elegant Violence, is open through October 22nd at the Project space in the Yancey Richardson Gallery. In making portraits of rugby players, Elkins’s new work continues her ongoing investigation of masculine identity through photography.
Carmen Winant Your series of photographs, Elegant Violence, up now at Yancey Richardson gallery, was begun in 2010. As with your last body of work, Wallflower, you have chosen to make intimate portraits of young men. Will you address a question that I imagine you get a lot: why maleness? Artists often tend toward negotiating their own subjective experiences . . . is the driving force in your work to achieve the opposite, to probe maleness as a thing fundamentally unknowable?
Amy Elkins It’s a theme I began exploring once I moving to New York. I had lived in California and New Orleans prior to that, and had never considered narrowing my photographic explorations to sex and gender. I have always primarily worked within portraiture, but my interests were less formal and less specific. It is true to some extent that I am interested in the subject matter because it is foreign to me . . . I won’t ever really know why men are the way they are, or why they have been compelled throughout history to act on impulses of competition through sports or violence. I can read about it, look into it endlessly or talk for hours with the men I am photographing, but I will probably walk away just as curious. My curiosity also stems from my personal history. I’ve always been a keen observer of the men in my life.
Deana Lawson’s photographs are now featured in MoMA’s New Photography exhibition. Carmen Winant sits down with Lawson to discuss the visual vernacular of her background, large and small format photography, and Audre Lorde’s definition of the erotic.
New Photography at MoMA features six artists, the Brooklyn based Deana Lawson among them. Lawson has been steadily working and exhibiting her photography and photographic assemblage since graduating from RISD in 2004. Most recently, she participated in PS1’s Greater New York 2010 exhibition. I met Lawson last year when we were both teaching photography at California College of the Arts in San Francisco. She had a show nearby at Baer Ridgeway exhibitions, and the work gripped me in a way that hasn’t quite let go. We spoke about her upcoming show at MoMA, her process of cultivating ideas and making work, and the implications of investigating personal and social histories through photographic processes.
Carmen Winant Along with five other photographers, your work will be featured in New Photography 2011 at MoMA. Can you talk a little bit about what will be in the show, and the process of being curated into it?
Deana Lawson Sure. The work in New Photography has all been made in the past three of four years. I don’t work in series—everything is ongoing—so what is being shown is a chronological mix from that time. As far as the work itself, I’ve always been deeply invested in psychological portraiture, the body/sensuality, and family relationships.