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Issue No. 17 - Enigma

Jan Staller at the IAC

Jan Staller at the IAC

Image above: ©Jan Staller, 3 Malic Molds, 2012

The second installation of Jan Staller’s work opens at IAC this week. Part II, Boomtown New York can be viewed on the giant video wall in the lobby and includes some of Jan Staller’s most recent video and photograph works made of Manhattan’s west side.

Part I: Frontier New York, Then and Now examined the decaying infrastructure and disused industrial areas that stretched along the Hudson River. In Part ll, Staller's new works consider the revitalization of Manhattan's Lower West Side.

0622-fence-drawing-1B-12
0622-fence-drawing-1B-12
Image above: ©Jan Staller, Fence Drawing, 2008 

During the 2000s, this neglected part of the metropolis became the locus of major transformation, beginning with the conversion of the abandoned Highline to a public promenade.  Wildly successful, this brought masses of people to what had been a quiet stretch of taxi cab repair shops and empty industrial buildings. The area soon had stores and restaurants, high-rise apartments and hotels, and even a major museum. In all the feverish construction and the streams of visitors to the High Line, Staller found a great deal of material with which to make new work.

JS_140716_3446_print
JS_140716_3446_print
Image above: ©Jan Staller, Multiform #2, 2014

Departing from the uncanny atmospherics of his earlier photographs, these new works by Staller are reductive. With little indication of their workaday purpose, construction materials are isolated on a pure white ground, appearing more like objects d’art. Cast iron pipe fittings are transformed into abstract sculptures, concrete panels appear to be shaped canvases reminiscent of Ellsworth Kelly,beat up chainlink fences become Fence Drawings.

Screen Shot zoetrope 1
Screen Shot zoetrope 1
Image above: ©Jan Staller, Still from Zoetrope, 2015

The changing neighborhood also inspired Staller to use the human form in both photographs and videos. At its start, his video Zoetrope appears to be a black and white study of an architectural detail. Behind an imposing grill of the High Line railing, flashes of color appear: people. The video becomes an investigation of human typology and locomotion. In a separate video, High Line Heads, Staller captures the processional quality of the head and shoulders floating above the High Line’s railing. Seen against a white sky, the faces seemed to be moving through an ethereal, indeterminate space. In turn, Staller began making still portraits of these visitors, whose facial expressions reflect an inscrutable internal dialogue.

Screen Shot zoetrope 2
Screen Shot zoetrope 2
Image above: ©Jan Staller, Still from Zoetrope, 2015

IAC Building, 555 West 18th Street at 12th Avenue open to the public until 6:00 PM, After dark, the video wall is easily visible through the windows facing West Street 24/7.

NB:IAC events will preempt viewing on the following dates:  April 14, 15, 19th, 20, 26, 27, 28.

Liz Nielsen at Danziger Gallery

Liz Nielsen at Danziger Gallery

Dennis Adams at Kent Fine Art

Dennis Adams at Kent Fine Art