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Reception: Saturday, July 9 5-8pm

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DOCUMENT is pleased to present What Birds Can See, a group exhibition of works by James Collins, Rachel de Joode and Alwin Lay. The exhibition will open on July 9th with a reception from 5pm to 8pm, and will continue through August 27th.

In her 1956 essay “What Birds Can See,” French author Nathalie Sarraute defines the features of what would later be called the “nouveau roman,” a radically new approach to fiction writing. Sarraute’s main concern is a search for “the unknown, the invisible,” which assumes that plots and characters are composed of microscopic and parceled truths. The three artists in this exhibition share a desire to confound the viewer while at the same time investigating processes and searching for what lies beneath surfaces—the beyond of what we can see. They do so by intertwining the roles of analog and digital media in a manner that Charlotte Cotton, in a recent essay, has called “camouflage”: “Photographer, painter, sculptor, all three of these terms are highly abstracted and unfixed; they are forms of camouflage that provide artists with temporary positions and relationships within the history of art, but pointedly staged in the context of the present.”

James Collins (born 1972, lives in Detroit, MI) uses acrylic and oil paint to produce simulacra of distorted photocopies, scanned images and other types of reproductions, creating an illusion of dimensionality in highly graphic paintings. When it first appeared, photography troubled painting’s monopoly on the accurate transcription of reality. Collins reverses this achievement by copying the reproduced image, executing “mechanical reproduction” with a skilled hand and a precise chemistry of materials. On the surfaces of the canvases shown in this exhibition, the artist applied Tyvec, a house wrap material that is currently ubiquitous in his Detroit context.

Rachel de Joode (born 1979 in The Netherlands, lives in Berlin) works in rhizomatic flows between three-dimensional matter, its two-dimensional representation, and its ambiguous resemblance to human bodies. In this exhibition, de Joode presents an ensemble of digital photographs, abstract sculptures made of cut PVC board, and a ceramic sculpture that serves as a hook for another printed PVC sculpture. De Joode documents processes that may go into the finished object, experimenting fluidly across matter, media and their relationship to the artist’s hand.

Alwin Lay (born 1984 in Romania, lives in Cologne) examines the life of objects seemingly free of human presence. His contribution for this show is a ten-minute video of an invisible cube, placed on a pedestal of identical scale, gradually filling with blue dish soap. A digital photograph, shown alongside the video, shows us a paint roll fixed with a push pin, its handle suspended in the air. These works’ obsessive rationality makes them all the more absurd, in keeping with the artist’s characteristically dry humor, while touching on questions of perception and knowledge. It is ultimately autonomy itself—figured as images of illusory “objecthood”—that appears as a trompe l’oeil in his work.

Erin Jane Nelson

Erin Jane Nelson is an artist living in Atlanta, Georgia. She studied at The Cooper Union School of Art in New York and The Malmö Art Academy in Sweden. Recently, her work has been shown at Hester (NYC), Ellis King (Dublin), Favorite Goods (Los Angeles), Interstate Gallery (Brooklyn), Peregrine Program (Chicago), and Important Projects (Oakland). Her published projects include Lollie, Penny, Poems (Publication Studio Oakland, 2014), and Broon (Gottlund Verlag, 2012).

Catscanned Pussyfly, Archival pigment print, 20 x 16 in, Edition of 10, 2015

Stop Pollution, Eat Garbage, Inkjet on cotton, plastic, embroidered patch, grommets, Sudafed, cotton batting, and silk ribbon, 50 x 29 in, 2015

Monk Behind Bars, Inkjet on cotton, cotton, embroidered patches, wool batting, silk ribbon, garden lining fabric, grommets, 70 x 60 in, 2015

Neighbors, Dye sublimation print on aluminum, wool flocking, embroidered patch cobalt stand-offs, 10 x 8 in, 2015

Oakland Tech High, Dye sublimation print on aluminum, wool flocking, embroidered patches, 10 x 8 in, 2015

Untitled (Fabric Store Window), Dye sublimation print on aluminum, wool flocking, cobalt stand-offs, 10 x 8 in, 2015

555 Mission Smoker, Dye sublimation print on aluminum, wool flocking, embroidered patches, cobalt standoffs, 20 x 16 in, 2015

6th Street Potter’s Studio, Dye sublimation print on aluminum, wool flocking, cobalt stand-offs, embroidered patches, 20 x 16 in, 2015

40th and Telegraph, Dye sublimation print on aluminum, wool flocking, cobalt stand-offs, 14 x 11 in, 2015

Snow Park Meditator, Dye sublimation print on aluminum, wool flocking, cobalt stand-offs, 20 x 16 in, 2015

Poto ElleBelle, Silver Gelatin Print in Artist Frame, 20 x 16 in, 2014

Poto Weedcurtain, Silver Gelatin Print in Artist Frame, 20 x 16 in, 2014

Poto Lovevol, Silver Gelatin Print in Artist Frame, 20 x 16 in, 2014

Poto John at the Beach, Silver Gelatin Print in Artist Frame, 20 x 16 in, 2014

Poto Glosh, Silver Gelatin Print in Artist Frame, 20 x 16 in, 2014

Erin Jane Nelson will participate to the Atlanta Biennal, set to open on August 27, 2016

Read the press release here.

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SLCH2-About

845 w Washington
3rd Floor
Chicago, IL 60607
262-719-3500

Owner
Aron Gent
aron@documentspace.com
Director
Sibylle Friche
sibylle@documentspace.com
General Inquiries
info@documentspace.com

Gallery viewing hours:
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday 11-6pm

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DOCUMENT is a commercial gallery located in Chicago that specializes in contemporary photography, film and media based art. The gallery has organized more than 30 solo exhibitions since its opening in 2011 and actively promotes the work of emerging national and international artists. Operating conjointly as a professional printmaking studio, DOCUMENT facilitates the production of works by artists from Chicago and the US. At this time we do not accept unsolicited submissions.