Alexandra Gorczynski : Vanity Theater
MAY 6 - JUNE 18, 2016
Alexandra Gorczynski is internationally recognized as among the most influential young artists from the post-Internet art phenomenon. Using digital techniques to layer paint, photographs, moving images, and even physical screens, she redefines both the haptic boundaries of the painterly medium as well as the potential for formalism in the age of the ethereal image. Gorczynski’s practice utilizes technology to push color to new heights of animation. Her most recent works fuse this technological ultra-vision with the art historical, placing time beside itself and re-framing bodies in surreal and glamorous tableaux.
ALEXANDRA GORCZYNSKI & LINDSAY HOWARD IN CONVERSATION
ALEXANDRA GORCZYNSKI is internationally recognized as among the most influential young artists from the post-Internet art phenomenon. Using digital techniques to layer paint, photographs, moving images, and even physical screens, she redefines both the haptic boundaries of the painterly medium as well as the potential for formalism in the age of the ethereal image. Gorczynski’s practice utilizes technology to push color to new heights of animation. Her most recent works fuse this technological ultra-vision with the art historical, placing time beside itself and re-framing bodies in surreal and glamorous tableaux.
In her new works, Gorczynski takes a Modernist approach to space, materiality, color and form. She carefully considers the condition of painting, moving from the Screen to the Screen-like in a radical return to the closed frame of a physical picture. And if her earlier screen pieces like Tidal Wave (2012) or the Chronotope series (2015) suggestively censored the classic nude, her newest pieces update and place that form provocatively on view. Cutting and pasting from a wide art historical reference, she pulls moods, colors, and fragments from works by Henri Matisse and Helen Frankenthaler, digital scans of children’s scribbles, and the female body. Feminine figures, rendered sensuously in painterly line and collage, are perhaps enigmatic allegories or glimpses of a fleeting moment lost in time. The superficial atmosphere and depth of these surreal large-scale landscapes create visual illusions that push and pull the surface of the works, calling out the flatness and toying with it, emphasizing its sensuality.
Contrary to the narcissism implied by the title ‘Vanity Theater,’ Gorczynski herself is not centrally on display in the works. They are provocative, richly emotional and at times aggressive; the interplay between innocence and sexuality, made tenser by exposure, invites and rejects the gaze of the viewer simultaneously. But the works are only self-referential in the sense that Gorczynski is their author. Her full-frontals (both self-portraiture and portraits of close friends) both expose and contain her, but her presence within the borders of the piece is eclipsed by composition as a whole. She says:
“Since my work is grounded in painting and a painterly approach to the medium, there is absolutely an authorial presence. Narrative is present even in the absence of text. Whenever someone asserts her authorship, regardless of the medium, the works reflect a highly personal set of desires, obsessions, illusions, and impressions, even if the content is not autobiographical.”
Perhaps the most exciting element in these complex collages is Gorczynski’s textural and vibrant approach to color, made possible by her forays into the digital. Using technology as any other tool in her arsenal to layer paint and oil pastels on her digital paintings, she is able materialize new and more dynamic approaches to color. Referencing the strong influence of poets and novelists from the Surrealist, Symbolist, and Decadent movements, she regards color as a visual language in parallel to poetry. Every color is a singular unit energized by juxtapositions and combinations that produce moments of intensity and stimulation going far beyond language.
Despite often being grouped in with the ‘Net Art’ movement, Gorczynski is a prolific Fine Artist engaging with the tools provided by New Media. Her practice at its base is always physical, and her incorporation of technology, while expanding formal possibilities, simultaneously presents new formal challenges and problems. The kind of current technologies Gorczynski employs are frequently regarded as a break with more traditional media, yet if developments in contemporary art are defined as ruptures with past formulas then tradition must be put in relief for progression to occur. ‘Vanity Theater’ fuses visual traditions with new formal aesthetics made possible by digital technologies, and Alexandra Gorczynski’s captivating work is placed clearly in this continuum, the result of an intense engagement with the larger traditions of art history.
Alexandra Gorczynski received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2006 and is currently based in Philadelphia. This is her first exhibition with SAVERY.
Gorczynski’s work featured in 2013 in Paddles On! at Phillip’s auction house, the world’s first auction dedicated exclusively to digital art where she ranked among the top sellers. That same year, she also presented her first solo exhibition at Transfer Gallery in Brooklyn, New York. In 2014, Zhulong Gallery in Dallas, TX hosted Quantum Objects, Gorczynski’s second solo show, exhibiting two-dimensional, sculptural and video works that explored the overlap of virtual and actual states of being. Gorczynski was commissioned in 2015 to create a bespoke work for the traveling exhibition Musee Passager, founded by the Atelier de Frederic Laffy, Paris.
Gorczynski has also participated in numerous group exhibitions worldwide, most notably The Salon is a Living Room, Fanny Berta, Vienna, Austria; E-Vapor-8, Site Gallery, Sheffield, UK; Raster Raster, Aran Cravey Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; New Romantics, Eyebeam, New York, NY; Blue Lagoon, One Thoresby Street, Nottingham, UK; Dry Wipe, Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham, UK; Shine a Light, Portland Museum of Art, Portland, OR; Youth Culture, The Future Gallery, Berlin, Germany; and The Shift, 319 Scholes, Brooklyn, NY.