31 March 2012 / Harry Dodge



March 31 – May 5, 2012

Opening reception Saturday, March 31st, 6-8pm

Special screening at The Kitchen: Wednesday, May 2nd, 7:30pm

Wallspace is pleased to announce Frowntown, Harry Dodge’s first solo exhibition at the gallery and 3rd solo exhibition in New York City.

Using an unruly variety of media and tone, Frowntown presents a viscerally affective body of work that explores Dodge’s longstanding interest in what is unnamable, transitive, or “in-between,” among other things. The trilogy of videos, masses of drawings, and selected sculptures presented here are also united by their pointed interest in brutality, precariousness, humor and resilience.

Made with urgency over the course of a six-month period, the video trilogy of Ipse Dixit (2011), Unkillable (2011), and Fred Can Never Be Called Bald (2011) explores the space in between language and image, as well as the inexorability of narrative progress or momentum itself in different tonal and formal registers. Ipse Dixit is a two-minute loop that uses the simplest tools of Final Cut Pro to deliver a short transcription on the end of the world. The black comedy Unkillable investigates the potency of images made from language by means of monologic performance: wearing a mask, Dodge performs a “text-story” of a would-be film made up of progressively appalling events. Fred Can Never Be Called Bald uses a combination of text cards, computer voiceover, and a distorted collage of YouTube clips to meditate on the translation and compression of material information into the digitized, virtual world. Each piece in the trilogy edges its structural and metaphysical concerns with a measure of comedy and brutality, offering tough, tender witness to the vulnerability of the human animal and its enterprises.

Dodge’s drawings treat related issues via play with captioning, non sequitur, and an often lewd sense of humor. Many circulate around images of various cutting tools (knives, saws), augmentations (wooden legs, keyboard tray extensions), ghosts, wigs, or amorphous blobs and offer an obsessive, raucous, reclamatory vision of human despair, comedy, sexuality, anatomy and drive.

The sculptures translate this play into three dimensions, transforming and transvaluing everyday objects (buckets, boxing gloves, motorcycle helmets, salad dressing bottles, kitchen knives, and so on) into the realm of the indefinable and the menacing. Others lightly mock technological innovation, as in The Dogs Bark at the Tree Contains The Word Bark Near Both Tree and Dogs, a sculpture whose titular reference is Google’s “disambiguation algorithm,” a function that—unless thwarted by ambiguous nearby words—is able to read email and decipher a user’s interests.

No matter what the medium, the work in Frowntown evidences an obsessive, often audacious insistence on that which hovers, at times imperceptibly, “in-between”: be it between states, stations, technologies, genders, or forms of representation.

Harry Dodge has exhibited solo and collaborative work at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Hessel Museum of Art; Pleasure Dome (Toronto); Curtat Tunnel (Lausanne, Switzerland); the 2008 Whitney Biennial; “Code Share: 5 continents, 10 biennales, 20 artists,” CAC Vilnius, Lithuania; the “Videonale 12,” Kunstalle Bonn, Bonn, Germany; “Slightly Unbalanced,” the Harnnett Museum, Richmond, Virginia; “Reflections on the Electric Mirror: New Feminist Video,” the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, Brooklyn Museum of Art; “Unusual Behavior,” Santa Barbara Museum of Contemporary Art, Santa Barbara; “California Video,” Getty Museum, Los Angeles; “Laughing in a Foreign Language,” The Hayward, London; “Between Two Deaths,” ZKM/Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany; “Eden's Edge,” Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; “Shared Women,” Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Los Angeles, CA; “Defamation of Character,” PS 1, Contemporary Art Center; and Elizabeth Dee Gallery, New York, NY, among others. Dodge’s work is part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Dodge currently lives and works in Los Angeles, California.

The trilogy of videos on exhibit here will also screen consecutively as part of a one-night closing event at The Kitchen on May 2, 2012.


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