Roxy Paine describes his work as a trajectory of five oscillating wavelengths: Art Making Machines, Replicants, Fungal Fields, Specimen Cases and Dendroids. In 1990, Paine began showing his work in Williamsburg, Brooklyn where he cofounded the artist collective Brand Name Damages. In the early '90s, he quickly established a unique vision with works such as Where I’m at, Dinner of the Dictators and Placard Flinger. The first of his machines, Viscous Pult in 1990, consisted of three mechanically, rotating paint brushes each flinging ketchup, white paint and motor oil onto the gallery’s storefront glass. This piece significantly established Paine’s early interest in the collisions between industry and nature, control and chaos.
His later art-making machines, such as the Paint Dipper, PMU (Painting Manufacture Unit) and the Erosion Machine juxtapose two conflicting impulses: the constraints imposed by data and code systems against the randomness of nature and chance. Paine’s 'factories' resemble utilitarian models of production, but their results become questionable creations full of inefficiencies and nonidentical works. 'The blissed-out or bored machine, who can tell, makes anywhere from between 80 and 200 passes - depending on the size of the canvas and thickness of the paint surface desired. Time seems to stand still,' writes Tan Lin. 'Paine makes machines addicted to making paintings, to the labor of painting. He also makes hallucinatory, exquisitely unperturbed and minutely controlled replicas of mushrooms and poppies out of polymer.' Paine’s replicas - from a garden choked by weeds to a poppy flower oozing of harvest - transcribe the ordinary object into the psychoactive event. The banal and the hallucinatory are conceptually intertwined and often indecipherable components in Paine’s work.
The simultaneity of industry and nature is further seen in Paine’s stainless steel Dendroids. The Dendroids, defined as anything branching or dendritic in structure, began as an early tree-like form in Bluff, exhibited in Central Park’s Whitney Biennial 2002, and evolved into the groundbreaking, neural and synaptic systems of Maelstrom, exhibited on the rooftop of the Metropolitan Museum of Art 2009. Paine’s interest in stainless steel derives from its institutional use in pharmaceutical, food, gas and oil pipeline industries. The Dendroids began as a study of growth patterns in nature and developed into Paine’s recent interest in structures of the human brain and nervous system. This transformation can be seen in such works as One Hundred Foot Line, 2010, Neuron, 2010 and Ferment, 2011.
Roxy Paine is the recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship. He has permanently sited works at the Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle, WA, National Gallery of Art, DC, Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Missouri, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas and the Wanas Foundation, Sweden.
Roxy Paine is represented by Kavi Gupta Chicago | Berlin. Recent solo exhibitions include Denuded Lens at Marianne Boesky, New York, NY and Appartus at Kavi Gupta Chicago | Elizabeth Street, Chicago, IL. Recent group shows include Spaced Out: Migration to the Interior, curated by Phong Bui, Red Bull Studios, New York, NY; Bloodflames Revisited, curated by Phong Bui, Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York, NY; The Hidden Passengers, curated by Avi Lubin, Apexart, New York, NY and Out of Hand: Materializing the Post-Digital at the Museum of Art and Design, New York, NY. Upcoming solo exhibitions include a 2015 show titled Articulated Confusion: The Drawings of Roxy Paine at the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. Paine’s work has been featured in such publications as Artforum International Magazine, the New York Times, the New Yorker, ArtReview, Art in America, the Wall Street Journal, and the Huffington Post.