Flatbed Bends

COOPER COLE is pleased to present Flatbed Bends, a two person exhibition pairing a series of sculptures by David Kennedy Cutler with paintings by Ryan Wallace. These Brooklyn-based artists have been engaged in a dialog about their work for several years. Both are particularly concerned with the rapid and far-reaching effects of digital innovation and how their work might reflect their unique circumstance: old enough to have experienced a predominately analog world, yet young enough to have fully immersed in the digital.

The artists have selected an excerpt from a 1972 essay by Leo Steinberg, which describes the development of the ‘flatbed picture plane’ as a transitional moment in art history, one that interpreted the changing nature of perception in the modern world. Steinberg suggested that the reorientation of vantage within mid 20th century art making “let the world in again.”

Wallace and Kennedy Cutler work in distinct mediums (painting and sculpture, respectively) yet utilize borrowed strategies: collage, relief, readymades, print and photography. Their abstract forms are shrouded under compressed layers, where a great deal of activity happens in shallow space. Seemingly bound together on the surface by rudimentary mends both artists’ works are composed from their immediate environment. Wallace employes residue of previous works and the materials that went in to their physical construction. Never gleaning from beyond studio – vinyl screens, run off from the printing press, ripped and removed canvas, paper, tapes, glass tinting film, are applied along with oil, enamel, cold wax, and pigments to his surfaces. Kennedy Cutler draws from digitally scanned compositions of his domestic and studio life. Vegetables, bread, packing materials, clothes, his apartment and studio floors, his, his wife’s and cats’ bodies are scanned and then digitally printed onto sheets of aluminum. Using his body and rudimentary hand tools, these panels are bent, twisted and torn.

Despite recalling Steinberg’s conception of a flatbed plane, Wallace and Kennedy Cutler’s works do not “let the world in again” in the manner of Rauschenberg and his contemporaries. They are narrowly introverted and hyper-compressed, reflective of how contemporary culture spends its time: neck down, navigating screens comprised of layers upon layers of windows, applications, pop-ups, tool bars, cursors and keyboards. While the mediated surface of the paintings and sculptures suggests virtual insularity, the artists’ embrace of visceral contortions in their working methods reasserts the physical. The division between serves as a metaphor to the divided consciousness of the early 21st century.

David Kennedy Cutler (b. 1979, Vermont, USA) has had recent solo and two person exhibitions at Derek Eller Gallery, New York and Halsey Mckay Gallery, East Hampton. His work has been included in exhibitions at Kate Werble Gallery, Socrates Sculpture Park, Dieu Donne Papermill, D’Amelio Terras, New York, Nice & Fit, Berlin; Portugal Arte ’10, Lisbon amongst others. Kennedy Cutler has received residencies from Dieu Donne Papermilll, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop fellowship. Kennedy Cutler lives and works in Brooklyn, USA.

Ryan Wallace (b. 1977, New York, USA) is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, a recent Pollock Krasner Foundation Grant awardee and an Elizabeth Foundation of the Arts’ Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop SIP Fellow. He has exhibited at Marianne Friis Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark; The Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, USA; V1 Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark; Frans Masreel Center, Kasterlee, Belgium among many others. Wallace lives and works between Brooklyn and East Hampton, USA.

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