Thick with ColdAssociated (566 Johnson Avenue #27, Brooklyn, NY 11237) Map it Free
Thick with Cold
Monica Haak, Matthew Shelley, Aaron Williams
March 22 - April 13, 2014
Opening Saturday, March 22, 7-10pm
“Whereas the beautiful is limited, the sublime is limitless, so that the mind in the presence of the sublime, attempting to imagine what it cannot, has pain in the failure but pleasure in contemplating the immensity of the attempt.” - Immanuel Kant
Although we are increasingly removed from the landscape, both physically and psychosocially, the role it continues to play is central to our identity as living beings. Monica Haak, Aaron Williams, and Matthew Shelly explore the broad theme of “The Landscape” in a progressive distortion between actual depiction, fragmentation, and abstraction of ubiquitous imagery. By employing various technologies that mediate our experience with our surroundings, each artist depicts their experience of the world around them as a form of documentation, nostalgia, awe, escapism, and even satire.
Haak describes her paintings as “manifestations of the mundane beauty of the overgrown outskirts of the city and the specific solitude they provide.” She creates scenes that might serve as places of quiet refuge, where time both stands stoically still yet seems to be receding beyond the viewers vision. “These pockets of nature are bordered by and defined against their urban surroundings but are peacefully abandoned.” She depicts these places where, despite a stoic stillness, one can sense the light and atmosphere constantly shifting. For her, the images act as a refuge where time slows down enough to absorb the richness of subtlety in her environment.
Shelley pieces together the landscape using found photography gathered from books on environmental science, travel, and the American wilderness. Building on chance associations and formal connections, he develops a scenario that is a combination of his experience with the materials, the assemblage, and the landscape itself. His use of representational imagery of expansive landscapes paired with geometric color fields and sharp edges form invented realities, alluding to worlds of fiction. The interaction between the materials and subject matter and how they oppose one another, in regard to scale, is largely present in Shelley’s work.
Working in several different mediums, Williams’ work is guided largely by materials and their inherent qualities and utility, often using common elements like commercial posters and raw construction materials. He combines these concrete objects with more rarified ideas and strategies of fine art, questioning our received notions of traditional art making processes as well as the relationship between personal and broadly disseminated imagery. For this body of work, photographs of the sky were taken outside his studio and near the studios of DeKooning and Jackson Pollock in eastern Long Island, NY. Using the standard dimensions of typical portraiture (24 x 18 inches), he aims to reshape the common idea of space, implying a human portrayal. By bringing the color to the surface and creating opaque blocks of blue form, he makes photographs that operate alternately as space and solid, while also being tacit portraits of the studio process.
Monica Haak was born in Chicago, IL in 1983. She studied fine art and philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
Shelley received his BFA from the University of Oregon and his MFA from American University, D.C, and currently lives and works in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
Williams received his BFA from the Maine College of art and his MFA from the Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University. He has shown extensively in the United States. He currently lives and works in Queens, NY.