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window • re/production | re/presentation (Recent News and Current Projects)
Above Image:  Bill Conger & Benjamin Gardner, Untitled for Black Mountain College, 2014

Bill Conger & Benjamin Gardner 
September 25 through January 6, 2015

Work installed to coincide with 
ReVIEWING Black Mountain College 6 (September 26-28, 2014)


Window (re/production | re/presentation) is pleased to present a special exhibition, planned to coincide with the 6th Annual ReVIEWING Black Mountain College Conference hosted by our neighbors, Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center.  This year’s conference theme focuses on the writers of Black Mountain College, known for their innovative use of prose and purposeful, visual arrangement of language.  In the spirit of dialogue and exchange, we invited two artists to create a piece in response to the poets of Black Mountain College, linking Window’s emphasis upon the nature of representation and reproduction to ideas present within the collage-type poetry found within Charles Olson’s projective verse, the layered poems of Richard Duncan and others.

Bill Conger and Benjamin Gardner proved the perfect pair for this collaboration, as they each look to the vernacular as primary components in their work, delicately re-ordering the everyday into both abstract and mythological forms.  The piece created for Window includes Conger’s spare and deceptively simple text arrangements, and excisions from Gardner’s painted works, reiterated as flat, digital renderings floating above a group of letters from the alphabet that, when read in reverse, reveal subtle utterances. 
 
Conger’s contribution to the piece has the embedded title, “I go morning”,
 
“  …a nod to Olson who referred to himself as an ‘archeologist of morning.’ [The work] consists of three lines of text which are both objectively descriptive and within the context of each other, cognitively abstract.  The visually considered compositional placement of the text owes as much to the tenets of concrete poetry as to the canon of Minimalism.   Calculat[ing] [the] visual and sensual essences of the included line, [they are then compiled] as psychological collage to heighten the tone and illuminate the visual capacity of text.” (Conger)
 
Gardner describes his use of abstraction as,
 
“…a conscious choice of allowing viewers to look, think, and contemplate the work much in the same way Charles Olson looked to projective verse and a field of action as poetic structure. Painting a form, in this sense, is a response of my hands much like breathing's relationship to words of a poem.  These forms and words ask viewers to consider them in a way that a representational painting can not; deciphering and contemplation involve the viewer in a way that demands more participation than simply viewing (or, alternatively, someone can just look and choose not to participate further).  
 
Practically, the images are cropped and shaped sections on paintings.  As Olson, Creeley, and others pushed away from lyrical poetry into a physiological of poetry (and the author's and reader's breath), I firmly believe that the possibility of space in a 2-D image is the most profound when it defies itself and asks viewers to change their line of sight and posture to interpret and understand space.” (Gardner)
 
About the Artists
Bill Conger is an artist living in Peoria, Illinois. His work has been exhibited extensively in the US as well as Austria, Germany, Poland, Ireland, and New Zealand, including recent exhibitions at 65 Grand, Chicago IL; Helmuth Gallery, San Diego, CA; Box 13, Houston, TX; and Golden Parachutes in Berlin.  An extensive list of interviews, reviews, and written works are available on the artist’s website, billconger.com.
 
Benjamin Gardner (b. 1979) lives and works in Des Moines, Iowa.  He exhibits his painting and sculptures nationally.  Recent exhibitions include The House of the Seven Gables at University Galleries in Normal, Illinois; The Soothsayer, a site-specific installation at Box13 Artspace in Houston, Texas; and the Young Painters Competition at Miami University of Ohio.  DUSK Editions in Greenpoint, New York released a series of Gardner’s paintings on paper in 2014.  He is an Associate Professor of Art and Design at Drake University in Des Moines and writes and presents on abstraction, visual culture, regionalism, and rural culture.
 
About the Project
Conceived of as a site-specific minimalist exhibition space, Window aims to stimulate thoughtful discussion around timely issues within contemporary art in the local community and beyond. The primary focus is upon works that repurpose found or archival source materials, challenge notions of originality and authenticity, stimulate perceptual phenomena through reiteration or duplication, implement re-photography as a critical component, or embrace re-production as essential to the work. 
 
A tightly curated inaugural season set the tone for the project (visit our Past Exhibitions page for more info), and we are now accepting submissions via an open call (click HERE for guidelines). This project was conceived of by artist and educator, Dawn Roe, who lives part time in Asheville when not teaching at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida.  She also serves as the curator for the space. Window is generously hosted and sponsored by Henco Reprographics, 54 Broadway, Asheville, NC  28801.

For more information visit http://www.windowcontemporary.org
 

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