Harper’s is pleased to announce two concurrent solo exhibitions of recent work by Margo Wolowiec and Travess Smalley. Although each artist explores the limitations and potentialities of their respective mediums—Wolowiec weaves handmade canvases with a traditional loom and Smalley creates algorithmic imagery with modern computer technology—there is common ground in their artistic practices. Both Wolowiec and Smalley explore techniques made possible by digital photography and produce intricately distorted pictures, oftentimes obscuring their source material. The parallels and divergences at play in each exhibition offer a glimpse into the multifaceted approaches taken by contemporary artists responding to an age where digital technology has made images ubiquitous and shareable at an unprecedented level.
Five of Margo Wolowiec’s dynamic weavings will be hung in the downstairs gallery. To construct each piece, she begins by collaging multiple image files culled from automated algorithms and online search engines. She then embeds the collages onto individual threads via a dye sublimation transfer process and weaves them together on a handloom. The final compositions are aesthetically similar to static on a screen, but the works still assert their physical presence through the texture and tactility of their interlacing threads. This particular body of weavings sources banal snapshots taken by anonymous tourists at the Louvre and Disneyland, suggesting a flattening out or enmeshing of experience between high and low culture. Additionally, Wolowiec will introduce a series of ceramic plates, further toying with the phenomenon that turns fine art into souvenirs at museum gift shops. Keeping with her process, the plates are printed with residual offprints from her sublimation transfer paper, making each plate a unique index of a discarded moment.
In the upstairs gallery, Travess Smalley will present a selection of 8 ½” x 11” works on paper. The pieces on display are the result of an artistic practice involving the production of thousands of images, both computer graphics and hand-rendered drawings, many of which are copies of copies: visual data layered and translated into more visual data. Smalley is interested in the transformation of images and files as they are copied, printed, scanned, and backed up on storage devices. His selection of photocopies and digital printouts on various materials highlight moments where new images, patterns, and textures begin to emerge out of these reproductive methods. In some cases, he adds his own interventions by hand, either painting or drawing directly on the paper, or by adhering scraps of vinyl to the paper's surface. Utilizing chance operations, Smalley allows the work to take on a life of its own. This artificial model mimics organic growth and mutation, inviting random elements to enter into his creative process.
Travess Smalley (b. 1986, Huntington, WV) is a New York City-based artist represented by Foxy Production. He received a BFA from Cooper Union in 2010 and studied at Virginia Commonwealth University. His most recent solo shows include Foxy Production, New York; Galerie Andreas Huber, Vienna ; and Cooper Cole, Toronto. Smalley is an avid bookmaker, having self-published numerous books, catalogs, and zines of his work.
Margo Wolowiec (b. 1985, Detroit, MI) received a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2007 and an MFA from the California College of the Arts, San Francisco in 2013. Recent exhibitions include solo presentations at Lisa Cooley, New York; Anat Ebgi, Los Angeles; and Johansson Projects, Oakland; and group exhibitions at Laura Bartlett, London, and GRANPALAZZO 2015 at the Palazzo Rospigliosi, Zagarolo, IT.