Since the Renaissance, canvas has been so used so frequently by painters that its significance is ignored. It has been the disappearing, neutral, invisible base of painting. The canvas is expected to present and support the image that rests on it, but not to be considered meaningful in its own right. The artists in this exhibition challenge that neutrality. In choosing fabric, denim, fake fur, plastic, and paper, they are using materials with specific significations and meanings, materials that do not disappear into the background. The meaning of the image is created by symbiosis with these materials; it is not supposed to rest on top of them.
Amanda Valdez’s paintings are formed as assemblages of fabrics, embroidery and paint. She brings the fabric support into the foreground of the image, sewing it directly into the other elements and privileging it equally to other materials. These elements come together to create forms that have a strong physicality and oscillate between representation and abstraction. Lauren Seiden’s work explores the essential elements of process and materiality through an intuitive and intimate layering of graphite that tests the conventions of drawing, situating it not as a medium of preparation or provision, but as a final form, displayed on wooden stretcher bars. Her process involves breaking down the surface and transforming the paper into a physical and structural form. Trained as a sculptor, Michael Rudokas approaches the painter’s stretcher as an object first. By peeling, tearing and undoing the painter’s assumed ground, he reveals space beyond his chosen surface. Using materials such as plastic, chiffon, denim, and terry cloth, he works both on the picture plane and from behind it. Taken together, his body of work looks like a material navigation of an American workaday life, with the pedestrian contents of garages, sheds and closets laid bare and stretched into tenuous significance. Wayne Adams sometimes uses alternatives to canvas such as fake fur and aluminum foil. The compositions with fake fur and paint invert the relationship between the background support and the foreground image: the paint creates a meaningful void in the long, soft fur. In works made from aluminum foil on stretcher, Adams uses no other material or medium except the foil itself and the natural light of the environment to create the visual and emotional experience.
Amanda Valdez (born 1982. Lives in New York City) received her M.F.A. from Hunter College in New York City and B.F.A. from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her most recent solo exhibition was Taste of Us at Denny Gallery in January 2013. Her recent exhibitions include Floater at BravinLee Projects, Same Same But Different at Guest Spot in Baltimore, El Regreso de los Dinosaurios at the Abrons Art Center in New York City, MsBehavior at the ArtBridge Drawing Room in New York City and The Return to Rattlesnake Mountain at the Wassaic Project in Wassaic, New York. She has an upcoming solo exhibition at Prole Drift in Seattle in September 2013. Valdez has been the recipient of a Yaddo Artist-in-Residency, MacDowell Colony Artist-in-Residency, the 2011 College Art Association MFA Professional-Development Fellowship, and is a contributing arts editor at Dossier Journal and Bomb Magazine.
Lauren Seiden (born 1981. Lives in New York City) received her B.A. in Painting and Drawing from Bennington College in Vermont. Her recent exhibitions include On Drawing Line at Holly Johnson Gallery in Dallas, Texas, Eigengrau at Storefront Gallery in Brooklyn, Black Lodge at Interstate Projects in Brooklyn, Line and Plane at McKenzie Fine Art in New York City, Its Endless Undoing at Thierry-Goldberg Gallery in New York City, Itsa Small, Small World curated by Hennesy Youngman at Small Business Gallery in New York City, and the Brucennial 2012 curated by Vito Schnabel and the Bruce High Quality Foundation. In August, coinciding with the Venice Biennale, Seiden will be exhibited in ORGANIX: Contemporary Art From The USA, Curated by Diego Cortez as part of the Luciano Benetton Collection. She received the AOL and Chuck Close “25 for 25” Grant Award in 2010. Lauren Seiden is featured in “Art and Ageism: The Decisive Eye of Fellow Artists” in the current issue of NY Arts Magazine.
Michael Rudokas (born 1979. Lives in New York City) received his M.F.A from Hunter College in New York City and B.A. in Philosophy and Visual Arts from Marlboro College in Vermont. He has been included in exhibitions in New York City and abroad. This is his first exhibition with Denny Gallery.
Wayne Adams (born 1974. Lives in New York City) received his M.F.A. from Washington University in St. Louis and his B.F.A. from Calvin College in Michigan. Adams has exhibited throughout the Midwest, in New York and in Vienna, Austria. His recent exhibitions include The (Sacred) Void at First Things Gallery in New York (2013), Dead in August at Present Companyin Brooklyn (2012), Control Alt Delete at HKJB in Brooklyn (2011), Adams | Miracle at STOREFRONT Gallery in Brooklyn (2010). Adams serves as the president of the board of CIVA (Christians in the Visual Arts).