Facts of Light
Xingze Li, Robert(a) Marshall, J Pasila, Ethan Ryman, Elisa Sighicelli, Gwenn Thomas
guest curator: Robert(a) Marshall
November 13 - January 16, 2022
recorded January 13
Brooklyn Rail, by Tim Maul
brutjournal, by Edward M. Gómez
from left: Xingze Li, Robert(a) Marshall, J Pasila
from left: Robert(a) Marshall, Xingze Li, Robert(a) Marshall, J Pasila
from left: Robert(a) Marshall, Xingze Li, J Pasila
from left: Robert(a) Marshall, Elisa Sighicelli
from left: Elisa Sighicelli, Ethan Ryman, Gwenn Thomas, Xingze Li
from left: Robert(a) Marshall, Elisa Sighicelli
from left: Gwenn Thomas, Robert(a) Marshall
from left: Ethan Ryman, Gwenn Thomas
from left: Gwenn Thomas, Xingze Li
exhibition photos: Yanka Kostova
I turn on my phone. I’m inundated; never has so much “information” been available. Everything is labelled, named, coded. Algorithms endlessly reinforce binaries and certitudes. Subtlety was banished long ago.
I turn off my phone, look at the wall, zone out. Allow my mind to wander. Tell myself the wall is white. I look again. There: an area of faint ochre. There: a greenish blush. Later in the day the wall darkens to maroon. Old questions reoccur: How do we separate the perceived object from the light in which it appears? From the spatial and social conditions of seeing? The physiological and psychological apparatus of vision? The artists in this show don’t provide easy answers to these questions. We’re invited to slow down, consider, wonder. Perhaps paradoxically, this is accomplished through the advanced printing techniques digital photography makes available. Is the light in Xingze Li’s images “actual” light? What is the line between representation and embodiment in Gwenn Thomas’s trapezoidal windows and glass “ingots,” in Robert(a) Marshall’s images of curtains printed on mirrors? In J Pasila’s photographs of her studio, are we looking at the corner of the room, at a shadow? In Elisa Sighicelli’s pictures, what is the relationship between the fabric on which the image is printed and the fabric that’s represented? In Ethan Ryman’s work, how can the experience of the picture be separated out from the experience of the object in architectural space?
All of these artists ask us to pause, to stop naming and coding quite so quickly. To consider the place where the subjective and the objective meet. To resist, for a moment, pinning everything down.
-Robert(a) Ruisza Marshall
Xingze Li is a multidisciplinary visual artist based in Brooklyn. He has exhibited and curated in China, America, and Denmark. He has had solo and two-person exhibitions in New York City at venues including Dekalb Gallery, Tutu Gallery, and Hunter East Harlem Gallery. Recent group exhibitions have taken place at the Pratt Institute Manhattan Library and cfcp gallery in New York City, Little Berlin in Philadelphia, and Carlsberg Byens Galleri & Kunstsalon in Copenhagen. He has curated shows including Small Root (2018), and F-1: Out Inside (2019) in Brooklyn, NY. Notable awards include the 77ART Residency, Pratt Graduate Student Engagement Fund, Cope NYC Residency, and Pratt in Venice Scholarship. Li earned his bachelor's degree in 2015 from Xi’an Academy of Fine Arts and received his MFA in Painting and Drawing from Pratt Institute in 2019.
Robert(a) Ruisza Marshall is a visual artist and a writer. Their paintings, photo-based work, and videos have been exhibited in the United States and Europe at venues including Participant Inc., Studio 10 Gallery, Baxter Street, Art in General, White Columns, The Drawing Center, Richard Anderson Fine Arts, and the Peter Kilchmann Gallery. American Trickster, their biography of the faux-anthropologist and cult leader Carlos Castaneda—fifteen years in the making—is due out from University of California Press in September, 2022. Their novel, A Separate Reality, was released by Carroll & Graf in 2006 and was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award. Their fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Salon, N + 1 Online, Evergreen Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, and numerous other publications.
J Pasila is a photo-based artist working with photograms, digital photography, and found images. She has exhibited in Europe and North America. Venues in New York have included Momenta Art, Plane Space, and Carriage Trade; in Europe she has shown at the Apollohuis in Eindhoven and the Waterfront Gallery in Ghent. She has participated in the "dust" photogram collective in Paris which was exhibited at the Pompidou from October 2020 - March 2021. Pasila is the recipient of awards and grants from the Association of Icelandic Visual Artists, the Mustarinda Association in Finland, and the MacDowell Colony, NH, among others. She divides her time between Brooklyn, NY and Northern Iceland.
Ethan Ryman was born in New York City. He attended Carnegie Mellon Drama School, The New School For Social Research / Eugene Lang College, and The New School Jazz and Contemporary Music Conservatory Program. Prior to his art career, Ryman engineered rap records for Wu-Tang Clan, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, and others. In 2011, he showed his work in Serra Sabuncuoglu’s A Place To Which We Can Come at the St. Cecilia Convent in Greenpoint, and was selected for Tomorrow’s Stars at the Verge Art Brooklyn art fair. Other recent exhibitions include Hat Trick at DC Moore (2012); Patterns Of Interference at SHOW ROOM; and Lilly Wei’s “Light3” show at Fridman Gallery with Jan Tichy and Stephen Dean. Most recently he showed his series ‘The Band – An installation of Obstructivist Constructions and Related Photo-Sculptural Objects’ at 524 Projects, Brooklyn, NY.
Elisa Sighicelli lives and works in Turin, Italy and New York City. She studied sculpture in London at Chelsea College of Arts and Kingston University, and received her M.F.A. from the Slade School of Art. Her most recent solo show was Accardi/Sighicelli at 55 Walker, a collaborative space of Bortolami Gallery, Kaufmann Repetto, Andrew Kreps Gallery, NY. Past solo exhibitions include Lumenombra, Castello di Rivoli, Rivoli, 2019; Storie di Pietròfori e Rasomanti, Museo Pignatelli, Naples, 2019; Doppio Sogno, Palazzo Madama Museo Civico d’Arte Antica, Turin, 2017; Stone Talk at Rossi and Rossi in Hong Kong; and Elisa Sighicelli, Gagosian Gallery, Geneva, 2013. Her forthcoming solo exhibition will take place at Galleria d’Arte Moderna in Milan in the Spring of 2022. Sighicelli has participated in numerous group exhibitions, including Futuruins at Palazzo Fortuny, Venice, 2019, Marking Time, MCA, Sydney, 2012. A new bilingual monograph titled Elisa Sighicelli 9 Years was published by Skira, Milan in 2020.
Gwenn Thomas lives and works in New York City. She studied at the Sorbonne in Paris, and the Cooper Union School of Art in New York. Her recent solo shows have been exhibited at 57W57Arts, NY; Art Projects International, NY; Exile Gallery, Berlin; Mélange, ung-5, Cologne, Germany; Southfirst, Brooklyn, NY; Regina Rex, NY; and Point of Contact Gallery, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY. Recent two-person and group shows have included 'DUST: The Plates of the Present', Centre Pompidou, Paris; Gwenn Thomas + Jason Murphy at Abattoir Gallery, Cleveland, OH; 'Re-visions' at Pinakothek Der Moderne, Munich, Germany; and ’Please Enter', at Franklin Parrasch Gallery, NY. Thomas has an upcoming solo show at Exile Gallery, Vienna, in the Spring of 2022. Selected collections include The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Julia Stoschek Collection, Museum Ludwig, and Centre Pompidou.