Chris Domenick

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Artist Statement

My work explores language’s imprecise relationship to objecthood. I’m interested in articulating overarching connections between disciplines—drawing, sculpture, installation, writing, and performance, specifically—to create a formally and conceptually sprawling experience in which dissonance and absence make viewers the agents of narrative construction.

My material vocabulary is informed by quotidian American public spaces, corporate interiors, the suburban pastoral, and everyday objects.  Objects rely on language to contextualize their utility; how much modification does a thing require in order to be renamed? The work resists rectilinear stasis and focuses on the semantics of shapes, suggesting a proximity to digits, fonts, and glyphs.  Recently I’ve examined the psychology of the off-cut: that which is left over after an intended shape has been cut from a standard stock.  The results reject intention, generated rather through a process of attempting to articulate a specific form, failing, and discovering it in the periphery.  This is a process of making ‘found objects’ (objects that carry the marks of history on their surface). The attributes and histories of found objects are embodied within the construction. Through this process, I can restage histories, rename familiar things, and scrutinize the lens through which we understand everyday experience.

The Book sculptures (images #6,7) use the scale, materials, and the mechanics (the hinge) of commercial hard covers to uncannily exceed our understanding of this familiar object. These works celebrate the nuance of touch within a world rapidly becoming dematerialized. They are best situated in ones hands, close to the chest. Other recent works address how flat surfaces employ their objecthood vis-a-vis image, sculpture, and furniture. I explore this idea by separating surfaces from their supports. An example of this can be seen in the work Diptych (Puma), part of a series of diptych works. This piece is comprised of two rectangular rigid wood panels or supports that are connected by one continuous shaped piece of laminate adhered to each surface (operating also like a book). This work illuminates the tacit hierarchy we perceive in the ontology of objects: structure trumps surface. By revealing and physically manipulating this concept – as well as the word diptych itself, which implies there are two separate objects – the work subverts conventional understandings of where objects begin and end. The illustration of physical space between two discrete objects is an apt metaphor for my practice at large, which explores the amorphous space between autonomous wholes, and examines the interdependence which all signs are conditioned by.

The project You are Apple/Pear (images #12-15) is a work-in-progress that began during a residency at Recess Activities in December 2014. The project analyzes the physical, metaphorical, and conceptual aspects of the smoothie as a contemporary manifestation of classical still life painting. The smoothie operates as a device of collage: it blends multiple objects identified by their physical attributes (and their nutritional content) while also carrying the cultural significations of progressive lifestyles and health-conscious neoliberal values. This project explores the terms in which objects undergo constant fluctuation between contexts (personal, political, ontological), and how this movement is inscribed in the objects themselves. You Are Apple/Pear began with an installation of screen-printed wallpaper, photo-tables with changing still life arrangements, and a custom kitchen island on which smoothies were made during public events (the trailer for the Smoothie Social is in the video section), and which subsequently was used as a site of performances. This work continues to develop in sculptural and written form, drawn from my research of the history of kitchen design, the progress of user-friendly appliances, global economics, and the development of genetically modified food.

When working in performance, I have approached the lecture as a pedagogical framework that deals with embedded hierarchies and authorship.  My lecture-performance works attempt to collapse the form’s conventional structure. Always lacking a thesis, these works can be understood as psychic travelogues, where physical space, history, information, and reverie operate in a horizontal space.  I combine analytical and playful approaches to construct non-linear narratives; the subject matter is sourced from personal anecdotes, theoretical texts, architectural histories, and a cultural analysis of signs.  In the excerpt from ramapo et cetera I focus on my experience of watching tourists take selfies at Stonehenge. I emphasize the particular juxtaposition of elements: Stonehenge’s status as tourist site, the physical gesture of the selfie, the sculptural qualities of the selfie stick, and the subsequent circulation of these images through the virtual sphere.  In my lecture-performances I used this combination of things as a guide to understand the construction and dissolution of subjectivity within the landscape of an abstracted yet culturally significant site.  These works are in dialogue with the rise of the TED Talk industry and the infrastructure of academicized art discourse; they strive to complicate the privileged position of the podium.

