Parallel Art Space : The Heroic Object

The Heroic Object

April 5 – May 11, 2014

Opening Reception: Saturday, April 5, 6 pm – 9 pm

Hours: Sat/Sun 1-6pm and by appointment

Location: 17-17 Troutman Street #220, Ridgewood, NY 11385 [map]

Direction: L Train to Jefferson St. / B57 (Flushing Ave) to Cypress Ave.

Parallel Art Space proudly presents The Heroic Object, a collection of works from Vincent Como, Joshua Johnson, Peter Lapsley, Raymond E. Mingst, Russell Perkins, Kara L. Rooney, Magdalen Wong, and Frank Zadlo that hone in on the art object, traversing realms from the mythic to the prosaic, deploying, by turns, allegory, commodity, manifesto, buried gold.

The classic stories of the ages tend to have, at their heart, heroes engaged in some form of movement. Whether it’s Ulysses’ ten year struggle to return home from the Trojan War, or Frodo’s mission to destroy an evil ring, or Jane Eyre’s striving to remain true to her interior convictions despite the push and pull of her exterior circumstances, the destiny of our heroes on the page is fulfilled via their movements within the story. Through the processes they undergo along their way, both Herculean and small, the development of our protagonist can be considered heroic in proportion to how much it teaches us about ourselves, warns us against our baser natures, and reflects our collective non quantitative ‘truths”.

Likewise it is an interest in the journey of the art object through creative action, the adventure of material across the influences of intention, environment, and time that is at the core of the grouping of artworks in The Heroic Object. Though necessarily divergent in their individual artistic aims, the artists assembled here have some specific item playing a central or supporting role in these artwork’s development and impression. In materials as disparate as petrified wood, tetragonal crystalline prisms, creased paper, and 24k Gold, these works and the objects within them have much to tell.  Whether pointing toward the projected grandeur and myth of Modernist Form, or reframing our ideas on politics and historicity, or revealing the implications hidden within consumer goods and marketing, each work has a pivotal part to play in a myriad of aesthetic plotlines including those of the committed artist, the intrepid viewer, and the larger, unfolding narrative of art itself.

Vincent Como’s art practice is, in the artist’s own words, centered on Black as both Subject and Material. He engages various disciplines including drawing, cast sculpture, painting and installation. For The Heroic Object, Como offers work, suspended at various positions within a larger, construction narrative so that a painting, un-stretched and “non-presentation ready” is nonetheless shown in its current “compromised” (folded, stacked, rolled) state. Black sheets of paper, folded, creased and unfolded, are presented simply, bearing the scars of their own history. Together these works pull at the edges between drawing, sculpture, and painting and confront the larger, pre-conceived expectations on idealized form, perhaps asserting the worth and contribution of the imperfect and in-between.

Vincent Como (b. 1975, Kittanning, PA; lives Brookyn, NY) works in a broad array of media, including installation, painting, printmaking, and artist books. The subject of his artistic practice is the color black, which he describes as “the pure and unrepentant mark of information…both the origin of recording thoughts and the fully saturated realization of all pigment as one”. His work draws on ideas from art history, color theory, philosophy, physics, alchemy, heavy metal, religion, and mythology. Como has exhibited his work throughout the United States, including in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Illinois, Utah, and California, among others. He holds a BFA in Drawing from the Cleveland Institute of Art.

The varied sculptural and video practice of Joshua Johnson incorporates his interests in philosophy, physics, evolution, and consumerism. In The Heroic Object, the works presented by Johnson focus on these themes as they relate to the consumer object and thusly, include a nod to the implied experiential component within contemporary product marketing. The flora and fauna shapes of his Electrolyte works point toward the insertion of the consumer object into our natural world, as do his Catropic works wherein an acrylic video monitor takes on the shape of a slab of granite, or a flinty arrowhead – reflecting the countenance of the viewer back to itself in literal, and figurative ways.  In petrified wood, resin and video, Johnson frames the movements of certain ubiquitous objects, positing them in a larger adaptation-extinction narrative.

