Thomas Erben Gallery is pleased to present Spirited Densities, a group exhibition exploring density and layeredness through a perspective of compression (as opposed to expansion). As images and information in our media-infused lives have increased in speed and volume, an expanding experience of simultaneity has seemed to follow, with events, news, and history co-existing in the crowded moment. The works of Ryan McLaughlin, Zach Nader, Ferdinand Penker, and Emma Webster reflect this compressed quality of information, whether through reference, layering, and exposure, as in Nader’s, McLaughlin’s, and Webster’s work in painting and video or through the almost reference-less, self-reflexive, and precise works on paper of Penker, his marks altogether suggestive of much time spent at work. Structured and suffused as they may be, there is a balance, a sense of entrance, and a quality of pleasure to all of these works; they project their density as uniquely spirited.
Ryan McLaughlin (b. 1980, Worcester, MA) received his BFA from Rhode Island School of Design in Providence. His work is currently on view in a solo show, Säntis Bindle, at Atlanta Contemporary, Georgia. Recent solo exhibitions include Impreza Earth, David Petersen Gallery, Minneapolis, MN; TraffiQ, Laura Bartlett Gallery, London; Lacus PM, Kölnischer Kunstverein; Raisins, Laurel Gitlen, New York; and Barbara (I and II) at Lüttgenmeijer, Berlin. McLaughlin’s work has been exhibited in group exhibitions at Metro Pictures, Sikkema Jenkins, both New York; Tanya Leighton, Berlin; and Off Vendome, Düsseldorf.
Zach Nader (b. 1984. Dallas, TX) is an artist excavating new possibilities in content and aesthetics for existing photographic imagery through the use and misuse of contemporary image editing software. His reworkings of print ads, commercials and other disposable imagery has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including during a month-long nightly video installation on 23 advertisement billboards as part of Time Square Arts’ Midnight Moment. His work has also been shown at Centre Pompidou, Paris; Haus der elektronischen Künste, Basel; Eyebeam, New York; and Interstate Projects, Brooklyn, among many others. Recent solo exhibits include stage blind at Microscope Gallery and fly-back at the Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts, Birmingham, AL, and NADA New York 2018. Nader was born in Dallas, Texas and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. He is represented by Microscope Gallery in Brooklyn, New York.
Ferdinand Penker (b. 1950 in Klagenfurt; d. 2014 in Farrach, both Austria) studied medicine and art history at the University of Graz from 1968 to 1972. In 1971, he got to know Josef Albers and then taught at the University of California, Davis from 1977 to 1987. In 1986, he travelled to Japan and later lived and worked in Tokyo in 2008. From the 1970s onwards, Penker developed an oeuvre influenced by Constructivist and Concrete art, American Colour Field painting, and Minimal art. Throughout his career, he explored and continued to develop the means, possibilities, and conditions of painting. Penker’s work is characterised by an analytic quality and consistency that has earned him a singular position within Austrian painting. Selected solo exhibitions: Schloss Wolfsberg (2016); Museum der Wahrnehmung, Graz (2014); Museum Moderner Kunst Kärnten, Klagenfurt (2010; all Austria); Sclater Street Platform, London (2010 and 2000); Machiya Bunka Center, Tokyo (2008); Casa Amarilla, San Jose, Costa Rica (2006); Kärntner Landesgalerie, Klagenfurt (1999); Forum Stadtpark, Graz (1995); Neue Galerie am Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz (1994; all Austria); KALA Institute, Berkeley, California (1984); Wiener Secession, Vienna (1981).
Emma Webster (b. 1989) earned her M.F.A in painting from Yale University in 2018 and her B.A. in Art Practice from Stanford in 2011 (receiving the highest departmental honour, the Raina Giese Award in Creative Painting). She has been exhibited in group and solo shows around the country and internationally, including Wild Seed at Yale School of Art, New Haven, CT (2018); Wild Like Wanting at Classic Cars West, Oakland, CA (2015); and Bullshit for Saps at Gone Fishing, Leipzig Germany (2016). Webster’s awards and distinctions include the Royal Drawing School at Dumfries House and a NEA-funded residency at Ox-Bow.
Press release courtesy Thomas Erben Gallery.