Featuring Rose Nestler & Robin Stein
Curated by Zeina Assaf
Opening Reception: Saturday, November 10, 4-6:30 pm
Exhibition Dates: November 10 – December 9, 2012
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Sunday, 12-6pm
Focusing on the landscape of the American West, Lithic Habitats explore the connections between natural architectural forms and man-made structures. Humans have long elevated rock formations to iconic and sacred destinations meant for pilgrimage and exploration, as well symbols of national and state identity. This inspiring landscape is often contrasted with weathered man-made buildings throughout these vast states. Using ideas of awe and discovery of the western landscape, the works dialog about the reverence, exploration, and refuge in the land.
Rose Nestler’s installation emulates the hue surface similarities between lavishly upholstered objects and smooth undulating rock forms. She has re-interpreted these sublime spaces on an intimate scale, and through her choice of materials, comments on the idea of the feminine and mysterious in nature. Constructed with hand-upholstered cushions in luxurious fabrics, referencing 19th century aesthetic style and craftsmanship of decorative objects the installation fills the gallery space forcing viewers to explore and touch their crowded expanses and cavernous corners, creating a small maze not unlike the Essex Street market itself. This uncharted landscape inside the gallery would be in contrast to the well-known Lower East Side and within the sanctity of the installation, participants experience an immersive, tactile and momentarily respite from the outside urban environment.
In contrast to Nestler’s installation are Robin Stein’s photographs of stark dwellings dotting the desert landscape, whose residents are utilizing the land as a habitat, albeit its hostile and unyielding characteristics. His series examine the idea of frontier and changing landscapes, interrupted by man. Taken predominantly in largely isolated towns in the West, these images examine a different kind of exploration and haven within the land itself.
Nestler and Stein’s collaborative audio work is a collection of environmental sounds sourced from western rural areas as well as around the installation site in the Lower East Side.