Joshua Johnson (b. 1981) is a New York based artist born in Cadillac, Michigan. His diverse practice spans sculpture, installation, video and philosophy, with a particular interest in the body and post-capitalist functionalism . He has presented work at Bureau Inc., Louis B. James, and Martos Gallery, among others. He organized and edited Dark Trajectories, a volume of philosophy with contributions from Reza Negarestani, Levi Bryant, et al., which was published by [NAME] (2013). He was a resident artist at the Fiskar’s AiR program in Finland and received an MFA from Hunter College (both 2011).

Peter Lapsley’s birthplace of Bermuda, inspires and contributes to his sculptural practices and concerns. Weaving themes of post-colonial thought, space exploration, conquest, and economics, Lapsley constructs aesthetically engaging works which mark a dialogue between his material and conceptual choices.  For The Heroic Object, the artist offers works which employ inspirations from the personal (familial origin, heraldic shields) and the intellectual, worked out across material choices including gold metalized mylar, hot rolled steel, human femur bone and 24K Gold. In this way, the artist and his works are positioned within a grand legacy that he both contributes to and pulls from over time.

Bermuda born Peter Lapsley obtained his BA degree from St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, Canada and his MFA degree from Parsons The New School for Design in New York, NY.  His work has been shown at various venues including Five Myles Gallery, Brooklyn NY, Shore Institute of Contemporary Art, Long Branch NJ, The Bermuda National Gallery, Hamilton Bermuda, Envoy Enterprises, New York NY, and Victori Contemporary, Miami FL.  He has exhibited at the Scope Art Fair in both Miami FL and Basel Switzerland and the Fountain Art Fair in New York NY. He lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

Raymond E. Mingst is a multi-disciplinary artist who has archival practices, objects and the readymade among the core of his interests as a maker. Within The Heroic Object, Mingst offers photographs of weathered religious ephemera in various states of decay that were employed as facilitating aids toward effecting a connection to the spiritual and the sublime. A hand-worn Bible is also presented, replete with items of religious and personal significance to the previous owner stuffed between its pages. Though we can never know what these objects once meant to their previous owner, their humble forms flesh out the definitions of the word “heroic” and allude to the life-supporting and life-affirming qualities found amongst the detritus of the day-to-day.

Raymond E. Mingst is an artist, curator, and writer. Documentation, presentation, the stewardship of objects and art as well as ideas of preciousness and veneration are recurring themes in his work. He has shown and collaborated with numerous galleries and institutions including Apex Art, NYC; The Center for Book Arts, NYC; Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, NYC; Proteus Gowanus, Brooklyn; Museum of Matches, Brooklyn; Newport Art Museum, Newport, RI; Jersey City Museum, NJ; Jersey City Public Library, NJ among others. He studied at Pratt Institute and Hunter College. His studio is located in Jersey City, NJ. He is co-founder of Curious Matter, a not-for-profit contemporary art gallery in Jersey City.

Russell Perkins’ art making practice is in some ways object-centered and is concerned with, among other things, the inherent qualities of materials.  For The Heroic Object he presents two selections from his Phantom Limbs Series, a series that holds at its center, an interest in transducers (any device that takes energy from one system and changes its form toward use in another).  Here a hand-crank tool sharpener, crystalline material used in optic and audio electronics, and the artist’s father’s address book are presented. All are objects that facilitate energy transfers from one body to another and also forms that highlight the heroic in the secondary or “assist”, underscoring the epic of the familial.

Russell Perkins (b.1985, Chicago) studied art and philosophy at Wesleyan University and the University of Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.  He has most recently shown at Dickinson Roundell and Garis & Hahn in New York, and the Agora Collective in Berlin. He lives and works in Brooklyn.

The art practice of Kara L. Rooney spans disciplines including sculpture, performance, drawing and painting, and accommodates interests such as communication, lexical systems, the socio-political, and art-history. In The Heroic Object Rooney offers a photo-collage that pairs references to two different paintings, one a more traditional landscape and the other a Frank Stella “Black Painting”, which were, for their time, a sort of manifesto of “painting as object unto itself”. The implied Heroic forms in this work conflate notions of high and low art, while it’s scale presences issues of monumentality, expression and communion.  Also on view, a cast-resin sculpture whose convoluted form and presentation alludes to both formal aesthetics and the preoccupations of the corporeal.

