press release

Demetrius Oliver: Observatory

D’Amelio Terras is pleased to present Demetrius Oliver’s first solo gallery exhibition in New York. Through large-scale photography, sculpture, slide-projection, and video, Observatory articulates a visual form for the cycles of thought, investigation, and experimentation endemic to artistic practice and self-discovery.

Relying on materials encountered in daily routine and capturing their reflections off of curved surfaces, Oliver redeploys prosaic objects to unveil new contexts and sites of meaning from a fish-eyed, almost surreal frame of reference. The images capture the artist at work among electrical cords, camera equipment, and scattered tools, contributing to the impression that through Oliver’s lens, one finds the artist in the midst of a private, uncensored event. Even in images where Oliver’s presence is absent, one can sense an implicit human trace through Oliver’s disquieting arrangement of axes, hammers, coal, and table lamps.

Throughout Oliver’s practice, artistic investigation is linked to cosmic exploration and observing the unknown in nature. The planetary, orb-like shape of his images instills an ethereality, allowing everyday action to veer towards the transcendental. Installed in a non-chronological sequence and free from a narrative structure, circular images emerging from black backgrounds appear as planets scattered across a dark sky. A series of stacked plastic buckets suggest the long, simple, cylindrical form of a rudimentary telescope. Five of Oliver’s photographs are exhibited on the gallery floor as sculptural bases for massive, meteorite-like chunks of coal. An intimate video, created in collaboration with the artist Blanche Bruce, depicts a moon drawing by Galileo, spinning to the sound of John Coltrane’s Interstellar Space album. These references to the cosmos are indicative of Oliver’s interest in a Thoreau-like Transcendentalism: specifically, the experience of charting one’s own relationship within a surrounding environment.

Demetrius Oliver has participated in solo exhibitions at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, P.S.1. MoMA Project Space, the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, and Inman Gallery in Houston. Since completing his MFA at the University of Pennsylvania in 2004, Oliver has been a resident at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine, a Core Fellow at The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, a resident at the Studio Museum in Harlem, and a recipient of The Rema Hort Mann Foundation Visual Art Grant.

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Roland Flexner: Cuts

D’Amelio Terras is pleased to present Cuts, a solo show by gallery artist Roland Flexner. For more than a decade, Flexner’s drawings have relied upon the potential of his materials compounded with chance and intention, nature and artifice— from meticulous ‘ink bubble drawings’ which capture a spherically-rendered burst of ink and soap to his Suminagashi inspired drawings, rooted in the Japanese technique of transferring floating ink onto paper via water and gelatin.

Cuts is the first exhibition that shows Flexner cropping his Sumi ink abstractions. Until now, the artist has presented the entirety of these drawings uncut as the result of an event; in this work, Flexner locates his image and slices the paper down to the millimeter in order to offer the most pictorial inclusion. The artist mounts the drawings on a wooden back and foot-stand and arranges them alongside viewing stones, also known as Suiseki or Biseki. Both Flexner’s drawings and these picture stones have been transformed by the unpredictable flow of water. Microscopic details in the water-pushed ink of the drawings suggest a galactic expanse that echo the glacial movements which have sculpted the sediment swirls in the stones for millions of years. Flexner’s drawings challenge the viewer to reckon with associative forms like the familiarity to landscape and the behavioral patterning of the ink that often alludes to representation.

Flexner’s contemplative display pairs two organic forms that have both been realized by a decisive cut. Lumps of jasper or GuoHua stones have been dissected, presenting a smooth cross-section of suggestive earthen configuration and the drawing plane has been sliced on the four-sides of the paper, bluntly truncating the ripples and streams of ink. Juxtaposing over 250 stones and drawings expands ideas of influence and inspiration of nature’s infinite possibility. As Barry Schwabsky wrote, “one might speak of Flexner’s ‘all-at-once’. Like a snapshot, each one of these drawings is the record of an instant, of a single complex event. But the action is poignant.”

Roland Flexner’s numerous exhibitions include the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; the 2006 Berlin Bienniale for Contemporary Arts, Berlin, Germany; the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, CT; and the Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France.

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Demetrius Oliver / Roland Flexner

Demetrius Oliver: Observatory

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Roland Flexner: Cuts