Muster - new work by Christopher Pennock
is a master of juxtaposition. Rounding up a disparate collection of paintings for Muster
at Whitney Art Works, Pennock mixes a range of subjects into visual cocktail based in abstraction and geometry that is equally literal and representational His palette is composed of grays and drabs punctuated with hallucinatory color. Like a good lyricist he combines the prosaic and the exotic, catching you with hooks and leaving you itching for a replay. Does anyone fully understand how Bob Dylan could write "All Along the Watchtower" when watchtowers aren't conducive to going "along"? Not likely, but the song with its abstract and existential dread has taken on such a specific significance in our cultural milieu that its persuasive and poetic powers are not limited by its nonsequiturs. Likewise Pennock proffers fragments of wisdom like "i am the sum of my parts" but presents them as complex geometric abstract paintings. The viewer is left to sort out this tricky hierarchy and make of it what he or she will. Even paintings based on other subject matter ranging from modern paintings installed in museums, Japanese gardens, and oblique snapshots of landscapes, are both intriguing and inscrutable. There are slivers of barbed wisdom in the irony of certain scenes like those using bleak modern installation as a subject for a realistic painting. Pennock is reverential of Modern art but doing things his own way, installing his work on mural-laced walls and in the case of a 2008 exhibition at Solo Gallery in Tel Aviv, changing elements of exhibition throughout the length of its life at the gallery. The opacity of modernism is reapplied as a critique on the art world and as a stylish lens using a calculated palette of either objective grayscale, dull real life colors, or absolutely hallucinatory color. When used as a way of seeing traditional landscapes, galleries, snapshots and phrases the result is cool and restrained, but with the attitude and obscure wisdom of a rock song. One gets the sense that Pennock is compiling and cataloging in an effort to take on some big questions. "What is all about?" "What is this art world?" "What is an artist supposed to do?" A closet poet, Pennock paints together fragments that critique and coagulate into verses about, well...life.
Chris Pennock is a New-York based artist, graduate of the School of Visual Arts.
And in the back gallery:
Randy Regier - EXTENDED: Selections from Portland Neck
and Randy Regier: Selections from Portland Neck
will be on view from June 2nd through 26th, 2010.
An artist reception
will be held in conjunction with the First Friday Art Walk from 5 - 8 pm, Friday, June 4th
Whitney Art Works is open Wednesday through Saturday from 12- 6 pm or by appointment.