Marina Pinsky at 303 Gallery, New York
The Moscow-born, Berlin and Brussels-based artist examines the modes in which we read images as material, spatial, and ideological models of the world. Moving between photographic and sculptural works, Pinsky utilizes oblique symbols to invoke potent invisible histories. Comprised of analog black-and-white photographs and a constellation of newly developed sculptures, the exhibition proposes a consideration of the origins of New York in its pre-urban settlement.
An interpretive sculptural model of the Wyckoff House is hand-made in unglazed ceramic. This house, the oldest in New York, was built in 1638 and occupied by Pieter Wyckoff. It is located in what is now the Canarsie area of Brooklyn, situated on land that the Dutch West India Company purchased from the local Lenape tribe to form part of the New Nederland colony in 1636. Pinsky’s model is pulled together with ratchet straps so that the structure becomes a whole only by the force of tension, creating a type of physicality borne of allegory.
The exhibition’s photographs are drawings of pine trees, taken from early American colonial flags first appearing in the 1600’s in New England. These small images are created without negatives using direct positive black-and-white paper, and appear as mirror images of the traditional analog enlargements facing them. Besides its colonial origin, this pine tree insignia was adopted in 1913 as the symbol of the New York Armory Show. Together with the tagline “The New Spirit,” it re-introduced the pine tree as a symbolic reminder of American rebellion, and established New York at the vanguard of contemporary art. Magnifying this conflation of iconography, Pinsky’s excursive photographs allow for a more deliberate consideration of the icon and its various histories.
Between the photographic works stand sculptures of delicately rendered vines and leaves of pumpkins, cucumbers, and string beans. They are supported by industrial “frames” based on plant assembly kits used for model railroad construction. Reverse engineered back to life size, the plants become representations twice removed. Another group of sculptures make use of granite slabs, formerly used in factory production as cutting surfaces for other, softer stones. Covered with marks and incisions, they appear to display an unknown ancient language, but actually evoke traces of modern industrial processes. The works present layered dialogues about image/object replication that hover between socio-historic and natural signifiers past and present.
Forthcoming exhibitions of the artist’s work include Parallel Oaxaca, Mexico; Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art, Latvia; and Kunstverein Göttingen, Germany. Recent projects exhibiting Marina Pinsky’s work have been held at the Vleeshal, Middelburg, Netherlands; WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels; Kunsthalle Basel; Kunstverein, Düsseldorf; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; 13th Biennale de Lyon; and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. The artist received an MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2012, and BFA from SMFA Boston in 2008.
at 303 Gallery, New York
until 31 March 2018