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A.K. Burns

Fault Lines

Opening: Sunday, February 26, 6–8pm

February 26 – April 9, 2017

A cement foot attached to a steel rebar with the words "you're fired" written in script, in wire, hanging to the right of the rebar.

You're Fired, 2017. Cement hydrocal mix, rebar, steel wire, 41 x 15 x 9 1/2 inches (104.1 x 38.1 x 24.1 cm)

A mixed media collage. There is a silver frame that holds a traditional window screen. Upon that screen are pieces of fabric, fishing lures hung on a string, and iron-on areas.

Release Valve, 2017. Aluminum, fiberglass, brass, oil paint, iron-on, air mattress, fishing lures, 52 1/2 x 21 3/4 x 4 3/4 inches (133.4 x 55.2 x 12.1 cm)

A silver frame that holds a traditional screen for a window. Upon the screen is a nylon piece of fabric folded over, brass buttons, and pennies.

Ripstop, 2017. Aluminum, fiberglass, brass, ripstop nylon, zipper, enamel primer, copper plated silver, pennies, 42 x 21 3/4 x 10 inches (106.7 x 55.2 x 25.4 cm)

A silver frame that holds a traditional screen for a window. Inside and beyond the window is a grid painted in black, upon cotton fabric and drop cloth. There is also a piece of fabric (yellow plaid) that is adhered to the center of the screen.

Because She Is Grid, 2017. Aluminum, fiberglass, brass, oil paint, cotton fabric, pigmented resin, drop cloth, enamel primer, 62 x 39 x 3 inches (157.5 x 99.1 x 7.6 cm)

A print of a grassy field with a tree at left, with a blue sky in the background. The Benday dots of the print are apparent.

Better Off Without You, 2017. Archival ink jet print transfer, 8 3/8 x 10 3/4 inches (21.3 x 27.3 cm). Edition of 3.

A printed image of a rough surface, with a single orange stick or object in the left-center. The Benday dots of the print are apparent.

Better Off Without You, 2017. Archival ink jet print transfer, 8 3/8 x 10 3/4 inches (21.3 x 27.3 cm). Edition of 3.

A transfer photograph of a rocky surface in the foreground and a grassy plane a bit further back. There is a sign in the distance who's face cannot be read. The Benday dots of the print are apparent.

Better Off Without You, 2017. Archival ink jet print transfer, 8 3/8 x 10 3/4 inches (21.3 x 27.3 cm). Edition of 3.

A painting on pages of newspaper, framed in white. The paint is mostly white.

Post Times (National Friday), 2017. Newspaper, enamel primer, polyurethane, 44 x 32 1/8 inches (111.8 x 81.6 cm)

A painting on newspaper, framed in white. The paint is mostly grey, yellow, and black.

Post Times (Mogul), 2017. Newspaper, pigmented resin, enamel primer, polyurethane, 40 5/8 x 34 1/8 inches (103.2 x 86.7 cm)

A painting on newspaper, framed in white. The paint is mostly white, and there is a grid painted in faint, loose black paint.

Post Times (Weather Report), 2017. Newspaper, acrylic, 40 x 33 5/8 inches (101.6 x 85.4 cm)

 

A pewter gray fence nailed into the floorboards. In the texture of the fence itself, made up of mostly vertical steel bars, are the words KNOWN UNKNOWN, separated by a horizontal row of metal bars.

Known Unknown, 2016. Sandblasted steel, 80 x 43 1/4 x 5 inches (203.2 x 109.9 x 12.7 cm)

A pewter gray fence nailed into the floorboards. In the texture of the fence itself, made up of mostly vertical steel bars, are the words KNOWN KNOWN, separated by a horizontal row of metal bars.

Known Known, 2016. Sandblasted steel, 80 x 43 1/4 x 5 inches (203.2 x 109.9 x 12.7 cm)

A mixed media sculpture. There is a cement cinder block at right within which a steel wire grid is embedded, standing tall. At left on the bottom is a cement foot that also connect to the grid. Within the grid are 10 Gatorade bottles (2 columns of 5), with orange caps and indiscernible

She Was Warned, 2017. Cement hydrocal mix, concrete, rebar, steel wire, steel concrete reinforcement, plastic, pigmented resin, 73 x 25 x 12 inches (185.4 x 63.5 x 30.5 cm)

A mixed media sculpture. There is a cement cinder block at right within which a steel wire grid is embedded, standing tall. At left on the bottom is a cement foot that also connect to the grid. Within the grid are 10 Gatorade bottles (2 columns of 5), with orange caps and indiscernible liquid

She Was Warned, 2017. Cement hydrocal mix, concrete, rebar, steel wire, steel concrete reinforcement, plastic, pigmented resin, 73 x 25 x 12 inches (185.4 x 63.5 x 30.5 cm)

A cement hand installed at the wrist to the wall with a rebar pipe. Hanging beneath and strung around the fingers is a gold necklace with a brass IUD attached to the end.

