Plant in Repair
February 4 – March 24, 2016
Gregory Lind Gallery is pleased to present Plant in Repair, an exhibition of new paintings by New York-based artist Zach Bruder. The works in this show continue Bruder’s use of iconic images produced with bold, overpainted lines and modulated fields of vibrant color. Plant in Repair addresses the relationship between nature and its custodians as a complex, unstable, and deeply powerful site.
In the Cabins and Woods paintings, Bruder reproduces a nostalgic motif of a cabin surrounded by trees. Floating above a brash, fiery ground, the image is doubled within and between paintings, producing a decorative patterning. This aesthetic evokes either fabric or wallpaper, as well as Chinese "Bird and Flower" landscape painting. Bruder's works are as obsessive as they are unsteady, with the images appearing to repeat and vibrate like television transmissions. This replication also occurs in the Flat Earth works, which depict rocky vistas out of which stars, circles, and vaporous forms spring forth. The dark landscapes, in which the ground seems to slip out from beneath the mountains, point towards either the auspicious founding of America’s beginnings as a "Shining City upon a Hill,” or towards a pre-scientific flat earth being pulled out from beneath the firmament.
The Owls are similarly inscrutable, as these beautiful creatures of flight function as repositories of wisdom in the West, but messengers of the underworld in Chinese, African, and Native American folklore. Bruder’s creatures are entitled with similarly messy standing: Slow Night references the grotesque, erect boy in Georg Baselitz’s Big Night Down the Drain; Ramrod suggests the taskmaster of a construction crew, here seemingly kin of Hieronymus Bosch's devils; and Checkers recalls a bogeyman politician engaged in the tit-for-tat game of Realpolitik. The Palms take their subjects from decoration and recreation, historically employed to symbolize ideals of peace and triumph. Now, palms waver between optimism and apparition, and ambivalently summon images of tropical vacations and serene seclusion. After all, an oasis only offers salvation within a desert.
By imposing meaning on the world around us, myths are self-perpetuating. They actualize and historicize themselves, inscribing their legacy into the landscape. Plant in Repair treats its references as troublesome entities: under the guise of utopia, they conceal the fact that you invariably reap what you sow.
Zach Bruder (b. 1984) received his BFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2006. Recent exhibitions include Unwelcome Guest at LaMaMa Galleria, New York, NY; We agreed the paler tones would make a more subtle statement, curated by Dmitry Komis for Ida Schmid, Brooklyn, NY; Salon Society Edition 2, curated by Fabiola Alondra for Salon Society, Brooklyn, NY; Drift and Pop, curated by Olivia Smith for Orgy Park, Brooklyn, NY; There is no Fact of the Matter as to Whether or not P at 247365, New York, NY; and Object of Magic, curated by Eneas Capalbo for Moiety, Brooklyn, NY. Bruder lives and works in New York, NY. This is the artist’s first exhibition at Gregory Lind.