 

CV

  1. 1982 Philadelphia, PA

Education

2013 Masters of Fine Arts, Hunter College, NY 2012 Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, ME 2006 Bachelor of Fine Arts, Tyler School of Art, Temple University 2003- 2004 Temple University Rome, Italy

 

Selected Exhibitions

2015 ramapo et cetera (performative lecture), Staging Sex/Staging Self, Skowhegan Project Space, New York On Discipline: An Evening of Short Performative Presentations, Regina Rex, New York, NY 2014 You are Apple/Pear, Recess Activities, New York

SkowheganPerforms, Socrates Sculpture Park, Queens, NY ABNORMCORE, ROOM EAST, New York, NY

2013 Antithesis, curated by Omar Lopez-Chahoud, Present Company, Brooklyn, NY Breaking Night, curated by Becky Suss, Vox Populi Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Two and Monuments Two, Center For Experimental Lectures, Curated by Gordon Hall, Hosted by The Shandaken Project, Shandaken, NY Wet.Lobby.Luxor, MFA Thesis Exhibition, Hunter College Art Gallery, Times Square Gallery

2012     A Study of Interruptions, Curated by Natasha Marie Llorens, Pascal Gallery, Berrie Center, Ramapo

College Parenthesis (solo project), Louis B James Gallery, NY the loneliness of the middle-distance runner, Curated by Sam Perry, Flux Factory, Queens, NY Sculpture Show, Curated by Chris Manzione, Bermont Lab, Skowhegan, ME Family Style, Collaborative Installation with Laura Frantz, Hunter College, NY A Valuation, Curated by Alexander Clark and Friends, Nexus Space, New York, NY

2011     And Nomad (solo), Wilson Gallery, Anderson University, Anderson, IN

Play It Again, ACE Curatorial Collective, Hunter College Times Square Gallery, NY Shifting Communities: Action Club, Hatuey Ramos-Fermín and Elizabeth Hamby (collaborative project), Bronx River Arts Gallery,

NY Social Hijinks, Live Action Lecture Night, Flux Factory Vox VII, curated by Melissa Ho and Hennessey Youngman, Vox Populi, Philadelphia, PA Grant v. Lee, curated by Sophie Lvoff, Good Children Gallery, New Orleans,

LO Double Session, “In This Hello America”, collaborative project with Douglas Paulson, Ward Shelley, Rancourt/Yatsuk, and Kerry Downey, CCS Gallery at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson,

NY YOU ARE HERE: Projects in (de)tourism. ACE Curatorial Collective, Hunter College Times Square Gallery

2010     Wassaic Project Summer Festival, Wassaic, NY             Saturday Sun, Capricious Space, curated by Karen Codd, Brooklyn, NY             Bumble Bees, performance project accompanied by COP PIECE, a play by Lilac Company, St

John’s Theater, 94 Norman, Brooklyn, NY ECSTATIC, a collaborative project with Action Club, curated by Round Robin Collective at St Cecilia’s

Convent, Brooklyn, NY

2009 High Tide (solo project), WORK Gallery, Brooklyn, NY BTHCBFFS, 1717 Troutman St, Brooklyn, NY Wassaic Project Summer Show, Wassaic, NY

Queens International 4, In collaboration with the Anti-Fascist Culture Club, Queens Museum of Art, NY

Visionary Drawing, Published book of drawings in accompany with Matt Bua’s Cribs to Cribbage

exhibition at Mass Moca I Heart Art, Benefit show, WORK Gallery, Brooklyn, NY 6 Artists, Grattan and Porter, Brooklyn, NY

2008     Drawbridge, Two-person show with Anne Pearce, WORK Gallery, Brooklyn, NY

Curated Projects

2014 House Blend, Recess Activities, New York 2013 Empty Vestibules: Pictures, Pictures, Pictures, Spaces. This Red Door, Galapagos Kusthalle, Dumbo, NY

Awards and Residencies

2015 Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program 2014 Recess Activities, New York

2013 C-12 Emerging Artist Award, Hunter College

2012 Graf Travel Grant, Hunter College

2010 Millay Colony of the Arts Fellowship, Austerlitz, NY               Flux Factory, Queens, NY

2009 Virginia Center for the Creative Arts Fellowship, Amherst, VA

2008 Ox-Bow Residency Program, Saugatuck, MI

2007 Vermont Studio Center, VT

Publications and Online Projects

2014 Interview in Bomb Magazine online with Natasha Marie Llorens http://bombmagazine.org/article/1000181/chris-domenick

2012 Chris Domenick by Patrick Guntert, a review of Parenthesis WOW HUH Fall 2012

2011     Contributing Artist (Video), The Nicola Midnight Sinclair, Online Publication, December Issue

2008     Chris Domenick and Anne Pearce: Drawbridge. October Issue, Brooklyn Rail