ON THE BENEFITS OF DELAYED GRATIFICATION
Mikkel Carl, Steven Cox, Russell Tyler
Dec. 11, 2014 - Jan. 24, 2015
Dec. 11, 2014 - Jan. 24, 2015
Ana Cristea Gallery is pleased to present “On the Benefits of Delayed Gratification,” a group exhibition that brings together the accomplished work of three international artists: Mikkel Carl, Steven Cox and Russell Tyler.
In a world where we all demand that our voice be heard, the microcosm that is the art world offers a barrage of “mute” works, daring visuals that often have very little to say. But nevertheless, we hear them. They make sure of that.
The work of many contemporary artists reflects (or alternatively, inverts) what we observe culturally: myriad efforts to create and capture those ethereal, ephemeral things like moments and meaning. Those things that our photos try so desperately to contain and share. With each click, one small network is engulfed by a larger one, and a larger one, and so on.
The works on display engage with a dialogue at the vanguard of the market, questioning not only this culture of commodification but what dictates meaning and how, questioning fundamental dichotomies of phenomenology and semiotics, of agency and process as they relate to the creation of and reception to art. More to the point, they work toward a synthesis that sees well beyond the polarity found within the dominant paradigms of contemporary abstract painting.
Danish artist Mikkel Carl’s work is discursive and conceptual. He explores the semiotics of cultural production and the heritage of the ready-made, while endeavoring to reconnect the fundamental phenomenological and semiotic categories that have grown in polarity along with our efforts to define. In his new body of work, Carl enters the expanded field of painting utilizing a chemical process called anodizing, as yet a way to relinquish the traditional role of artist as creator. Rather he creates the moments captured within the resulting work. A titanium plate is lowered into a pool of sulfuric acid that is wired to a fixed voltage electric circuit. Instantly, a layer of microscopic crystals forms on the surface. As it refracts the light, lucid colors appear on the surface entirely without the use of pigment. Carl initiates the process. He projects the result with different soaking, masking and application techniques, but ultimately the process runs its course. Mikkel Carl (b. 1976) lives and works in Copenhagen. He holds a BA in philosophy and in 2009 he graduated from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. Recent solo and group exhibitions include Tropical curated by Co2, Paris (2014); Calculated Optimism, LAST RESORT, Copenhagen (2014); My Chemical Romance, Retrospective Gallery, Hudson, NY (2014); It looks fake, but it feels real, Accademia di Danimarca, Rome (2013).
For Steven Cox, the process relies on a balancing act between control and chance. Engaging with post-structuralist critique, Cox utilizes both the repetitive structure and the rhythmic effect of poetry to explore the language of painting. Color, pattern and line become the building blocks of his language. We encounter the works from top to bottom, at varying tempos. The lines have the continuous effect of notes of music, flowing from one to the next with impressive vibrato, rather than of hard lines of text. Cox utilizes Hessian Jute (at one time the primary export from Dundee, Scotland) as a tool for stenciling. He spray paints through the material, so the resulting texture mimics the material used in its creation, adding yet another layer that fuses conception with process. Steven Cox (b. 1986, Aberdeen, Scotland) lives and works in Edinburgh, Scotland. He graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in 2011. Recent solo and group exhibitions include Ode, Halsey McKay Gallery, New York (2014); Volatile, Galleri Jacob Bjørn Aarhus (2014); Ghost Current, V1 Gallery, Copenhagen (2014); Annual, Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh (2013); 151st Open, The Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts, Glasgow (2012); New Contemporaries, Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh (2008).
Russell Tyler has also changed the “direction” of his oeuvre, from dark figurative works to minimalist tonal abstractions. The works call to mind windows and computer screens implicitly commenting on both the specular and the commodification of creativity. Drips and borders interrupt the perfect flatness of his pictorial screens or windows, reframing the binaries of opticality and expression, painting and object, agent and observer. Repetition, rule and uniformity become the harbingers of opposition and we see a host of hypotheticals in each iteration. Russell Tyler (b. 1981, TN) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. In 2010, he graduated from the Pratt Institute. Recent solo and group exhibitions include Ok Great THANKS this is SO RIDICULOUS, ACME, Los Angeles (2014); Analogue Future, DCKT Contemporary, New York (2013); Windows, Denny Gallery, New York (2013); Fortune Teller, Fouladi Projects, San Francisco, CA (2012).
 In a piece on Mikkel Carl’s recent works, curator and art critic Toke Lykkeberg discusses the artist’s desire to set up dialogue concerning the muteness so predominant on the contemporary art scene.
 The native Scot attributes the poetry of Robert Burns as a direct source of inspiration