Get on the Beat Nite Bus! Stop in & catch PAY TO PLAY during Bushwick's own Beat Nite, 6-9 pm, Friday March 6.
The artists in PAY TO PLAY keep a keen eye on the bottom line. With deadpan humor and a cool remove, William Powhida and Rita Valley’s works make you laugh - at first. In concert with Rico Gatson’s seductive abstractions and Joe Amrhein’s meditation on monetary terms, their compelling works offer a deeper look at core economic issues.
Exhibition dates: January 16- March 8, 2015
Joe Amrhein is originally from Sacramento, California and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. He is the founder and Co-owner / Director of Pierogi gallery and The Boiler (Williamsburg, Brooklyn) while maintaining his practice as an active visual artist. Known for its inventive programming, Pierogi was launched twenty years ago with the Flat Files, an alternative gallery model that he created, which has become standard practice in galleries world-wide. Coming from a background as a sign painter, Amrhein works mainly with text. The materials he paints on, glass and vellum, besides being traditional surfaces for signs, offer him options to develop the text further with metaphorical content. Removing these painted letters and cyphers from the context they’re describing intensifies this abstraction of language, becoming a visual art form unto itself. When the words become so highly fragmented, the text he composes is often not meant to be read but is used almost as an artifact. Joe Amrhein has exhibited widely in the US and Europe and is represented by Jochen Hempe Gallery in Berlin, Germany.
Born in 1966 in Augusta, Ga., Rico Gatson grew up in California and graduated with an MFA from Yale in 1991. Brooklyn-based, Gatson creates sculpture, video, paintings, drawings and installations. Working seamlessly across media, the content of his work includes issues of racial identity, history, entertainment and spirituality, with remembrance and celebration often as underlying themes. In PAY TO PLAY, we will be showing minimalist abstract sculptures. These seductive works reference themes of internalized energy, containment and isolation in addition to humorous references to stereotypes in popular culture.
Gatson’s artwork has been exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including Prospect 1 in New Orleans, Greater NY at MoMA PS 1 in New York, and at the Essl Museum in Austria, Vienna.
Permanent collections include the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Denver Art Museum and Yale University Art Gallery, among others. He is represented by Ronald Feldman Fine Arts in New York City.
William Powhida (b. 1976, New York) is a G-E-N-I-U-S and habitual critic of the art world. Powhida lives and works in New York. He studied painting at Syracuse University where he easily received a B.F.A with honors and scored an M.F.A. from the nicely remodeled Hunter College program. He has exhibited internationally in New York, Los Angles, Seattle, London, Madrid, Miami, Chicago, Copenhagen, Austria, Dublin, and even the Canary Islands. Recent shows include Unretrospective at Platform Gallery, Overculture at Postmasters Gallery, and Bill by Bill at Charlie James Gallery, which have left people slightly confused.
In PAY TO PLAY Powhida will be exhibiting original drawings from A (More Objective) Economic Map, a print commissioned by Creative Time and a series of abstractions titled Asset Class. Both series will be shown for the first time in New York.
Currently he is represented in New York by Postmasters Gallery, in Seattle by Platform Gallery, in Los Angeles by Charlie James Gallery, and in Copenhagen by Gallery Poulsen. His work is in the collections of the Whitney Museum and the Orange County Museum of Art. Follow him on Twitter @powhida if you can handle strong language and occasional time-based abuse of the medium.
Long before our present fiscal dilemma, Rita Valley was preoccupied by the world of numbers, money, credit and predatory transactions. She nursed a heroic case of “Math Anxiety” through most of her life and only through her art making actions has she come to terms with it. Two unlikely areas of interest come together to create the works presented here: an exploration of contemporary verbal tropes and expressions of social dynamics while intentionally exploiting the politics of her intensively hand-made pieces.
Valley graduated from Bennington College with a degree in Studio Art and a minor in Literature. She lives and works in Connecticut; close enough to New York to dive frequently off the deep end into the vagaries of the art world, but distant enough to enable a life of bucolic scenery. She has received two State of Connecticut Individual Artist Grants and recently was commissioned by a collaborative project with Yale University Art Gallery and Artspace (New Haven) to create an original artist's book, "Better Guns and Gardens". Funding was provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. Her work is included in numerous public and private collections, including the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C.