Kara Rooney is a New York-based artist, curator and critic working in performance, sculpture and new media installation. She is the Managing Art Editor for The Brooklyn Rail, and faculty member at School of Visual Arts where she teaches art history and aesthetics. Her visual work has been exhibited in numerous galleries and museums including the Queens College Art Center, NY; A.I.R. Gallery, NY; Shoshana Wayne Gallery, CA; Gallery Aferro, NJ; the Chelsea Art Museum, NY; the International Women’s Museum, CA; the Jersey City Museum, NJ; the Montclair Art Museum, NJ; and the Pera Museum, Istanbul. Her critical writings have been published in Art in America, The Brooklyn Rail, Hyperallergic and Performa Live as well as in conjunction with the collaborative writing group, Open Dialogues. Kara earned her M.F.A in Art Criticism and Writing from the School of Visual Arts in 2009.

Magdalen Wong offers work for The Heroic Object from her diverse, multi-disciplinary practice that subverts the aim of contemporary product marketing by highlighting and foregrounding the incidentals and backgrounds of advertising, re-configuring the consumer-object narrative to suit and support her own creative ends.  Wong often finds secondary, yet equally engaging ironic narrative threads within the utilitarian goods that surround us, highlighting the underlying tensions between economics, impulse and aspiration. In “Happily Ever After” (a video created in Greece 2008, around the time of the Global Recession) the Greek version of the proto-typical ending sentence of fairy tales is typed into an ATM machine, with the inevitable “error” message, suggesting the costs and the folly of living fantasy into reality.

Magdalen Wong received her BFA at Maryland Institute College of Art in 2003, and her MFA with a Trustee Merit Scholarship at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2005. Her current work stems from careful observation of the mundane, often working with things that are easily accessible, such as generic imageries or found objects. By concealing and accentuating specific details in the objects and imageries, she hopes to generate an alternate narrative, revealing the mystery in the ordinary and the poetics of the everyday. Wong had received the Freeman Foundation Asian Artists’ Fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center Residency in 2010, and the Asia Pacific Artist Fellowship from the National Museum of Contemporary Art, South Korea, with a residency at the Goyang Art Studio in Seoul in 2011. She had exhibited at Para/site Art Space, Hong Kong; Osage, Hong Kong; Urban Institute of Contemporary Art, Grand Rapids; Gallery 400, Chicago; Outlet Gallery, Brooklyn; and Videorover 7, NURTUREart, Brooklyn.

Frank Zadlo is an artist whose span of practice includes both sculptural and video disciplines.  In The Heroic Object Zadlo presents two video works from his This on This Series. In both works, sculptural and painting treasures from the Egyptian, Greco-Roman, and Renaissance period are juxtaposed with more contemporary imagery; stills from spaghetti westerns, a box of frosted flakes, an internet viral meme, a photo of a sports star. Embodying humor and contemplation, these works point to, among other things, the complementary or simpatico running narratives in seemingly disparate visual sources, separated only by the vicissitudes of time.

Frank Zadlo is a Brooklyn-based artist who received his MFA in Fine Arts from Parsons in 2008. His work has been exhibited in the United States and Europe, most recently in the group shows "Blastomere" at Young Projects Gallery (Los Angeles, CA); "Best Data Recovery Practices" at Torrance Shipman Gallery (Brooklyn, NY); and “Videorover 5” at NURTUREart (Brooklyn, NY).

Gallery Info:

Parallel Art Space is an artist run exhibition space committed solely to exhibiting exceptional visual art. Positioned on the border of two of New York City’s most densely artist-inhabited and culturally rich neighborhoods (Bushwick, Brooklyn and Ridgewood, Queens) we endeavor to provide an exhibition platform based upon excellence, contribution and connectivity; serving the parallel interests of artists, community and culture alike.

17-17 Troutman Street - # 220 - Ridgewood NY 11385  • Open on Weekends 1 - 6pm, and by appointment • parallelartspace[at]