Jesse Alpern, Eric Brown, Jonathan Callan, Benjamin Edwards, Jacob El Hanani, Adam Fowler, Tom Friedman, Maximo Gonzalez, Ray Johnson, Yayoi Kusama, Cameron Martin, Gloria Ortiz-Hernandez, Laura Paulini, Barry Ratoff, Fred Sandback, Kate Shepherd, Ken Solomon, Eduardo Stupia, Richard Tuttle, Xawery Wolski
No pretext, no effect, no message: microwave doesn’t strive to classify a new movement. However, it identifies an international group of artists who deliberately reduces their movements and expressive media. These artists imperceptibly move their fingertips to create works of precision and minimal displacement in a quasi-monochromatic context: syntheses and syntactics that recall the reductionism of genetic maps or binary codes. But this intimacy doesn’t require mouse or keyboard, it is a dialogue of fingertips: art positively digital. The works stand on the borderline between drawing, knitting and writing. A meticulous discipline of the close-up at the antipodes of the instantaneous and the remote control. (microwave, one, catalogue, 123 Watts, 1999)
Josée Bienvenu gallery is pleased to present microwave, five, an exhibition of drawings by twenty international artists who set up various processes of fragmentation and erosion of information. Close attention is given to execution, a concentration on the production process itself. In its fifth edition, the exhibition also conveys a dialogue of generations between younger artists and the likes of Yayoi Kusama, Richard Tuttle, Fred Sandback, Ray Johnson, and Tom Friedman.
Since 1999, the (almost) annual edition of microwave has been an opportunity to confirm the emergence of a new attitude. As disenchantment and disdain dialogue loudly in major European art shows of the moment, a retro attitude seems to dominate the experience of making and viewing art. As an alternative to an inhospitable era, microwave identifies an international host of artists who commit to the obscene activity of paying attention. With intense focus, patience and precision, the artists in microwave document the relentless propagation of delicacy as a subversive activity.
Jonathan Callan builds images by minutely altering and removing data; he appropriates photographs and scratches their surface leaving only one or two elements. Jesse Alpern, Jacob El Hanani, Laura Paulini, Adam Fowler, Eduardo Stupia, Xawery Wolski, and Gloria Ortiz-Hernandez bring drawing to the extreme, as a sort of “maximalism.” Through the endless weaving of the same components, they accumulate signals and vibrations impossible to detect without an extraordinary level of attention.
The works in microwave touch upon the fragile nature of communication, exchange, and currency. The performative collages of Ray Johnson and Ken Solomon incorporate the U.S. Postal Service as a means of articulating fragmented information. Máximo González uses devalued currencies to create a large wall drawing of cellular phones, transforming one means of exchange into another. The works of Richard Tuttle, Barry Ratoff and Cameron Martin employ reductive means to relay subtle expressions of nature. With obsessive attentiveness to detail, their work subverts the conventions of monumental practice, creating eccentrically playful images. Lines and strokes become meditative measures, poetically linking image, language and fleeting moments.
Eric Brown’s watercolors and Benjamin Edwards’ drawings engage in a subtle architectural language, constructing multilayered deconstructed environments. Playing with perspective, line and color, Fred Sandback’s and Kate Shepherd’s drawings (in space and on paper) are built on spatial complexity yet their surfaces are reductive and sharp, simultaneously creating vacancy and volume.