Interview with Debra Lynn Manville of 1 Million Diamonds from May12, 2020
Review, Sun Shines, by @agilityearth.
Our friends over at @centralparkgallery have a really interesting double bill up right now: Sun Shines, featuring fabrications and objects by Joshua Edward Bennett (@_nommo_) and the paintings of Jane Parshall (@janewbparshall). The show feels like a look both inward and outward, as Bennett’s works echo that of signs that direct you more inward than outward. Meanwhile, Parshall’s paintings seem to sketch a space, abstracting a home scene via minimal leaning shapes and lines that quietly splatter and spill. The combination of the two seek stability in times like these, a sort of zen in the everyday – but both through very different means.
Joshua Edward Bennett’s pieces in @centralparkgallery’s Sun Shines feel like a few things. First: signs. They look like abstract, geometric signals intended to tell drivers and walkers where to go and how to act. This is funny given that they say nothing and something at the same time, instead taking an almost 1970s transcendental approach, suggesting third eyes, limitless horizons, and tranquil pools of water. Created through sign making techniques, they are certainly saying something to a viewer through non-literal means. They’re fun but filled with contemplative vigor. For those with an interior design love, they seem so fabulously suited to resonate out on the wall of your home.
Meanwhile, Jane Parshall (@janewbparshall)’s paintings at @centralparkgallery’s Sun Shines are on a different sort of journey: she has created delicate rooms and recreations of objects and images. Her paintings feel like photos taken with light brushstrokes that suggest a place instead of literally recreating a place. There is a looking backward and forward to her work, offering a viewer the smallest bits of information that they then fill in. Unlike classic interior paintings, the works aren’t portraits or still lives but instead as if Morris Louis or even Barnett Newman decided to paint their homes. The results are fascinating and, paired together, the works of Parshall and Bennett offer viewers ways to imagine instead of seeing, ways to remember instead of reenact. It’s a fabulous show up through December 8. Stop by and see it, if you’re in town.
Exhibition Pick, by Mara Hussey for Pelican Bomb
“OAZO,” the title of Joshua Edward Bennett’s newest exhibition at Good Children Gallery, is the word for “oasis” in Esperanto, an auxiliary language developed in the 1870s and ’80s to connect speakers from around the world. And just as the show provides a peaceful refuge from a bustling St. Claude Avenue, Bennett’s formal vocabulary functions like a constructed universal language, immediately accessible with its basic geometric structures and its limited color palette of black, white, and yellow. His pieces emulate everyday symbols like street signs and play with the impact of optical illusions and repetition.
In Sublimar, 2016, one of the larger and more imposing works on view, Bennett employs the familiar motifs of a flag and a brick wall, evoking notions of collective identity and reminding us that smaller, individual parts make up a whole. The alternating stripes of the flag come forward against the stark black of the bricks, exemplifying how Bennett creates unusual visual effects throughout the exhibition. These angular shapes and thin stripes recur in many of the other works on view.
Inspired by the utopian ideals associated with intentional communities, Bennett imagines the exhibition as a comparable space for metaphysical contemplation. Upon entering the gallery, viewers are immersed in an environment of visual and auditory vibrations. The ambient music Bennett composed for “OAZO” reflects the repetition and seeming simplicity of his latest works. While Bennett offers his own distinct language of color and form, each viewer is invited to construct an individualized set of meanings—a personal oasis.
Is contemporary physics overshadowing religion and philosophy? While most science sticks to matters tangible and quantifiable, modern theoretical physics often overlaps with the traditional metaphysical beliefs of Buddhism, Hinduism and Taoism. Throw in Albert Einstein's attempts to find a Grand Unified Theory — his so-called "theory of everything" — and parallels with religion seem obvious. Visual art has always reflected the influence of science, religion and mythology, but very few artists have attempted a "theory of everything," which is what makes the range of Joshua Edward Bennett's Ceniztanos works at Good Children Gallery so unexpected. His exhibition concerns "symbols and their arbitrary and/or universal meaning, ritual/ ceremony, psychedelic visions, global connectivity on a psychic level, sacred geometry, awe, timelines, wonder, mechanical spirituality, tonal equilibrium and fascination with the other." Quietly unassuming at first glance, his mixed-media concoctions are woven together in an improbably coherent fashion.
Crafted from precisely cut and painted aluminum and plywood, these polished constructions reflect design motifs ranging from Pythagorean geometry to Peruvian textile patterns. Elements of both appear in works like Ceybaiyi (pictured), the mysteriously iconic vibes of which recall the antiquity-based modernism of the Art Deco design movement of the 1920s, as well as a diagram I once saw in a BMW motorcycle repair manual. Yet more mind-bending are simpler compositions like Woxi and Swonaa Naoxi, cube and conduitlike forms that play visual tricks if your eyes linger on them, not unlike the optical illusionist art of M.C. Escher. More complex concoctions like Biydwa Fosajic suggest ancient computer circuit boards inexplicably recovered from the ruins of Machu Picchu. Bennett also composed a dronelike electronic music soundtrack that accompanies the show, and if Ceniztanos doesn't quite equate to a grand unified theory of everything, it wades further into those deep and murky waters than most artists dare to contemplate, and we can only wonder what Einstein might have thought had he lived to visit 21st-century St. Claude Avenue.
© 2020 by JOSHUA EDWARD BENNETT