September 3, 2015 – October 11, 2015

<h4>Max Cleary &amp; Joe Rudko</h4>
Reception &amp; Artist Talks: Tuesday September 15th, 6:30-8:30pm

Joe Rudko and Max Cleary make use of existing photographic imagery the way an abstract painter might use paint, with thoughts of composition, form, texture, color. The difference between this collage-like process and abstract painting is that the ingredients of the resulting pieces are inherently and more obviously meaningful. A blue rectangle that is made from a picture of the surface of the ocean lends itself to narrative more forcefully than a blue rectangle made with ultramarine and cobalt blue. With both Rudko’s and Cleary’s work, though, the implied narratives never feel forceful. The shapes of recognizable imagery have been so altered that they become small fields that one must navigate visually before remembering what these shapes and colors usually do and then reconcile that with what they have been made to do here.

In Max Cleary’s <em>Building a Thing to Forget</em>, rectangular shapes of what looks like ocean, rock, grass and dirt make up an entity that is suspended or momentarily posing in a portrait-like composition. This character seems to be on the verge of becoming, rather than being firmly realized. Cleary writes: “I’m interested in that middle stage of reaching and in the idea of it perpetuating; to never successfully reach the end point.”

Joe Rudko’s <em>Backdrop</em> is an assembled grid of black and white photographs in which the human subjects have been transported elsewhere. What is left is white negative spaces that double as charged abstract subjects. Rudko writes: “The juxtaposition of existing imagery and handmade mark making references a contemporary culture that functions in the uncertain space between the virtual and real, the abstract and the definitive. When time seems to stretch, and space seems to fold inward, we can begin to reexamine how we author and interpret the experience of seeing.”

– Susanna Bluhm, Gallery Director