NEW YORK, NY.-
In The Waters Fine, Grayson Coxs second solo exhibition at Gasser Grunert
, the artist overhauls the entire gallery into a physically and psychologically challenging sculptural environment that questions ideas of spatial control, communal versus private space, our relationship with the natural world, and how architecture motivates, controls, manipulates and facilitates.
Entering the gallery requires an active commitment by visitors to engage with the work: first bending below the 50-inch high, 1,600 square foot wood structure that covers the gallery; then traversing through the sub-environment labyrinth. Frequent pop-up relief is found, through holes of varying sizes, offering intimate social encounters with others in the gallery and with the artists wall sculptures and paintings. Coxs modernist, multi-layered and multi-processed works weave together created and found imagery to form new semi-fictional narratives referencing home improvement stores, religious and domestic rituals and iconography, familial relationships through anthropomorphized plants, and literal windows of escape to seemingly bucolic settings. The exhibition palette is subdued, from the grey enamel painted wood table surface to the neutral toned wall works incorporating drawing, silkscreen, painting, and letterpress, and wood, all inducing a dream-like environment.
The wood surface is supported by iron table bases, giving the effect that youve crawled under the dinner table; and the holes, carved out and rounded to imply a cocktail table top in reverse, are ergonomically designed to put your arms up and relax. Visitors fill the negative spaces, created in varying sizes to accommodate two to five people with five being understood to be the threshold for a single conversation. Standing in the holes, or on the uncovered stairs that separate the two-level gallery, visitors can exercise freedom within oppression, charting their own course to get closer to works, or people, that entice them.
In the downstairs gallery, responding to the bunker like cement room and the gallerys ultra-high ceilings, the artist uses special framing devises to reference his fascination with cathedrals and draw similarities between religious rituals, such as the Catholic Stations of the Cross, and daily domestic rituals with appliances in our built environments. A large wood sculpture, arched windows, and altar-like settings all lead up to the grand finalea major triptych wall piece, presented in a sculptural frame referencing an apse in a basilica which opens with dramatic lighting effect.
Boundaries, comfort zones, and social tension are confronted by the physical experience in The Waters Fine,in which the artist hopes to provide an environment for discovery with oneself, others, and the work. Grayson Cox stated: Life exists between systems and structures through rituals, social connections and a fleeting sense of freedom. In this show, Im attempting to highlight social structures in physical space, objects that reference stations of everyday domestic ritual, windows of escape and moments of social rest.
Grayson Cox is a Brooklyn based artist working in a variety of media, from painting and printmaking, to photography and furniture-like wood construction. Cox was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, received his BFA from Indiana University and spent two years living in Tokyo before moving to New York City in 2005. Cox finished his Masters of Fine Art at Columbia University in 2010 and was awarded the Daisy Soros Prize to study in Salzburg. Cox has exhibited in USA/MFA at Bezalel, Tel Aviv, Israel; Salzburg, Austria; The School of the Art Institute of Chicago; and has participated in a number of group shows in New York including the Elizabeth Foundation, Gowanus Studio Space and St. Cecelias Parish. This is the artists second solo show at Gasser Grunert, following NUDGE, NUDGE ME DO/////, April 2011. Cox is currently an adjunct professor at Columbia University and Pratt Institute.