STEPHEN G. RHODES
JANUARY 4 - FEBRUARY 10, 2007
Opening Reception: Thursday, January 4, 2007; 6-8pm
Beginning January 4th, 2007, Stephen G. Rhodes will present "Recurrency," a solo exhibition of video, sculpture, photographs and drawings. Like much of his work, Rhodes arrived at "Recurrency" through a twisted breakdown of language- it is a collapse of the word currency, which the artist considers a hallucinatory system, and recurrence, a psycho-analytic term used in discussions of the mechanisms of trauma, a subject regularly explored in his work. The title also alludes to the Ambrose Bierce Civil War story, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" and in particular the 1962 short film adapted from the same text. Rhodes was first exposed to the film while in grammar school in Louisiana. It was repeatedly screened throughout his time in the school system there, all the way through high school, and each time with little or no discussion conducted by the given instructor. Evidently, the screening of this short film, with a running time of 25 minutes, was a pedagogical tool used to occupy remaining time until the ringing of the school bell.
Central to "Recurrency" are three sculptural structures resembling various gallows stages covered with fragments of busted green screen material. From one structure, two synchronized videos are projected onto the opposing walls of the gallery. The videos loosely take their lead from "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" in which a man is seen at the gallows awaiting his imminent death only to have the fortune of being hung from an incompetent rope. The rope breaks and dumps the subject into the contingent body of water. The remainder of the film follows the subject’s unusual escape back to his plantation estate where upon embracing his wife he grasps his neck in agony and a harsh jump cut intervenes and reveals the man hanging from the bridge. The dream motif of "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" has been completely dispensed with in "Recurrency," while the motif of departure, the rope breaking, is sustained. The narrative is edited through the composition of an infinite loop wherein one periodically witnesses a subject fated to the Sisyphean task of fleeing from the gallows only to ultimately return to the gallows ad infinitum.
Although "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" may have been the generative source for this work it is essentially repressed to the background frame. Furthermore, the focus of the videos shift attention from the fated subject to the rope that follows in his trail tracing concentric lines of the loop with his every return to the gallows. Deploying dual synchronized projection, Rhodes suggests that the rope is infinitely unspooling through the gallery corralling spaces along the way as it weaves through the varied locations visited by the camera. A visual strategy which aspires to crudely resonate the Structuralist reflex of the apparatus, sprinkled with a dark nod to the Red Balloon.
Rhodes’ embraces and likens the impossibility of manifesting different references and thematic problems through the deployment of various mediums, to be much like the performance of one who speaks to the dead by way of medium. "Recurrency" demonstrates his method of shifting through the imposition of a narrative and literary web of associations as it is metabolized through spatial, temporal and formal exercises within a given framework.
Stephen G. Rhodes was raised in Louisiana. He lives and works in Los Angeles. He graduated with an MFA from Art Center College of Design, Pasadena California in 2005. Upcoming exhibitions include “Between 2 Deaths” ZKM Center for the Arts Karlsruhe, Germany. For further information please contact the gallery at 212-625-9224 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Guild & Greyshkul
28 Wooster St. Ground Fl.
New York, NY 10013
Tel: (212) 625-9224
Fax: (212) 625-0151