January 8 – February 14, 2016
Opening Reception: Friday, January 8, 7-10pm
Underdonk is very pleased to present ‘Mise-en-abyme’, an exhibition that brings together the work of Jay Gaskill and Alyse Ronayne.
In modern critical theory, the term ‘mise-en-abyme’ has come to refer to a sort of self-referencial reoccurrence of visual forms within, or between artworks of a sole artist; both Gaskill and Ronayne deploy such devices, toward similar means.
For Alyse, the forms that are introduced, and are then repeated through her predominantly free-standing sculptures originate from the painting and sculpture of French-German artist Jean Arp. ForJay, these point-of-origin forms begin as doodles, which he terms his “characters”, mostly simple ball-point pen line drawings.
For Alyse, the process of incorporating these images begins with the act of drawing, and then re-drawing the shapes over and over again, until the shapes have undergone such a revolution as to be emphatically considered hers. For Jay, the process evolves through a transferring, by hand, of the original drawing to acetate, and then a subsequent painting, repeating, reworking, cutting up and rearranging of the resultant forms.
Through their mutually ideosyncratic and sophisticated processes, as well as careful attention to the interwoven activities of form, imagery, composition, color, and object, Gaskill and Ronayne are-in their own ways- addressing the function of illusion in visual art, bringing into question the traditional notion that, in painting, it functions through depiction, and in sculpture through embodiment; both artists seek ways to integrate the two, as evidenced by their artist statements:
“My paintings are not paintings of something, or about something, the paintings are something” (Gaskill)
“The shapes do not become a vocabulary, they are not stand ins, they are not metaphor” (Ronayne)
These two artists act as portals through which the familiar is transfigured into the ‘queer’, ‘slightly off key, with a dash of menace’ (the artists’ own descriptions), in short: uncomfortable and unrecognizable. Through their selfless but highly attuned attitudes with respect to the malleably of form and content, a philosophical, or perhaps spiritual kinship emerges; as their shapes shift, these two artists leave their desires and self-driven directives behind, and respond the wishes and whims of the newly sprung imagery they have been gifted.
Please join us for an opening reception on Friday, January 8, 2016, from 7-10 pm.
The show runs through February 14, 2016
JJ Manford 12.22.15
Jay Gaskill was raised in Maryland in the suburbs of Washington D.C. He went to school in New York City, first studying painting as an undergraduate at the School of Visual Arts, and then later in the MFA program at Hunter College. In the intervening years Jay worked with a few prominent artists in Brooklyn, where he received his “other” education. His paintings have been exhibited in the New York City area, as well as in Baltimore, Seattle, and Vienna, Austria. For a few years he was part of the artist collective Same Same but Different. He had his first solo show at One River Gallery in New Jersey in 2014. Jay lives and works in Portland, OR.
Alyse Ronayne (b. 1986, Detroit, MI) holds an MFA from Bard College, NY and a BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art, MD. Her work has recently been shown with HumanNYC in Brooklyn and Zolla/Lieberman Gallery in Chicago, and will be shown later this year at the Leslie Lohman Museum in Manhattan. She lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.