Michael Joaquin Grey: Weather Reports and the Matter of Media
Michael Joaquin Grey
Weather Reports and the Matter of Media. Please Follow the Yellow Line.
Exhibition dates: Nov. 24 – Dec. 30, 2005; Opening Reception Nov. 24, 6 – 8 pm
bitforms gallery is pleased to announce the opening of Michael Joaquin Grey’s solo exhibition, Weather Reports and the Matter of Media. Please Follow the Yellow Line. in Seoul, Korea. There will be an opening reception with the artist present November 24 from 6 to 8 pm.
This exhibition, the second in bitforms’ new Seoul gallery space, will remain on view through December 30.
On exhibit are new computational film works, along with a series of recent paintings. In this exhibition Michael Joaquin Grey plays with unifying a metaphysics of the micro, macro and media worlds. Grey’s new digital paintings capture critical moments in his primary experience of movement. The ‘Weather Reports’ are named for the exact time and location where he creates the related work. In the full body of paintings, Grey records his choreographed movements in a two dimensional template–generating a spatial, schematic, calligraphic and
temporal navigational map with a luminous yellow line in a deep blue spatial field.
The symbolic yellow brick road from The Wizard of Oz is a prominent feature in Grey’s “Perpetual ZOOZ”. In his recent film works, Grey re-envisions critical moments in media and phenomena. Projected on-screen, “Perpetual ZOOZ” captures a 3D hermetic palindromic object molded out of The Wizard of Oz and whirls it into orbit as the film plays out in space as well as time.
A synaesthetic sculpted object of image and sound, “Between Two Milk Bars” unites Kubrick’s infamous A Clockwork Orange with the voice of the first man on the moon and John F. Kennedy’s famous speech beginning the space race.
“Sam Slime Life Cycle” visualizes one of Grey’s observational videos of the four stages of a slime molds life cycle out of a matrix of animation building blocks from a classic cell animation of Looney Tune’s ultra violence featuring Yosemite Sam and the anvil. This new media form, the Cellular film visualizes the past, present and future of the animation within every moment of the film as each of the individual films in the matrix becomes the ‘cell’ of a larger body of another film. As part of his recent series, “From Primordial to Precocial”, Grey combines primary experiences and observations of phenomenon with second order collective media and history in order to question our individual and cultural development and identity. Grey’s work often reflects on how a process of simple formal or iterative decisions rapidly develops cultural and social meaning.
For the past twenty years, Michael Joaquin Grey has been creating work that extends and plays with the boundaries of art, science and media. His investigation centers around the origins of language and life – as related to natural and complex systems, with a focus on the development of an individual. The meta-commentary in his work is informed by personal narratives and creation myths, as well as a deep interest in the underlying spatial language and syntax of all form. Critical moments in natural phenomenon and culture are objects in his work, as are the prepositional states of change between matter, energy, behavior, and meaning. The developmental path of human experience and discovery from observation– through description, explanation and exploitation– are central issues Grey envisions in his artwork. Grey’s creative dialogue engages epistemology, pedagogy and the creative limitations of the tools and processes we use to observe, learn and play with our world.
Grey’s work has been recognized in publications internationally including Artforum, Flash Art, The New York Times, The New Yorker, Leonardo, Artbyte, ID Magazine, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, Village Voice, London Telegraph, Wired, Zing Magazine, Art & Auction, and The Wall Street Journal.
His work has been seen in Seoul at the National Museum of Contemporary Art as part of the Whitney Museum’s 1993 biennale selection, and at bitforms gallery’s inaugural exhibition in Seoul this past September.
He has exhibited at bitforms gallery, New York and Seoul; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art; Whitney Museum of American Art; The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; MOCA, Chicago, MOCA, San Diego, The Walker Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami; Milwaukee Art Museum; Serpentine Gallery, London; Tel Aviv Museum of Art; Kunsthalle Hannover; Norrtalje Konsthall, Sweden; Kunsthalle Loppem, Belgium; Brooke Alexander Editions, New York; Lisson Gallery, London; Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York, and Stuart Regen Gallery, Los Angeles.
Grey is also the inventor of ZOOB, a modeling system that emulates the building blocks of nature and complex systems. He received a BS from UC Berkeley in Genetics and an MFA from Yale. He lives in San Francisco and New York.
Comments by Matthew Ritchie on artwork by Michael Joaquin Grey:
Firstly, Approaching art from a scientific background with a degree in genetics, Grey addressed elemental processes of sculpture on a far more utilitarian basis than his antecedents. Although Grey’s first body of work was formally tied to artists like Robert Smithson, Walter De Maria, and Bruce Nauman, the works in the Petersburg show had the authority one attaches to functional objects—the result of real inquiries in to fundamental nature of things—quite distinct from the speculative respect we attach to elegant hypotheses. At the moment of its emergence his work was already closing the circle with the laboratory. By claiming materials and methods that ranged from exotica like silicon airgel fresh from the labs at Berkeley to more conventional materials like sculpy and steel, Grey assumed extraordinary formal latitude.
The second salient feature in Grey’s work was the inclusion of a narrative, a primitive cosmology embedded in sculptural form. Between Erosion Blocks: Units of Growth/Decay (1990); The Drip (1998); Unrecoverable (1988); Low Density Silicon Airgel (Solid Smoke) (1990); and Cast River (1988); and Cast River (1988), Grey mapped an elemental landscape of earth, light, air, and water. Two other works, My Sputnik and Electron M. (Microscope) (both 1990), successfully cast themselves as autobiographical poles in his exploration of the micro-macro world. Grey saw these narrative links as essential to the larger utility of the work, distinguishing them from the stand-alone formalism of his predecessors and bringing a metaphysical longitude to the stainless intelligence of the sculptures. Grey’s use of slightly exotic, self determining materials to fabricate work and his subsequent integration of them into sculptural forms were to have an enormous influence on his closest colleague, Matthew Barney, who supplied a third element: the withheld glamour and celebrity of a reproducible body. But the work also spoke of to larger issues, specifically the construction of a new kind of artistic operating environment. Only by claiming authority over all levels of production, no matter how complex, could the promise of pluralism be fully incorporated into an individual artist’s practice. This was a liberating moment that still affects the art world.
Artists as diverse as Liam Gillick, Katy Schimert, and Rirkrit Tiravanija were learning the same lesson, along with its corollary rule; in art, as in science, total freedom has a price. For Grey, whose work continues to broaden scope, the price was the movement of his work beyond the narrow confines of the artworld, resulting in his most pluralistic project yet: the modeling system called ZOOB.
(Quoted from the 2001 catalog for LAMOMA’s “Public Offering” exhibition, curated by Paul Schimmel)