Rochelle Feinstein, Tommy Hartung, JJ PEET
May 26 – July 1, 2016
On Stellar Rays is pleased to announce the first in a series of exhibitions, with works by Rochelle Feinstein, Tommy Hartung, and JJ PEET, to inaugurate 213 Bowery with ambitious projects from the gallery program. Forthcoming in July, On Stellar Rays will present the second exhibition of Julia Bland, Zipora Fried, Ryan Mrozowski, and Maria Petschnig, with additional installations taking place December 2016 to January 2017.
HOTSPOTS, the exhibition title, refers to a 12-part painting installation by Rochelle Feinstein. The paintings began in 2003 to mark the American-led invasion of Iraq and continue for each year the U.S. maintains a military presence in the Middle East. Feinstein notes the multiple definitions of Hotspot: WiFi access-point, a lens flare in a photo, a point of intense heat or radiation, a popular night spot, a site of political upheaval. However, presented here, globe forms covered in half-tone dots conspicuously resemble disco balls – layering a culture reference that reoccurs in Feinstein’s work, and suggests a multitude of dissonant meanings.
In STATION_Thistle and Armies Arming Armies, JJ PEET explores the filters and screens through which we receive, process, and transmit information about the social and political state of the world. Eyeballs, teleportation devices, and functional and mythical objects made from clay and other materials fuse with a wider sci-fi narrative that follows the spectacle of human conflict and engagement on Earth and beyond. STATION_Thistle is a large-scale sculpture of stoneware clay that presents a record of its environment at the time of formation, and also functions as a transportation “D-Vice” to locations around the Universe.
Tommy Hartung presents a new series of Polaroids arranged in a storyboard format, taking a satirical look at Western tourism as a soft invasion of territory. The starting point for Hartung’s narrative is an American company, Remote Tourism, that operated in the Tibesti Mountains in Chad until going bankrupt in 2008, and offered exotic imagery from a web-controlled UAV that scanned the desert landscape and villages of the Tibesti. The local populations referred to the drone as “The Evil Eye,” and based on confused interactions, created folklore about a reptilian-humanoid race behind their surveillance.
“The Evil Eye” was also said to have the power to produce and remove thoughts and feelings, suggesting the dystopia of a people subject to thought control. Works in HOTSPOTS refute reductive stories of U.S. political engagement in the world, combining a more subjective experience of current affairs with questionable political mythologies.