Jordan Kantor
Churner & Churner, New York
September 8 - October 15, 2011

Press release:

Churner and Churner is pleased to announce an exhibition of works by San Francisco-based artist Jordan Kantor. It is his first solo exhibition in New York in five years.

For the exhibition, Kantor has produced Les Meules, a 3 minute and 18 second 16mm film that takes Claude Monet’s haystack paintings as its impetus and visual content. Comprised of over 1,400 photographs of the Impressionist’s paintings and projected at the same size as the original canvases, Les Meules presents an image of the temporal changes in season and time of day brought up to mechanical speed; color changes now arrive through camera settings and monitor calibrations rather than the location of the sun and subjective interpretation of the artist. Digital images of the paintings culled on-line have been turned into single frames in the film, and thereby returned to physicality and to the photographic process that was a principal concern of Monet and his contemporaries.

This transition–from painting to photograph to film-still–is then further mediated, as Kantor produces new paintings from digitally manipulated photographs. The new paintings maintain the 3:4 aspect ratio of 16mm film, and evoke Les Meules in their composition, scale, and vibrant color palette, only in the end to frustrate their references to the natural world. For as in his previous Lens Flare series, the paintings are freeze-framed instants, visible only via a technological apparatus: the lens flare as an effect caused by the refraction of light through a camera’s lens, and the manipulations of colors as a Photoshop tool. Like many of Kantor’s previous paintings–including, most explicitly, those based on X-rays of Edouard Manet’s Bar at the Folies-Bergère–these new works are concerned with the formal conventions of European painting and the technological mediation and appropriation of images.

As one critic has written, Kantor’s paintings “convert one medium’s incidental marks into another’s intentional gestures,” producing a technical and conceptual register of the original image. When in 1891 Monet exhibited fifteen paintings of haystacks, friend and critic Camille Pissarro wrote that the paintings “breathed contentedly”; the interchangeable and repetitious nature of the paintings, their sameness in difference, is given a faster breath in Kantor’s artwork, fueled by the reciprocal interaction between film and painting, digital and analog, and the mechanical and the handmade.

Please note: On September 7, a special screening of Kantor’s Basel Lens Flare 16mm film will be held at the 7pm, with an introduction by the artist.

Exhibition Link