Undone Yin Yang

An installation by Jerry Blackman
Curated by Brigitte Mulholland

On View: April 19 – May 21, 2017
Gallery Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 12-6p
Location: Cuchifritos Gallery, 120 Essex Street NY, NY 1002 (inside Essex Street Market)

Cuchifritos Gallery is pleased to present Undone Yin Yang, an installation of new work by Jerry Blackman curated by Brigitte Mulholland. Featuring a suite of drawings and a series of wall and freestanding sculptures, the exhibition continues Blackman’s exploration of archetypal themes and binaries. The installation functions simultaneously as both a singular work, and an aggregate of discrete objects.

Blackman’s ongoing Disk series, begun in 2014, involves a complex and labor-intensive technique of extruding partially set plaster through rigid stencils that are designed to break. His material and process-oriented practice yields sculptures that become metaphors for the metaphysical themes organizing our spiritual universe. That brief moment of time where the plaster is in an unstable state—neither solid nor liquid—takes on symbolism for the cosmic balance of chaos and order, embodying a kind of non-dualistic state of transcendence.

A series of circular floor sculptures are extensions of these wall works, arranged to suggest a latent energy: elements waiting to be activated. As Blackman uses and reuses the mold to cast them, traces of detritus from previous castings become integral, unforeseen moments in new works; the various logos and material markings that appear in the sculptures are subtle artifacts of their origins. And yet, for the all of the apparent emphasis on an objective geometry, the rigor and physicality of Blackman’s sculptures and process also make them deeply personal and self-reflective.

His new series of black and white graphite drawings are diptychs, each displaying circuits of contradicting terminals that are completed with the partner drawing. Further resolution of those diametric forces manifests in the gray color that covers the gallery. Blackman’s formal pairing of opposites—black and white, horizontal and vertical—are referencing the sculptures too, nodding to the larger process of mixing water and plaster dust (at a 50/50 ratio) to make them.

Like a closed circuit cosmogram that articulates its own materiality, everything in the exhibition is a holistic reference to itself and to the other works. Inspired by elements of Buddhism and Vipassana meditation, the binaries Blackman conjures —man and woman, front and back, internal and external, flat and round (to name a few)— manifest across multiple works and channels. The installation becomes a complex system of circuits that are superimposed on one another, referencing, mirroring, and balancing their own tensions, yet never quite resolving them either, thus remaining in a perpetual state of energetic incompletion.

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Jerry Blackman’s work has been exhibited at venues around New York including Toomer Labzda, Hometown, 247365, Dam Stuhltrager, 109 Gallery, Good Work Gallery, Storefront Ten Eyck, and Gavin Brown’s Enterprise. He earned his BFA from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in 2006, and his MFA in Sculpture from the Yale University School of Art in 2014. He was an artist in residence at Yaddo in 2016. Blackman has also curated exhibitions at 326 Gallery in New York City and Good Work Gallery in Brooklyn. He lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

Brigitte Mulholland lives in New York City and works at Jane Lombard Gallery in Chelsea, focusing on sales and art fairs. She was previously the director of a leading Modern Art gallery on the Upper East Side, and began her career in the Department of Photographs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Previous curatorial projects include Struck Off Center at Lesley Heller Workspace in 2017 and This Strange Game, a pop-up exhibition in Chelsea’s Landmark Arts Building in 2016. Mulholland holds a BA in Art History from Manhattanville College and an MA in Art History from Hunter College; her thesis was on spirituality in the work of Jackson Pollock.

Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space is a program of Artists Alliance Inc., a 501c3 not for profit organization located on the Lower East Side of New York City within the Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural and Educational Center. Cuchifritos is supported in part by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. This program is made possible by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts. We thank the New York City Economic Development Corporation and individual supporters of Artists Alliance Inc for their continued support. Special thanks go to our team of dedicated volunteers and interns, without whom this program would not be possible. For more information, visit artistsallianceinc.org.