Break / Step

June 8 – July 8, 2012

Hours: Saturday and Sunday 3-6 pm

Curated by Eileen Jeng

Esther Choi, Rachel Hayes, Todd Knopke, Rena Leinberger, Stephanie Loveless, Alan Lupiani, Angel Otero, Ian Pedigo, Armita Raafat, Sara Greenberger Rafferty, Peter Soriano, Miryana Todorova and Sebastian Vallejo

Radiator Gallery presents Break / Step, a group exhibition featuring artists, currently based in the New York metropolitan area, whose works embody deconstruction in creation and vary in techniques. The imagery, act, and aestheticization of deconstruction play an important part in contemporary art, especially in process-oriented works that focus on materiality. The title refers to the movement when soldiers are instructed to “break step” when crossing structures, such as bridges, sensitive to resonance. The unified rhythm is intentionally broken to create a new sound and image.

In the matrix that composes our urban environments, buildings, land, and materials are constantly being developed or constructed, deconstructed, and reconstructed. Materials are recycled and reused, sometimes in creative ways. Land erodes, only to be built upon or preserved again. On a practical level, the infrastructure of cities, like New York, is constantly being reconstituted and the act of deconstruction occurs everyday — which begs the question: what is the nature of creation when construction and deconstruction are integral parts of the process?

Over the past four decades, contemporary artists have continuously challenged the medium utilized and process involved in works of art; narratives are broken, reinterpreted, and recreated. The artists in Break / Step use various traditional and innovative media, such as oil paint, fabric, plastic bags, glass, and industrial tubing. Surfaces are highly mediated. Images are re-construed, deconstituted, and altered. Sounds are fragmented. And public and private spaces are transformed. Chance, risk, and failure are evident and inevitable.

Abstracted in composition, these paintings, sculptures, photographs, installations, performances, films, and videos gain transformative dimensions. Out of disclarity and fragmentation, clarity and fresh perspectives re-form and develop. Some works produce a confounding affect, evoking a sense of tension. The artists examine aesthetic and formal qualities in their work, and some confront personal memories and histories as well as address cultural, social, and identity issues. Many dichotomies are suggested, such as permanence and impermanence, stability and instability, utopia and dystopia, reality and illusion.

Eileen Jeng is an independent writer and curator and the archivist at Sperone Westwater in New York. Her latest project includes Facture at AIRPLANE in Brooklyn among others. She was a research assistant in the Department of Contemporary Art at The Art Institute of Chicago, and she was involved in various exhibitions, including FLOAT at Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City in 2007. She earned an MA in arts administration and policy from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a BA in art history and advertising from Syracuse University.