Installation View All pictures via Gladstone Gallery unless otherwise noted
Currently on view at Gladstone Gallery, 530 West 21th street, is a new installation by Banks Violette, a renowned New York Minimalist and conceptual artist. Appropriately untitled, the installation encompasses Violette’s signature use of replaceable materials, monochromatic palette and the openness to myriads of interpretations. The centerpiece of the installation is a large chandelier made of multiple fluorescent tubes . Wires fall in a cascade alongside the chandelier while the apparatus of steel tubes and sandbags supporting the wall remain in plain sight. By exposing these technical banalities, the artist probably seeks to reveal the theatrical and artificial essence of his oeuvre, in which he heavily draws on the legacy of Conceptual sculptors Donald Judd and Dan Flavin. The installation is organized in collaboration with Team Gallery and is on view until April, 17.
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Appropriately described by the British critic and curator Francesca Gavin as New Gothic Art in her 2008 book Hell Bound, Violette’s oeuvre explores the morbid themes of ritual murder, teenage paranoia and suicide. Among the artist’s sources of inspiration are extreme metal, hardcore punk, motorcycle clubs, pornography, and other elements of popular culture. As Gavin describes it ” There are monsters, the grotesque, violated or mutant bodies, the divided self, ghosts, dolls, masks, skulls, disgust and the abject. These are images filled with the colour black, decay and instability. Fear is reflected on the environment, or on to the self, or on to others. Sometimes the work is nihilistic or anarchic”.
The New Gothic Art movement began in 1997 with an eponymous exhibition organized by the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston. Among the participants of the exhibition were Jake and Dinos Chapman, Mike Kelley, Gregory Crewdson, Robert Gober, Jim Hodges, Douglas Gordon, Abigail Lane, Tony Oursler, Alexis Rockman, and Cindy Sherman.
Violette speaks of his works: “I’m interested in a visual language that’s over-determined, exhausted, or just over-burdened by meaning. The heavy-handed one-to-one of ‘black-equals-wrong’ is incredibly interesting to me — less as something that has a meaning in itself, but more in how those visual codes can somehow become reanimated. That’s constant throughout my work. All those images are like zombies — they’re stripped of vitality, yet sometimes they get life back in them … and. like zombies, usually something goes wrong when they wake up again”.
Born in 1973, Banks Violette received his BFA from School of Visual Arts in 1998, and in 2000, completed his artistic training by receiving MFA from Columbia University in New York. Since then, his work was subject of exhibitions at various museums and galleries internationally, including the Whitney Museum of American Art,New York, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts ,San Francisco, Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, Museum Boijmans van Beuningeng in Rotterdam, the Migros Museum in Zurich. The artist participated in the “Greater New York” exhibition at PS1 Center for Contemporary Art in New York and “USA Today” at The Royal Academy ,London. His work is featured in several prominent collections including the Musee d’Arte Moderne et Contemporain Geneva, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, the Saatchi Gallery in London, and MOMA and the Guggenheim Museum, both in New York. He is represented by Team Gallery in New York, Maureen Paley Gallery in London and Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac in Salzburg.