Judith Barry
imagination, dead imagine

Curated by Piper Marshall
6 May to 28 July 2017
541 West 24 Street

On 6 May 2017, Mary Boone Gallery will open at its Chelsea location imagination, dead imagine, an installation with sound and video projection by JUDITH BARRY. The exhibition is curated by Piper Marshall.

An androgynous head is projected onto five sides of a larger-than-life cube, accompanied only by the sound of the slow inhale and exhale of the figure. Without warning, a substance spills onto the face; the impact registers on five sides of the die. We may be repelled; we may wish to turn away; however, we are transfixed in fascination. The spectacle overwhelms our urges, subduing them to the point of tolerance. Willfully, we submit our vision to the disturbing projection, until suddenly the head emerges again. Wiped clean it is redeemed, only to be subjected to an abuse outside its control yet again.

The evocative action in this sequence echoes the spill of painting, the ground against which minimal art transgresses. Barry’s figurative gesture pushes against this more totalizing discourse and re-inscribes the body within its geometry. The fluid serves as a vital force, one which drowns the body and calls attention to that permeable border between life and death as the latter infects the former. While we zero in on the drama of the cube, we become more acutely aware of its blind-spots: the off-screen space which commands the action on the screen, pointing to the mystification inherent in the vision machine. Indeed, most compelling in this film is the uncontrollable action that produces a trauma and in so doing offers its processing. Similar to the current state of affairs, the repeated abuse simultaneously numbs and stuns. In Barry’s work, horror at the action trumps the sublime, grounding it in a material and tangible con-frontation to be experienced over and over again in a space of possibilities.

Judith Barry’s research-based practice utilizes installation, architecture and design, film/video, performance, sculpture, photography, and new media. Barry has exhibited internationally at such venues as Documenta, Berlin Biennale, Venice Biennale of Art/Architecture, São Paulo Biennale, the Carnegie Inter-national, and the Whitney Biennial. In 2000, Barry was awarded the Kiesler Prize for Architecture and the Arts. Select public collections include Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada; Centre Pompidou, Paris, France; Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois; DIA Center for the Arts, New York; MACBA – Museum of Contemporary Art, and “La Caixa”, Barcelona, Spain; Museum of Modern Art, New York; and MUMOK, Vienna, Austria.

The exhibition, at 541 West 24 Street, is on view through 28 July 2017. For further information, please contact Ron Warren at the Gallery, or visit our website www.maryboonegallery.com.