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The exhibition’s title comes from painter Charles Alphonse du Fresnoy’s philosophical and instructional Latin poem “De Arte Graphica” (1668), in which the author promotes the then novel idea that painters and sculptors are artists, rather than craftspeople. He argues that visual producers hold the same creative and inspirational status as poets and playwrights. He also prescribes the ingredients of a great painting, in terms of subject matter, composition, color, and style, looking back to the balanced, pared-down, classical art of ancient Greece and Rome, as an antidote to then contemporary Baroque painting.

The evolution of the meaning of the Latin word “graphica”—of painting or drawing—into the English “graphic,” later saw the word’s meaning revert to the artisanal, to a sense of visual illustration and design. In recent years a number of contemporary artists have reclaimed the use of graphic forms and patterning in work that resonates with social and personal significance. With inspiration from cartoons, illustration, and digital design, among other sources, their work negotiates with 20th century traditions, including Constructivism, Pop, and Minimalism.

Michael Bell-Smith’s new video, “Podcast Paperwork” (2020), continues his ongoing exploration of what he calls “readymade affect:” the visceral response built into templates, presets and other systems of media presentation. For this video Bell-Smith reworks commercially available templates for Instagram video posts, cutting them together in an exacting rhythm, while reducing their “content” to simple grids and aphoristic snippets of text. Synced to the rhythmic score, created by the artist, the looping movements of the graphic elements take on a choreographic presence, shifting from foreground to background as the text emerges and recedes. These pieces of text operate as poetic fragments, imbued with the weight and anxiety of the current moment while alluding to their original source: the optimistic language of lifestyle branding.

JODI’s “NewMaterialWant” (2017) is a website that generates ever-changing remixes of elements from a database of digital 3D models. Each separate model, whether a basic wireframe or a scanned 3D design, has been collected by a bot from online websites where amateur designers upload their models for others to freely use in the their digital creations. These basic amateur designs blend individual creativity with scans, copies, and variations of everyday items or icons of mass culture.

Cindy Ji Hye Kim’s monochromatic set of drawings and large painting pressurize perspectives, figures, and fields of vision, while expanding upon narratives of the gaze and power. The artist’s “Thirty Frames Per Second” (2016) is an animation flip book displayed as separate pages across one wall of the gallery. Recalling Hitchcock’s use of flowing dissolves that are read as one shot, the series of ink drawings has a circulating eye than can induce senses of both anxiety and freedom. The artist’s large painting “Creativity” (2020) incorporates graphite, charcoal, pastel, ink, acrylic and oil on a canvas in a range of patterning that captures all the tensions of the creative moment.

Glendalys Medina presents two drawings from the “Valiant Series” that reference Puerto Rico, where the artist was born, and the culture of its indigenous Taino people. Combining Medina’s vocabulary of stencils, drawings of Taino symbols, and colors that represent the island’s past and present, Medina constructs a patterning that integrates a contemporary reading of the Puerto Rican experience. The artist’s recent “Covid Color Study” series uses the same stencils to produce both subtle and vivid variations of color and form that represent intimate moments of inspiration during the lockdown.

Michael Bell-Smith (East Corinth, ME, 1978) takes familiar visual elements from games, advertising, interiors, and corporate design, among other places, and positions them within unexpected conceptual frameworks. The artist holds a BA in Semiotics from Brown University, Providence, RI, and an MFA from Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, and lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Recent exhibitions include: “The Smiths,” curated by Maurizio Cattelan, Marlborough Contemporary, London, UK (2019); “A Visibility Matrix, by Sven Anderson and Gerard Byrne,” Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, Ireland (2018) “Mall Punk,” Kunsthall Stavanger, Norway (solo)(2017-2018); “Web 2.0.”organized by Paul Slocum and Thierry Tilquin, Senne, Brussels; “Material,” Foxy Production, New York, NY (solo)(both 2017); “The Diet,” Kayne, Griffin Corcoran, Los Angeles (solo)(2016); “Greater New York,” MoMA PS1, Queens, NY (2015-2016); “Sound Spill,” Zabludowicz Art Projects, New York, NY; and “Spectacle: The Music Video,” Museum of the Moving Image, Queens, NY (both 2013).

JODI, or jodi.org, pioneered net.art in 1995. Based in The Netherlands, JODI were among the first artists to investigate and subvert conventions of the Internet, computer programs, and video and computer games. Radically disrupting the very language of these systems, including visual aesthetics, interface elements, commands, errors and code. JODI’s work is featured in most art historical volumes about electronic and media art, and has exhibited in Documenta-X, Kassel, Germany; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany; ICC, Tokyo; CCA, Glasgow; Guggenheim Museum, NewYork; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Eyebeam, NewYork; FACT, Liverpool, UK; and at MoMA, NewYork’s exhibition of works from their collection (2019-2020).

Working across animation, drawing, painting, and sculpture, Cindy Ji Hye Kim (Incheon, South Korea, 1990) navigates the volatile relationship between culture and identity. The artist lives and works in New York City. She received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2013 and her MFA from the Yale University School of Art in 2016. Solo exhibitions include: “Cindy Ji Hye Kim,” MIT List Visual Art Center, Cambridge, MA (2020); “Verses from the Apocalypse,” Helena Anrather and Foxy Production, New York, NY; “The Sword Without, The Famine Within,” François Ghebaly, Los Angeles, CA (all 2019); “The Celibate Machine,” Interstate Projects, Brooklyn, NY; “The Sow is Mine,” Cooper Cole, Toronto, ON (both 2018); and “Tick,” Helena Anrather, New York, NY (2017). Group exhibitions include: “Condo Shanghai,” Antenna Space, Shanghai, China; “On Pause,” Art Gallery of York University, Toronto, ON; “Tetsuo,” Bahamas Biennale, Detroit, MI (all 2019); and “Mature Themes,” Foxy Production, New York, NY (2018).

Glendalys Medina (Ponce, PR, 1979) is a multidisciplinary artist who holds a BFA and an MFA from Hunter College, New York, and lives in New York City. Recent exhibitions include: “How to Dance,” curated by Phyllis Rosenzweig, Bronx Art Space, Bronx, NY (current); “Mono Platform,” Mono Practice, Baltimore Museum of Art Salon, Baltimore, MD (2020); “The Shank," curated by Lia Gangitano, Participant Inc., New York, NY (solo)(2019); "Spots, Dots, Pips and Tiles,” Pérez Art Museum, Miami, FL; “Disarming Geometries,” Dorsky Gallery, Long Island City, NY; and “Harlem Postcard Summer 2017, ”Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY (all 2017). Screenings and performances include: “BRIC Celebrates Brooklyn,” BRIC, Brooklyn, NY (2020); “Dear Me & The Shank LIVE,” Performa 19, New York, NY (2019); “No Microphone,” The Kitchen, New York, NY (2017); and “BWA for BLM: Video Screening, ”New Museum, New York, NY (2016). Medina was awarded a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Fellowship in 2020.

Click for video documentation

CREDITS
Photography and video documentation: Charles Benton.

Press

"'Graphica' at Foxy Production." Contemporary Art Daily. 20 Sept. 2020. Web.

Deb, Dhru. "Healing Through Art." Columbia Postdoc Society Blog. 11 Sept. 2020. Web.

Schneider, Tim. "Editors’ Picks: 9 Events for Your Art Calendar This Week, From a Tony Cokes Video Commission to Frieze Sculpture at Rockefeller Center Art to see in New York—and online—as we head into Labor Day Weekend.” artnet news. 31 Aug. 2020. Web.

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