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John Houck, COMA Gallery, 2017

Cross Currents at COMA Gallery (Installation view)


JOHN HOUCK in Cross Currents

January 20 – February 24, 2017

COMA Gallery
137 Bayswater Road
Rushcutters Bay, NSW, 2011

Ry Rocklen
Dean Levin
Hany Armanious
John Houck

“Cross Currents” confronts multiple perspectives on the relationship of the viewer to an artwork. Included artists utilize systems of information, physical space, and shifting perceptions o conceived space. Calling on Nicolas Bourriaud’s Relational Aesthetics, the artist serves as a catalyst, or director. While relational art is not without attention to aesthetic, the artwork takes on a social form having little to do with its original purpose and objectivity. Inversely, actual space as ascertained through minimalism speaks to a positive and negative dissection of space. The opposing notions, dually addressed within the context of the exhibition, remain individually dependent on duration, a temporal space. Cross Currents explores the work of four artists pushing the boundaries on both formal and relational practices.

John Houck confronts a theory within the paradigm of intersubjectivity – the co-creation of a third entity within the analytic dyad (or the derivative by-product of the interaction of the minds of two people in a relationship). Houck applies the psychoanalytic concept to the interaction of photography and painting. Brushwork and the presence of the hand on the photographs activates the flatness of the picture plane, only to be counteracted by a pictorial space laden with images of objects laced with personal references and narrative.

Objects and shapes un-apologetically paired together in the cast resin sculptures of Hany Armanious create a language of analogies and allegories. The Sydney based, Egypt born artist (his own background a balance between two cultures) leaves the viewer with a proposed narrative between unexpected objects, at once engaging and bemusing.

When reality is challenged by a representation of itself, systems of information take precedence over objectivity as evidenced by Ry Rocklen’s wall-mounted works. Rocklen deconstructs preconceived notions or existing experiential reference to make way for a new relationship of objects. Images of objects found on the streets of LA are glazed onto a flat ceramic surface, with an alternative object sculpted two-dimensionally on the reverse. The ceramics are sliced horizontally, each part sitting on its own glass shelf in front of a mirror (such as the inside of a medicine cabinet) allowing the viewer to see both sides at once.

Educated as an architect, Dean Levin’s freestanding installation references actual space. The mirror of a gridded panel allows for a reflection interrupted by a machine-produced, handdrawn grid with inevitable human error. The viewer, seeing his or her own image within the architectural installation, is given a sharp reminder that the artist dictates the reality he has a created. Included paintings reference a daily numbered studio practice – granting a view into the practice of the artist through a rigid numbering system.

For more information visit Coma Gallery.