Reflexives Press Release
Curated by Laura Higgins, Director of Andrew Edlin Gallery
New York Center for Art & Media Studies (NYCAMS) is pleased to present the 2012 Post-Baccalaureate exhibition. This exhibition highlights the work of NYCAMS Post-Baccalaureate fellows Francisco Donoso and Joshua Rayner. The exhibition, Reflexives, exhibits the culmination of an eight-month residency involving intensive studio practice, critiques and theory development for the fellows. Through works on paper, painting and a mixed media sculpture, these artworks, and their makers, offer real reflection on the human experience.
While each artist practices separately, for the purpose of this exhibition their work is brought together, revealing crossover themes. The urban experience consistently demands an examination of cultural and personal identities, as often the actions of this environment and our choices force the issue of identity. Donoso, an Ecuadorian immigrant, brings the Latino perspective from growing up as the outsiders’ insider, having immigrated to Miami as a young child. Growing up outside his homeland is a catalyst for the examination of self. Rayner relies on his experience as an American consumer as an impetus for exploration into similar themes of cultural and personal identity, though he works to different ends, resulting, literally, in art of the economy.
Francisco Donoso layers his material and imagery, blending the Spanish-baroque painting of centuries past with the cartoon imagery of contemporary American culture, specifically Marvel Comics’ Captain America. Captain America becomes a stand-in for the artist and self. In one painting, the heroic stance of the character, amid a bounty of flowers, reads as pride, success and the coveted “place in history”; a legacy. In another work, Captain America seems trapped. Is he breaking free from the picture frame or receding to the background behind stylized foliage? This stylized foliage recalls the acanthus leaves on our currency. In this painting we give pause to the universal experience of estrangement. By employing a broad range of influences and references, Donoso, distinct to his experience, distills imagery for a contemporary perspective on the experience of constructing identity.
Joshua Rayner’s work forces us to consider, in his words, “the detritus of commercial exchange.” That is, Rayner pursues the relationship of consumption to the definition of self while calling our attention to the societal valuation of money. In some moments of his work we view a receipt, as a formal composition and mere artifact, illegible as time and wear wiped away its ink. Other moments of Rayner’s work reveal very personal points of information and even suggest personal interactions. In his postcard series, Rayner records his personal bank account number and the account balance on a postcard mailed to an acquaintance. This information contributes nothing to that relationship. However, inherent in those details, is there not some trace of Rayner? This exposition questions the nature of personal information. Viewing Rayner’s body of work, as a whole, we come away more conscious of our own actions and our collective values. Rayner raises our consciousness to consider what we see before us and the relationships suggested by, for example, a receipt roll placed perfectly atop a satin, flesh-colored pillow.