Thursday, April 26, 2007

Modern Cubism and Mark Napier

In Graham Greene's legendary short story, "The Destructors," a group of neerdowell pre-teen boys set off upon the task of taking Mr. Thomas' (aka Old Misery) 200-year-old home, a Sir Christopher Wren masterpiece-- the sole neighborhood survivor of the Nazi blitz-- and obliterating it piece by piece, making it a shell of its former self.

In a sense, you could say that they were junior Matta-Clarks awaiting their "slicing" moment, but instead taking the weakest portions of the frame structure, destabilizing it, and then like a grand piano falling down a staircase, bring it down in an enormous collapse.
Post-9/11 America is self-destructing in a piecemeal fashion, too-- layers upon layers are newly revealed.

And so, too, in this way Mark Napier's digital art is breaking new artistic boundaries.
It is impossible to look at his take on the Empire State building and not think of that fateful day.
Napier makes it appear to painstakingly collapse upon itself in quite the standard cubist manner.
And with 9/11 at the back of our memories, any exhibit combining imagery of massive architecture and deconstruction brings to mind many painful thoughts.

The building seems to take on a human elemental form-- the fleshy and earth-toned colors; a kind of homosapien skin peeling away and showcasing the Pennsylvania steel underlayers in mirrored stained glass fragmentation.

Much in the way of a Georges Braque, Napier is a genius at creating new visions of hard forms.

The building, in this case, is the nude descending a staircase.

The stately obelisk suddenly feels like a deflated balloon-- in pure motion with the wind, or perhaps just barely escaping Kong's grasp.
Walking into Bitforms to view this exhibit I felt a sensation unlike most gallery visits.
It was a true inspiration-- and lovely in its harsh concrete feel, manipulated by computer software.

Autocad design for the future.

I do have to say that the lighting in the gallery could have been less prominent-- and would have showcased the video piece at the far wall in a far better manner.

But all in all-- one of the best shows currently in Chelsea during a Spring unlike no other.
Is it still winter?
Is it summer?
Let the lonely giant of 34th Street and 5th Avenue peel back its many layers-- shedding its past, and looking to its future.

Lovely indeed.
The exhibit is up through May 19th, 2007.
Definitely check it out.
See more at:

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