A Movement Standing Still
GREENPOINT TERMINAL GALLERY
EXHIBITIONS ABOUT CONTACT
A Movement Standing Still
September 6 – October 12, 2019
Sometimes our eyes trick us into believing we are moving forward when we aren’t.
The car next to us is moving backward.
With A Movement, Standing Still Abdolreza Aminlari, Samantha Bittman, and Cody Hoyt present an exhibition in which design fuses with a theoretical approach to the subject. Bittman, Aminlari, and Hoyt, by focusing on materials and craft-making, each in their own way, employ larger narratives. If you take the work at a face value, the exhibition is about optics. The pieces play with perception and flaunt craftsmanship. However, the material and craft bridge the viewer into harder conversations, introducing topics like gender, race, class, and the art world hierarchy.
Samantha Bittman’s woven paintings (which she identifies as both paintings and weavings) are inspired by Gestalt psychology, the idea that systems should be viewed as wholes, not as loose collections of parts. She uses color, value, and small-scale patterns to attract the viewer. These choices create movement along an analog flatness. The work is self-aware. It is about the material and the art-making process, and through this heightened self-awareness (which includes the medium's history) Bittman generates the question, “Why are there not more representations of women and weaving throughout the history of art?”
Similarly, Aminlari uses geometry, color, and material to set the table for larger social questions. Again, the work is about design and craftsmanship. Each work is engineered by hand. The blue paintings begin with coats of blue gouache. Next, he stitches patterns in 24-karat gold threads onto paper. The embroidered shapes and lines direct the eye up and down the paper. Colors hold associations. A color can describe a nation, movement, and a moment in time. Here, the blue references a region, a trip taken by the artist, Azulejos. Blue is also often used to represent the contemporary American working class.
Nonrepresentational images are a strong forum for social-political conversations because, at first, they are unassuming, decoration. They are indirect and therefore call for no armor. The viewpoints of the artist can slowly creep to the surface after the viewer is charmed by the imagery, now seduced, warm, and ready for a dialogue. The series, a continuation of his show For a Different Future at Situations, devises a unique pay system where the selling price of the work is determined by the salary of the buyer. Through redefining the pay structure, Aminlari introduces concerns about the relationship between art and class.
Cody Hoyt makes intricately patterned angular ceramic vessels and psychedelic wall work. Like Bittman and Aminlari, the pieces are hand-made and process-based. Expectations of functionality are tied to ceramics. Here, Hoyt dissolves those associations. On one side, the work is unapologetically ceramic. On the other hand, it is apathetic to function. The flowers painted on the vase-like vessel trick the eyes. When you reach the end of the spacial plane, you expect real flowers to start growing, but like complex numbers, some parts remain imaginary.
Hoyt’s wall pieces play with our perception. Unifying the exhibition, the lines make you feel like they are moving, pulsing, coming off the wall. Opt Art. Like Bittman’s paintings, the harsh contrasts create a mirage of movement.
Overall the exhibition leaves the viewer with the question: what is actually in motion?