Works in the exhibition
Division Gallery is pleased to present Mythology, an exhibition of recent work by New York-based artists Wesley Martin Berg, Bryce Zackery, and Daniel Boccato. The three artists bring their collaboration to bear on an examination of myth - its archetypal narratives, its conventions and its complex moral doctrines. The exhibition offers a twofold exploration of the larger myths inscribed in our social and cultural traditions, and those that accrete around an artist's individual practice. Berg, Zackery, and Boccato probe the fabric of story-telling and folklore, presenting their own practices as generative discourses and as mythologies in their own right.
Since 2007, Wesley Martin Berg's monochrome paintings have revisited a solitary non-descript male figure culled from neoclassical imagery: a peripheral character in Delacroix's Liberty Leading the People. By reducing the figure and its background to black, Berg calls to mind 20th century Suprematist painting, such as Malevich's Black Square. Whereas in neoclassical painting the male figure would have served an archetypal or symbolic role within the social narrative, Berg's work, like Malevich's, emphasizes the vacuity of that archetype, and in turn the psychological crisis of the individual in modern society. Berg's mythical figure is a nomadic time traveller; his position is both everyman and cipher, situating him in multiple histories simultaneously. If Berg's black monochromes present this vagrant figure as a receptacle for meaning, the artist's aluminum finished works refract endless possibility for colour and signification. Here, the solitary figure is replaced by a still life with flowers, a loaded art historical trope embodying centuries of collected meaning.
Like Berg, Bryce Zackery explores the way narratives accumulate around symbols and objects. The artist salvages found materials and blankets them in paint, uprooting them from their original context and calcifying them in obscurity. Whereas the paintings' titles suggest geographical specificity (focusing particularly around America as place and idea), the lost colours and seriality of forms in Zackery's jigsaw-tight compositions prevent them from being read as site-specific or reduced to closed narratives. The work hints at notions of identity on many social levels, only to withdraw into inscrutability, entertaining innumerable interpretations. Zackery calls into question whether the greatest American symbol is in fact cyclical consumption and reuse - a rotation the artist performs with each artwork.
Daniel Boccato presents three wall-mounted sculptures depicting faces of mythological Cyclopes. Moulded with corrugated plastic, tarp and tape, his work preserves the spontaneity of preliminary sketches, its frank, childlike energy amplified in strong colours and punchy 3-D. Each piece originates in a throw-away mould which once painted and reinforced with fibreglass and epoxy is discarded, leaving only the negative impression marks of the final surface. Capitalizing on our propensity to seek out facial features in objects or images in which none exist – a phenomenon known as pareidolia – the artist invites his viewer to project human attributes on what are ultimately inanimate forms. Boccato’s Cyclopes solicit the viewer’s gaze, only to thwart intersubjectivity and a comfortable sense of communion.
Wesley Martin Berg (b. 1984, Minneapolis, MN) lives and works in New York City. Recent exhibitions includes 39greatjones, curated by Ugo Rondinone, at Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zürich (2013), Wesley Martin Berg and Wyatt Kahn, presented by Galerie Eva Presenhuber for ReMap 4, Athens (2013), and Wesley Martin Berg, Wyatt Kahn and Matteo Calligari, curated by Ugo Rondinone at Sommer Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv (2013). In 2009 his work was presented as part of the exhibition Living and Dreaming at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York.
Bryce Zackery (b. 1984, Rochester, MN) lives and works in New York City. In 2014 his work was presented at Frieze NYC with Sommer Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv. In addition to group exhibitions with Tim Rollins and K.O.S. at Xavier Hufkens Gallery, Brussels (2010), Lehman Maupin, New York (2009), and AMP Gallery, Athens (2009), Zackery's work has been showcased at 39 great jones, New York.
Daniel Boccato (b. 1991, Campinas, Brazil) lives and works in New York City and holds a degree from Cooper Union School for Art. His work has been exhibited at Peter Klashorst, Amsterdam (2012), and La Mama Gallery, New York (2012). In 2014 a solo exhibition was held at 39 great jones, New York.