GWENN THOMAS | Standard Candles




November 4 – December 17, 2016

Opening Reception: Friday, November 4, 6-9pm

NEW YORK – 57W57ARTS is pleased to announce three concurrent solo exhibitions of New York-based artists Gwenn Thomas, Michele Alpern and Lael Marshall. On view from November 4th through December 17th, there will be a reception for the artists on Friday, Nov. 4th, from 6-9pm.

In the Main Gallery, Gwenn Thomas will present Standard Candles, an exhibition of photographic works exploring the complex spatial relationships of two and three-dimensional planes. Partly inspired by documentary photos of the Vienna house that philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein designed for his sister in 1926, Thomas’ newest works are laminated photographs of the same window shot at various times of day. Each work is contained in an irregularly shaped structure, creating the illusory effect of actual windows suspended throughout the gallery. The interplay of the photograph’s architectural subject matter with its built-in, 3-dimensional frame challenges not only our shifting perception of the photographic image, but also our lived experience of interior/exterior spaces.

Gwenn Thomas studied at the Sorbonne, Paris, and is a graduate of the Cooper Union School of Art in New York. Her recent solo exhibitions include Gwenn Thomas: Moments of Place at Point of Contact Gallery, Syracuse University, NY; Art Projects International, NY; Exile Gallery, Berlin; and Yvon Lambert, NY. Thomas’ work is held in several prominent museum collections including The Metropolitan Museum of Art; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; Philadelphia Museum of Art; The Fogg Museum, Cambridge, MA; São Schlumberger, Paris, France; C.A.M. Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon, Portugal, and Julia Stoschek Collection, Düsseldorf, Germany. In 2013, a survey of Thomas' work was published by Charta (Milan, Italy). Coinciding with her show at 57W57Arts, Thomas will be exhibiting Awnings, Windows, Rooms at Regina Rex through Dec. 4th.

Featured in the gallery’s Waiting Room, Lael Marshall will present works from her ongoing series involving fabric and handmade abaca paper. Whether it is a piece of woven cloth’s color, pattern, or texture, the starting point of Marshall’s process begins with the alluring materiality of her chosen medium. Fabrics have been an integral part of the artist’s practice for several years, not only providing a base for painting but also serving as an essential component in her study of 3-dimensional forms. Along with a series of fabric works, Marshall will show a selection of sculptural wall pieces made from abaca paper stretched over wooden armatures. Applied to the constructed shapes while still wet, the abaca fiber can be pulled and manipulated in such a way that as it dries, it shrinks into taut, tent-like forms.

Born in Seattle, WA, Lael Marshall studied at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) and received her MFA from The Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, Germany. Recent two-person and solo exhibitions include Dieu Donné Workspace Program with Emily Noelle Lambert; and This Quiet Commotion with Michael Voss at mitart gallery (Basel, Switzerland).  Her work has also been shown in group exhibitions at The Riverside Art Museum (Riverside, CA); ParisCONCRET (Paris); SNO (Sydney); Parallel Art Space (Brooklyn); Visual Arts Center of New Jersey (Summit, NJ); Beers Contemporary (London, UK); and Schema Projects (Brooklyn). Marshall held a 2014 residency at Dieu Donné Workspace, and is the recipient of The Acker Award for Visual Arts, San Francisco (2014). Marshall lives and works in New York.

In the gallery’s Project Space, Michele Alpern will present small drawings composed of very fine pencil marks on paper, mounted in books. They depict edges, focusing on the borders between spaces. The very small lines themselves consist mainly of the beginning and ending, the transition, of a mark on paper. The drawings are highly elliptical, implying fugitive spatial relationships, and complications between figure and ground. Their sequential placement in books foregrounds temporal relations as well as spatial ones. The books of drawings are viewed at a table with chairs, eliding the intimate and the public. 

The materials in this work—ordinary paper, pencil, binders, simple wooden table and chairs—are deliberately unassuming. The drawings are next-to-nothing while also full of care: a tension that for Alpern has connotations about our existence.

Michele Alpern is an artist and a writer. She pursued a multidisciplinary program at university, interested in the study and practice of art, film, and literature, and holds a bachelor’s from Rutgers and a master’s from Columbia. She continues to work across media, in hybrids of drawing, painting, installation, video, and writing. Her work has been exhibited in the New York City area, where she lives.