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John Houck, Peg and John, 2013

Peg and John, 2013
Archival pigment print
22-7/8 by 27-3/4 inches

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John Houck, A History of Graph Paper, 2013

Installation view (John Houck)

John Houck, A History of Graph Paper, 2013

Installation view (John Houck)

John Houck, A History of Graph Paper, 2013

Installation view (John Houck)

John Houck, Pine Ridge, 2013

Pine Ridge, 2013
Archival pigment print
32-1/8 by 24-1/8 inches

John Houck, Baby Shoes, Never Worn, 2013

Baby Shoes, Never Worn, 2013
Archival pigment print
27-3/4 by 20-3/4 inches

John Houck, Pointing Device, 2013

Pointing Device, 2013
Archival pigment print
46-1/2 by 33-1/2 inches

John Houck, A Science of Mountains, 2013

A Science of Mountains, 2013
Archival pigment print
46-1/2 by 33-1/2 inches

John Houck, Anonymous Anonymous, 2013

Anonymous Anonymous, 2013
Archival pigment print
46-3/8 by 33-3/8 inches

John Houck, Estes, 2013

Estes, 2013
Archival pigment print
24-7/8 by 30-3/4 inches

John Houck, Stamp -X, Stamp -Y, 2013

Stamp -X, Stamp -Y, 2013
Archival pigment print
35-7/8 by 25-7/8 inches

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More on John Houck

John Houck
A History of Graph Paper

September 8 – October 27, 2013

Karen Rosenberg for The New York Times
The New Yorker
Art in America
Will Heinrich for The New York Observer/GalleristNY
The Year’s Most Memorable Gallery Shows from The New York Observer/GalleristNY
Charlie Schultz for ArtSlant
John Haber for New York Photo Review
Art Observed

On Stellar Rays is pleased to announce a new exhibition of photographs by JOHN HOUCK. The exhibition celebrates a number of exciting developments at On Stellar Rays, including the gallery’s FIRST SOLO EXHIBITION with Houck, the gallery’s FIVE YEAR ANNIVERSARY, and the inaugural exhibition in the gallery’s NEW LOCATION at 1 Rivington Street at Bowery on the Lower East Side.

The exhibition expands upon Houck’s body of aggregate photographs, presenting still life imagery of personal objects and keepsakes intermittently spliced with Houck’s ongoing body of digitally-rendered, gridded and folded compositions. As in the aggregates, whereby Houck exploited a repetitious process influenced by his professional experience as a programmer — a feedback loop of write, compile, execute — here he applies a recursive practice of compose, photograph, print.

Houck is deeply interested in the dialectic between repetition and desire in contemporary technological culture. In recent years, Houck has pursued this enquiry beyond the studio through psychoanalytic therapy, an exercise in remembering which remains one of the only acts of daily life that eschews capitalism and is a means to disrupt photographic repetition. Houck found that affecting memories is more about activating the imagination than recalling facts and data. The necessity of imagination in the act of reminiscence has entered into Houck’s new body of work, invoked by layered puzzles and visible in the new subject matter.

The tension in Houck’s work — ranging from early construction of hobby-kit-styled model drones, to coordinates systems mapped onto landscapes, and in carefully hand-folded aggregate grids — has been the simultaneous resistance to and embrace of technology. His advanced training in programming and architecture allows for a unique position from which he undermines the tools of the trade for his own exploratory means. As a photographer, Houck departs from the monocular vision inherent to the photographic apparatus, forcing a collapse of spatial and temporal relationships within a single image. Furthermore, Houck finds creative potential in the inkjet printer, rather than the camera itself, defining his technical site of production as the split between the two.

The show’s title, A History of Graph Paper, alludes to the work of 19th century scientist Luke Howard, who pioneered the classification systems of cloud types, and who was also among the first to use coordinate paper in the sciences as a tool to measure and quantify. A History of Graph Paper addresses how we make models of our world to better understand it, and how those models become and then alter our perceptions of the world — how the tools we create in turn create us.

John Houck received his MFA from UCLA, Los Angeles, CA in 2007 and a BA in Architecture from Colorado University, Boulder, CO in 2000. He participated in the Whitney Independent Study (2010) and Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (2008) programs. This fall he will additionally present work in a solo exhibition at Max Wigram Gallery in London and in a group exhibition at Redling Fine Art in Los Angeles. His work has been included in exhibitions at Galerie Marian Goodman, Paris, FR (2013); On Stellar Rays, New York, NY (2012); Art in General, New York, NY (2010); The Kitchen, New York, NY (2010); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA (2007); Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA (2006). He works in Los Angeles.