Haze Machine: Rose Marcus and Andy Meerow at Bodega
In this exhibition, Rose Marcus and Andy Meerow complicate the process of looking and understanding. Both artists draw from what is readily available in the public sphere: monuments, municipal and commercial signage, and pre-existing art objects. Rose Marcus shot the photographic image in Tony (Tory) from the interior of a Hunter College building looking out onto the public plaza on 68th Street and Lexington. Two students cross the plaza in front of Tony Smith’s sculpture, Tau, covered in snow. One of the students clutches her Tory Burch brand purse while the other appears handless, arms lost inside an oversized coat. The figures are obscured by the grit and precipitation on the window, which acts as a secondary lens capturing the reflection of the lighting in the photographer’s interior.
The image in Imagine (Field II) was taken at the Imagine Circle in the Strawberry Fields memorial to John Lennon in Central Park, one of the most visited attractions in New York City. To make the image, Marcus brought an existing photograph of a barefoot figure talking on a cell phone in the park, rested the framed photograph on a park bench, and photographed the reflection of the memorial’s circle in the photograph’s glass. The result is a blurred figure but crisp image of the memorial adorned with a bouquet of flowers.
Shadow is an image taken of a “Clean Up After Your Dog It’s the Law” sign taken from a public space in New York City. Marcus hung the sign on her studio wall and photographed its reflection in the studio’s double paned windows. As a result, the image is muddy, doubled and backwards. Both Imagine (Field II) and Shadow are printed directly onto architectural glass with no white ink, a common procedure in large scale, commercial grade printing.
Similar to the manner in which Marcus layers material and photographic imagery in her work, Andy Meerow layers linguistic and graphic references in the three paintings included in this exhibition. Rather than working these canvases fluidly from start to finish, Meerow’s paintings are developed through a sequence of interruptions. Much of the painting is done through layered stencils which mimic the mechanized qualities of an over-printed image “run through the machine” a second, third, or fourth time. The resulting works appear pressurized by the flatness of the picture plane. Redacted texts and obscured graphics convey a vague sense of conflict, perhaps between the legible messaging germane to sign painting, and an opposing drive within the artist toward abstract speech. The work appears in turns poetic, accidental, or even authorless. The tension Meerow presents—between tightly organized information and its lack of literal coherence—might be seen as an analogue for the vulnerability of order in our world.