In the aptly titled show “Rock, Paper, Scissors,” artists Seçkin Pirim, Dana Levy, Suzanne Song and Cheryl Molnar employ stone, paper and various technologies to create works that highlight man’s complicated relationship to nature.
Turkish sculptor Seçkin Pirim is currently a resident artist with C24 Gallery, which in 2016 exhibited his first solo show in the United States, “Hypochondriac.” Working both by hand and with technological processes such as 3-D printing, Pirim’s work is abstract, precise and easily categorized as minimalist.
In a 2016 interview with Art Radar, however, Pirim revealed the personal route he followed to his aesthetic, “My art is minimal because my life is minimal. Also my soul too. I don’t create minimalist sculptures especially. These are the outcomes of my living … I am trying to attain something else with my works. I am interested in if I can make someone cry or if I can touch someone’s soul without using any figure, just using abstract forms … I admire minimalism so much. Maybe what’s irrelevant [to] minimalism with my works is that I name my works and give meaning to them.”
Cut from bristol paper colored in wood-like hues, “Birds on the Wires I” (2018) and “Birds on Wires 2” (2018) evoke the very scene their titles describe. In each piece, long, horizontal lines — running parallel to one another — are interrupted by diamond shapes of various sizes. Several of these diamonds appear to bear dark, ghostly eyes and pointy beaks and because the design is similar to sheet music, bird song comes to mind.
Dana Levy lives and works in New York where — along with Song and Molnar —she is a member of The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, a non-profit that provides affordable studio space, equipment and a place to exhibit work.
While currently located in New York, Levy’s practice is inextricably tied to her Israeli origins. In an interview with Naomi Lev for Artforum, Levy explained, “As an Israeli, you carry a past: biblical stories, the Holocaust, and wars. There is always a dualism between the past and the present. I also find that there usually is a dualism in my work: something whole, something broken; something wild, something tamed; nature and man; life and death.”
“Trucks On Rocks” (2019), my favorite piece in the show, exemplifies this aesthetic. Across three small, mounted slabs of multi-colored stone, Levy projects the image of a lone, white, 18-wheeler truck enroute to an unknown destination. The video loops. The white truck is always lost in the spaces between the slabs. Scale is played with as the truck’s course follows a particular curving line in each stone as if these small lines are roads cut into a vaster rocky landscape.
Cheryl Molnar uses collage to create her imaginary landscapes. These landscapes, punctuated by human constructions, are pieced together from her own memories and photographs of places that she has been to. Parts of one place combine with parts of another. In “Case Study House” (2019), a vast swimming pool leads us to a wide one-story building. In the windows photographs of palm trees and mountains can be seen as if reflected. Behind the house rise steep multi-colored cliffs, which lend an element of isolation to the piece. A cliffside home appears to have been shifted to sea level.
Susanne Song works with line, shadows and the concept of illusion. “I am interested in presenting visual states in which the boundaries between image and reality blur,” she wrote in an artist statement for Mixed Greens gallery. “Untitled” (2019), made with acrylic and pumice stone on canvas, does just that. The piece is made up of four rough and three wider, smooth vertical lines. The bottom half of the two-tone piece is darker in color than the top. Looking at the piece head on, it isn’t clear which parts of the piece protrude or sink, what is shadow and what is paint.
“Rock, Paper, Scissors” binds these four artists together by the materials with which they create and tackle the complex relationships between human beings and nature, man-made concepts and reality.
ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS at C24 Gallery
Seçkin Pirim, Dana Levy, Cheryl Molnar, Suzanne Song
MAY 9 — JUNE 29, 2019
560 WEST 24TH STREET
NEW YORK, NY 10011