March 2 – April 20, 2014 Two venues: P! (334 Broome St) and Simone Subal Gallery (131 Bowery) Opening reception: Sunday, March 2, 6–8pm SPECIAL EVENTS: MARCH 15, 4PM; APRIL 3, 7PM; APRIL 19, 4PM [slideshow]
P! and Simone Subal Gallery are pleased to present a two-venue solo exhibition by Brian O’Doherty (also known as Patrick Ireland). Featuring a range of historical and contemporary work—from early text pieces, semantic sculptures, figurative and conceptual portraits, a new “rope drawing” installation, chess works, and a site-specific, live-streamed performance piece—the exhibition probes the dualisms, linguistic games, and relational approaches that have characterized O’Doherty’s work since the late 1950s. Connecting the … explores the tension between the visceral, the sensual, and the bodily in relation to their ongoing transformation into abstract form.
O’Doherty’s Structural Plays, composed between 1967 and 1970, comprise the conceptual core of the show. These serial works combine inflected language, mathematical notation, and choreographed movement upon a uniform playing grid; a selection of them will be performed in both spaces. Other pieces in the exhibition, such as Chess Board (1966) and Scenario for Black: A Structural Film (1967) extend the metaphor of the grid as a space of lived activity. A contrasting group of sculptural works raise questions of portraiture and representation. The sentinel-like Narcissus (1966), exhibited only once since its first presentation in 1966, functions here as a kinetic, illusionistic game: a look inside its twofaced aperture reveals doubled sculptural busts that slowly meld into each other. One Here Now (1970), an incised wall-mounted, mirrored Ogham sculpture that employs archaic Celtic script, becomes both an experiential and encoded instantiation of self-representation. A new “rope drawing,” the most recent in an ongoing body of work begun in the 1970s, connects the two spaces through a perceptual corridor. Complemented by a selection of early drawings and works-on-paper, the exhibition probes O’Doherty’s roots in empirical observation.
The juxtaposition of pieces in the two galleries functions as a system of mutual echoes, mirroring ideas, methods, and approaches in an open-ended manner. The exhibition grounds O’Doherty’s conceptual and spatial experiments in an ongoing search for new mode of representation within the unstable and ever-moving position of the viewer.
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Brian O’Doherty (b. 1928, Ireland) has led a remarkable and multifaceted career. After working and researching as a medical doctor, he relocated to the USA, where he hosted two television shows on art and culture. O’Doherty served as art critic for the New York Times and as editor of Art in America magazine. He edited and designed the groundbreaking “conceptual issue” of the multimedia magazine-in-a-box Aspen, as well as authored the seminal essay series Inside the White Cube. While part-time director of the NEA’s visual arts and media program, he helped make Soho a magnet for artists, coined the term “alternative space,” and championed early video art. From 1972 to 2008, he worked as an artist under the pseudonym Patrick Ireland. He has mounted over forty solo exhibitions, and was the subject of several retrospectives, most recently in 2007 at NYU’s Grey Art Gallery. O’Doherty is the author of several novels, including The Deposition of Father McGreevy (2000), which was nominated for the Booker Prize. His most recent novel, The Crossdresser’s Secret, was published by Sternberg Press in February 2014.