Houston Ripley in NYC

I loved the pr from the Robert Smith Lab Gallery in New York for a two-man show that includes Philadelphia artist Huston Ripley–the other artist is Joseph Nechvatal–opening December 14th (reception the 15th, 6:30 to 9 p.m.).

Ripley had a huge painting in Operation RAW at the Icebox, a piece at a Spector Gallery drawing show, and several of his mesmerizing ink drawings at Fleisher/Ollman gallery last year (see posts here and here).

If you know Ripley’s work, the show’s title, Metaphysics and the Virtual, might make some sense to you. The first line of the press release explains, sort of:

This exhibition will focus on the works of two artists whose endeavors in the realm of an aesthetic/conceptual practice represents an overlay between the rehabilitation of metaphysics and the virtuality of the information age.

Joseph Nechvatal is one of the leading computer artists working in the realm of virtual telematics today. Beginning in the early eighties, Nechvatal used the alloverness – so prescient at the time in formalist painting – as an inversion of itself in order to evoke the need for an expanded content through virtual thinking and photo-mechanical processes.

Conversely, Huston Ripley’s densely-compacted drawings on 16-ply sheets of folded Japan paper remark on the potential for re-asserting value in the representation of the human body – less in political terms, than in the realm of the metaphysical. The erotic generation of bodies emanating from the pantocrator or bodhisattva progenitors reveal Ripley’s extraordinary imaginative gift for reconciling the presence of spirituality within the everyday.

Nechvatal and Ripley would appear to represent two sides of the same phenomenon, antipodes that are revealing themselves within the informational speed and excess of today.

The show was curated by Robert C. Morgan. I’m not familiar with the gallery, but it sounds pretty interesting. Here’s how it describes itself:

The Roger Smith Lab Gallery is a project based exhibition space located in one of the liveliest business sections of New York City. Sponsored by The Roger Smith Hotel, The Lab is a high traffic, fast paced, converted “storefront” that features conceptual work and provides a venue for experimental national and international artists and curators and their ideas. The Lab Gallery specializes in ten-day exhibitions.

It is located on the corner of 47th St. and Lexington Ave.