October 3rd, 2013

Charles Gaines at Paula Cooper

CHARLES GAINES NIGHT/ CRIMES: Canis Major, 1995, framed photo and silkscreened text framed: 70 3/4 x 37 3/4 in. (179.7 x 95.9 cm). © Charles Gaines. Image Courtesy of Paula Cooper Gallery, New York. Photo: Steven Probert.

Artist: Charles Gaines

Venue: Paula Cooper, New York

Exhibition Title: Notes on Social Justice

Date: September 7 – October 5, 2013

Click here to view slideshow

Charles Gaines, installation view of Notes on Social Justice,at Paula Cooper Gallery, 521 W 21st St, New York (9/7–10/5/13).  © Charles Gaines. Image Courtesy of Paula Cooper Gallery, New York. Photo: Steven Probert.

CHARLES GAINES Sky Box I, 2011 acrylic, digital print, polyester film and LED Lights, changing light system, fixtures and tracks 3 boxes, each: 84 x 48 x 5 in. (213.4 x 121.9 x 12.7 cm). © Charles Gaines. Image Courtesy of Paula Cooper Gallery, New York.

CHARLES GAINES Manifestos 2: Indocumentalismo, (2010), 2013 graphite on Rising Barrier Paper 89 3/4 x 48 in. (228 x 121.9 cm) framed: 96 3/4 x 55 in. (245.7 x 139.7 cm) © Charles Gaines. Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York. Photo: Steven Probert.

Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.


Images courtesy of Paula Cooper Gallery, New York. © Charles Gaines. Photos by Steven Probert.

Press Release:

For more than forty years, Charles Gaines’ art has explored the relationship between aesthetics, politics, language and systems. Gaines employs rule-based methodologies to investigate ways in which meaning can be experienced in images and words. Informed by sources as varied as Tantric Buddhist drawings, the systemized work of Hanne Darboven, and John Cage’s notions of indeterminancy, Gaines creates work that often employs plotting and mathematics to organize visual components. He does not, however, deny the viewer’s sense of subjectivity.

“The art work, the total art work, involves many aspects of myself, not just one, and they all want to participate in the work. But when the work is done they all disappear… 1 There is nothing in my approach that tries to determine from my own interest what type of feeling you have.” 2

This exhibition will be comprised of four bodies of work. The first, Night/Crimes, begun in 1994, juxtaposes photographs of stellar constellations with photographs of men convicted of violent crimes. These images are accompanied by texts identifying the locations of the crimes and the locations of particular sections of the sky. Gaines suggests links between the crimes and the natural events, links that may or may not, in fact, exist.

Skybox 1 consists of a light box measuring approximately seven by twelve feet. The light box illuminates blown up images of political texts on oppression, colonialism and liberation, democracy and freedom. The texts are by the 17th century religious reformer Gerard Winstanley, and twentieth century philosophers and political leaders Léopold Sédar Senghor,Frantz Fanon, and Ho Chi Minh. At regular intervals, the light box dims so that the texts disappear, revealing thousands of points of light that suggest a star-filled night sky.

Manifesto 2 is an installation consisting of two parts: four single channel video monitors, each one dedicated to one of four texts of revolutionary manifestos; and four large graphite drawings of music scores that were created through a systemized translation of the texts. The texts are from An Indigenous Manifesto (1999) by Canada’s Taiaiake Alfred; Malcom X’s last public speech, held in 1965 at Detroit’s Ford Auditorium; Raul Alcaraz and Daniel Carrillo’s Indocumentalismo from 2010; and the Declaration on the Rights of Women, written by Olympe De Gouges in 1791. Gaines has composed scores from each manifesto, translating the letters of the texts to their corresponding musical notes.

The most recent body of work in the show is entitled Notes on Social Justice and is comprised of large-scale drawings of musical scores from songs dealing with political subject matter. The songs include many from the American Civil War as well as more recent songs dating from the middle of the 20th Century.

1. No Title: The Collection of Sol LeWitt (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Art Gallery, 1981)
2. Unpublished letter by Gaines, 2010

Link: Charles Gaines at Paula Cooper

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