refuse / reuse | Photographs and Installations by Ryan Pechnick
May 5 to June 2, 2018 at Abbozzo Gallery (Main gallery)
Opening reception Saturday, May 5, from 2 to 6 pm
“What the artists, like the alchemists, probably did not realize was the psychological fact that they were projecting part of their psyche into matter or inanimate objects. Hence the ‘mysterious animation’ that entered into such things, and the great value attached even to rubbish. They projected their own darkness, their earthly shadow, a psychic content that they and their time had lost and abandoned.”
– Aniela Joffe
I think there is a need for artists to rediscover how the modernist photographers like Minor White and Lewis Baltz used the camera as a tool to see past their egos in order to create order in a chaotic world. Robert Leverant realized that “a camera is an extension of ourselves. An appendage to bring us closer to the universe… We created such an instrument, because we had lost the joy of pure seeing, of connecting up the unseen and the heartfelt with the seen and not heartfelt. The internal with the external.” The camera is a tool: a tool to explore the metaphysical nature of our physical reality and to prove to ourselves that there are objective perspectives beyond the veil of our subjective visual experience.
The Leslie Spit is a site where man-made and natural materials clash and mix with the force of the weather, waves, and dump trucks. The haphazard piles of refuse are like the prime matter in alchemy in the sense. The camera is to me a spiritual tool in which I focus solely on projecting my sense of order onto reality and collecting an image of that transcendental moment. There is a moment of knowing, a sense of balance, and a coming close to divine order that one can find when looking at the chaotic world. It is what Catholics have called a beatific vision.
For this exhibition, I would like the opportunity to exhibit 8 large, 36”x24”, archival pigment photographs, framed in fine matte board and hard wood. In the middle of the main floor, there would be 5 sculptures created from dipping found materials from the spit into beeswax, a material that easily transition in between states of matter. Every few minutes, one of the sculptures emits sounds of steps on stones, breaking waves, and wind through the trees. In the center of the room there will be a large stoneware urn filled with hand-smoothed stones which the audience may take as a parting gift and connection to the material of the photographs and sculptures. In order to tie the artworks together conceptually, I will apply 3 vinyl quotes to the walls such as the one at the top of this proposal that set the stage for deeper contemplation of the work and our role in experiencing and manipulating our spaces.