It has always been my principle that I never dissect the inner motivations and intent of the artist. That in itself is a sacred place where an outsider such as myself can’t claim to understand. What I put down in writing is a visceral reaction that I have to the work displayed before me. Last April 24th at Charles Bank Gallery on the Bowery, I was confronted by the process of a young artist, Garrett Pruter, twenty-four years of age and already expressing a stark confidence with his recent body of works for his solo exhibition, Interiors.
Working with found 20th Century film negatives and employing a subtractive method that Pruter evoked nostalgia coupled with his innovative presentation. Materials such as Mylar behind the cut up photos, bleached out images on paper, the abstracts on canvas, cut up collages, and his light with projector installation (on view at the lower level project space from April 24th to May 12th) provided a myriad of reflective ideas of the hidden beauty and internal structures of mundane images that juxtaposes with the exterior end result.
I really was captivated by a piece that looked like a classic pencil sketch of a grand structure of a house but I looked closely at the scratched out swaths left on the paper that it turned out to be a photo. Pruter had the editing eye to keep the essentials such as the doors, windows with shutters, peaks of the roof, and vital details. In art school, one is taught that it is far easier to add than to subtract so restraint was a discipline difficult to master. Pruter found a purist take and distilled it to the bare bones or soul of the images. He even had side by side diptychs of the same photograph of a flower bouquet but executed with added or subtracted elements. You are seeing the same image but it registered differently. For such a bold move, the nuances fascinated the viewer.
Deconstructing found images and to whittle the barest essentials is a challenge not to be undertaken by the timid or insecure. Because once you remove it, there is no way of placing it back as each decision must be deliberate and executed with full confidence. Pruter came off with a calm reserve but willing to talk about his process, which denoted a maturity that will serve him well in his artistic career. He shouldn’t be quantified for the exuberance of his youthful years but rather appreciate the artistic hand that produced such oeuvre. His interior thrust with this latest show is in brilliant proportion to the exterior proof of what was shown that night. Inside. Outside. It made a distinct artistic impression.
Garrett Pruter: Interiors / On View: April 24 – May 26, 2013
Gallery Hours: Wed – Fri (11 am – 6 pm) Sat & Sun (12 – 6 pm) or by appt.
Charles Bank Gallery. 196 Bowery (at Spring Street). NYC, NY 10012
Art review by: Oscar A. Laluyan
Art images from Charles Bank Gallery courtesy of the artist
Event photography by: Deukyun Hwang