Jennie Jieun Lee & Mariah Robertson

11R, NYC, 2016

11R is pleased to present a two-person exhibition of new works by American artist Mariah Robertson and Korean-American artist Jennie Jieun Lee, on view from January 10 – February 7, 2016 at 195 Chrystie Street (East Gallery). The exhibition will feature photograms by Robertson alongside ceramic works by Lee, and in doing so will juxtapose two artists behind whose practices lies a shared affinity for uncontrollable and unpredictable transformations of state.

Eschewing the camera, Robertson creates multiple-exposure photograms, masking and dodging light throughout the process as well as changing the color filters in the enlarger. Though each color spot in the photogram captures an individual exposure, a specific duration of time, when taken as a whole, the record of Robertson’s repeated gestures suggests an optical effect, creating depth in some areas, while remaining flat elsewhere. The successes and failures occurring concurrently within the image thus dissect the notion of creating space. By leaving the torn edges of the photographic paper jagged, Robertson emphasizes the work’s physical presence, which in turn points to her manual experimentation, as well as her method’s rupture with the traditional privilege accorded to precision and forethought.

While Robertson’s photographs are formed in the darkroom, the kiln serves as the site of transformation for Lee’s ceramic works. There, pools of glazes meld, and clay protuberances are fused with fissures, holes, and other topographical elements. Lee’s pieces achieve material cohesion independent of her hand, and each piece evidences a tension between intentional design and spontaneous formation. Robertson’s and Lee’s enthusiasm for material alchemy, unstable experimentation, and catalyzing forces – light in Robertson’s photographs, heat in Lee’s masks – enriches this comparison of photography and sculpture, color and form, and the representational and abstract.