September 14th, 2018 – November 4th, 2018
Opening Reception: September 14th, 2018, 6-8 pm
PROXYCO Gallery, 168 Suffolk Street, New York, NY 10002
In his new exhibition, We Do Not Work Alone at PROXYCO Gallery, Edgar Orlaineta offers a phenomenological exploration of objects in space. With this arrangement of masterful mid-century craft-based works he challenges the spectator to participate by creating their own “mental idea” of the objects in spatial and temporal context rather than merely witness a display of formal conclusions. Viewers who approach the pieces complete the artwork and make it their own through the use of their individual experiences, visual references, and the idiosyncrasies of their cultural background. This acknowledgement of the exhibition’s dependence on the spectator to complete the work is both a philosophical stance and a nod to the historical antecedents that inform the individual pieces, leading Orlaineta to suggest that We Do Not Work Alone.
Edgar Orlaineta’s work is known for fusing exhaustive historiographical research into the mid-century era with a mastery of a variety of modernist craft techniques including woodturning, metalworking, weaving, drawing, painting, and assemblage. Along with engaging the viewer in a Gestaltist experience, Orlaineta wants to draw attention to the craft involved in producing these objects. For the artist, the paradox of craft today is that it is as celebrated as it is neglected. He considers this a symptom of an interconnected world moving at increasingly faster speeds in which the delay that craft implies through its time-consumptive generative process becomes a subversive and purposeful means of creating space for thoughtfulness. His recent series reflects studio meditations on the process of creation of objects.
The practice of craft and its innate privileging of ‘the hand’ offers Orlaineta a deliberate means of retreat from what he considers the tyranny of the ego. What better way to disrupt the ego’s master-of-self than to escape one’s own mind through meditative physical process? Grounded in his historical research, Orlaineta gives his hands free rein to guide the work’s creation by informed intuition. In opening the shaping of works to an intuitive process he distances himself and the final piece from mimesis of research-based faithfulness, enabling the generative process to be rooted in the past yet wholly new.
In Gestalt philosophy objects are perceived within an environment according to all of their elements taken together as a global construct. This idea is illustrated in reification or multi-stability diagrams such as the image of a vase made by the negative space of two faces in profile. In these constructs the mind of the viewer is essential to completing the ‘mental idea’ that the diagram communicates. Similarly, with this arrangement of works, Orlaineta is not seeking to display a group of inert objects. Rather, he invites the viewer to explore with him a gestaltist ‘mental idea’ of the works in context in space.
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