Hand Out (She Was Warned), 2017. Cement hydrocal mix, rebar, steel wire, nitrile glove, gold plated brass, 4 x 10 inches (10.2 x 25.4 cm)

Press Release

“…it was ambiguous, two-faced. What was inside it and what was outside it depended upon which side of it you were on.” 

— The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin 

Knowing is a kind of death, halting pre-lingual sensitivities. Knowing what you know, all other knowns precipitate, presuming relative truths, knowledge, belief, reality… your norm. Admitting a lack of knowledge means accepting an inability to penetrate. To be rendered impotent, to be released.

 In a series of three, nearly identical partitions, acting jointly as thresholds (gates) and obstacles (fences)— the language embedded in their steel bars reads, respectively; KNOWN KNOWN, KNOWN UNKNOWN and UNKNOWN UNKNOWN. The gates, constructed of sandblasted steel, mimic the heavily painted black fences that dominate the New York City landscape. The text, a reference to a statement made by Donald Rumsfeld (in February 2002) at a press conference questioning what substantiation exists for the alleged ‘weapons of mass destruction.’ Rumsfeld uses this illusive linguistic detour for the strategic production of fear. 

A figure looms in She Was Warned, as a dystopic reimagining of Artemis of Ephesus, representations of which articulate the goddess with a torso covered in numerous breasts. Artemis, also known as Diana, is a goddess of the hunt, the natural environment, the moon, women, and childbirth. The figure’s breasts are rendered as crudely cast Gatorade bottles. Topped with the iconic cap, like bright orange nipples, the bottles are hung from a grid of rusted steel typically used to reinforce concrete. Unlike breast milk or water, which provided basic sustenance, Gatorade—the first sports drink, invented in 1965—boasts enhancement. Built with industrial materials She is both figurative and architectural, a shell of her former self, she is nearly depleted. Still she gestures with an offering, and dangling from her gloved palm she presents a gold-plated IUD.

Imaged on the walls are combinations of grids and holes, some opaque and some that let the breeze in. Metaphorical and literal (window) screens, objects built to block access, are perforated with openings, leaks, and passageways for anything that makes it thru. These material collages include bits of outdoors equipment, and are punctuated, held together by pairings of grommets. Following the path from entry to exit the orifices are sometimes threaded with chains of linked items. Adhered directly to the walls are a series of landscapes extracted from a cover-page of The New York Times (of the unfinished Dakota pipeline in a desolate western landscape). Abstracted in scale and without evidence of the pipeline, the sites appear ambiguous and hard to read as unified.

Leave No Trace (2016) is a record. A limited edition experimental audio-based work, pressed on vinyl and packaged in a zip-bag with a pair of nitrile gloves and an accompanying poem. The recording consist of two (unlabeled) tracks, one per side that combines ambient environmental recordings, vocalization, sounds generated from various found materials and an old electric guitar. Leave No Trace is the soundtrack for a forthcoming installation that is part of a cycle of related works that includes A Smeary Spot (2015) and Living Room (2017) currently on view at the New Museum. The title and the poem (Leave No Trace) reference wilderness ethics but also notions of unregulated sites and bodies. In questioning what is deemed natural or naturalized, it points to the privileges and subjugation of bodies and actions that go unrecorded.

A stray foot wanders off, holding its ground, bodiless, a host to a quotation scrawled in wire.

This is A.K. Burns’ third solo exhibition at Callicoon Fine Arts. Burns is in residence at the New Museum with Shabby But Thriving, an exhibition open till April 23. This installation includes the two-channel video, Living Room (2017), which follows on the heals of A Smeary Spot (2015) exhibited at Participant INC, NY and the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art, Oregon. This series of works draws on theater, science fiction, philosophy, and ecological anxieties. Originally from Northern California, Burns is an interdisciplinary artist and educator residing in Brooklyn, NY. Currently a Radcliffe Fellow at Harvard University, Burns is also a 2015 recipient of a Creative Capital Foundation Visual Arts Award. In 2008, Burns co-founded the artists activist group W.A.G.E. (Working Artists and the Greater Economy), and in 2010 released the feature-length socio-sexual video portrait Community Action Center in collaboration with A.L. Steiner. Having exhibited internationally at venues such as The Tate Modern, The Museum of Modern Art, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Burns work insists that matter matters, that the body is a site of imminent negotiation, and that unexpected affinities between material, medium and media offer space to rework economies of gender, labor, ecology and sexuality. 

For additional information contact Photi Giovanis at info@callicoonfinearts.com, or call 212-219-0326.

Callicoon Fine Arts is located at 49 Delancey Street between Forsyth and Eldridge Streets. Gallery hours are Wednesday to Sunday, 10am to 6pm. The nearest subway stops are the B and D trains at Grand Street and the F, J, M and Z trains at Delancey-Essex Street.

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