FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Mark Barrow & Sarah Parke
wave, particle, string
September 10 – October 24, 2015
Elizabeth Dee is pleased to present wave, particle, string, an exhibition of new works by Mark Barrow and Sarah Parke.
The crux of Barrow and Parke’s work lies in the dichotomy of what Merleau-Ponty calls “the spontaneous organization of things we perceive and the human organization of ideas and sciences.” Interested in the systems and metaphors we construct to collate data and ideas, Barrow and Parke focus on the smallest, repeated elements within these frameworks examining them as if under a microscope. Artistic materials are reduced to their most basic components, creating points of inflection that allow the artists to draw correlations across different systems. At the core of the work is the sense that the closer one examines these complexities, the more everything seems the same. A pixel, a brushstroke, a weaving pick, a halftone dot, and a drop of dye, all becomes interchangeable, each revealing something of the others.
Barrow and Parke liken their artistic ambitions to scientists’ quest to understand the world beyond the Standard Model of particle physics. Like researchers building new theories to understand how the universe works, Barrow and Parke attempt to better understand the world around them by manipulating their crafts’ conventions on a minute scale and casting them in a new light.
Despite diverse approaches, the repetition of small components from work to work serves as the pulse of the exhibition. The front window of the gallery is transformed into a stained glass composition made from a mosaic of red, green, blue and black vinyl applied square by square. The pair continues the series of white and black paintings (on CMY and RGB fabrics respectively) in which Barrow creates compositions by covering Parke’s colored fabrics in different ratios of white and black paint to allow the primary colored threads to optically mix into different colored shapes. An unstretched painting is presented on a custom plywood plinth made to emphasize the individual plies of which it is made.
Several new types of work are included in the exhibition: sewn canvases, Swipe paintings, and Reweaves. The Swipe paintings trace Barrow’s finger swipes when making iPad drawings that serve as the source files for all the compositions in the show. In the Reweaves, Parke pulls apart a dyed piece of linen, thread by thread, and reweaves either the warp or weft into a new pattern and composition.
In the back room, a mesmerizing 16mm film is screened in which Barrow has re-sequenced scenes of light from Terrence Malick’s 2011 film, The Tree of Life. Each of the 4,000 frames was put into a different halftone pattern, reducing the images of light to an abstract array of animated dots.
wave, particle, string follows Barrow and Parke’s solo presentation at Independent Projects in 2014. Additionally, they have recently taken part in a number of international group exhibitions at institutions and galleries including: Decorum at the Musée d'Art Moderne, Paris, To Open Eyes at the Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Mingei: Are you here? at Pace London and New York, Halftone: Through the Grid at Galerie Max Heltzer, Berlin, Dans un interieur at Almine Rech, Paris and Brussels, and Pretty Raw: After and Around Helen Frankenthaler at the Rose Art Museum.