If red is here, can grey be far behind

COOPER COLE is pleased to present If red is here, can grey be far behind, a two person exhibition by Brooklyn-based artist Graham Collins and Toronto-based artist Jeremy Jansen.

In the October 1972 issue of Domus, Germano Celant (curator, art historian, critico militante and inventor of the term “arte povera”) wrote of Greek artist Jannis Kounellis’s novel approach to materials. Kounellis rejected the precious media that had for centuries been the officially sanctioned means by which to create “fine art”—bronze, marble, oil paint—and chose instead to work with humble, everyday objects that were readily available to him: iron, earth, rags, stones, twigs, fire. With this reprove, Celant said that the artist had moved from a sentimental and sterile “written language” of art to a raw and tangible physical language, “to the concrete encounter, from the ‘said’ to the ‘unsaid.'” The language of Kounellis’s art was simple; it was “the slang of natural, organic matter.” This was art that felt immediately knowable, substantial. Objects that seemed innately familiar assumed the form of the sublime by virtue of their configuration—like the sun at dawn, crimson and bleeding through gauzy clouds in its rebellion against nightfall.

It’s this same venerable slang that Jeremy Jansen and Graham Collins utilize in their practices, albeit updated to reflect contemporary developments in art. Both artists champion materiality and physicality above all, and eschew the tendency to prescribe meaning through the use of symbols or representation. Their works speak for themselves. The materials Jansen and Collins work with belong in the vocabulary of blue-collar discourse; they are unpretentious, kind of crass, and unorthodox when considered in a gallery setting—often, they have their origins in auto shops and metal scrap yards. Though they have backgrounds and formal training in photography and painting, respectively, Jansen and Collins produce objects that extend beyond conventional definitions of these categories into territory that is undeniably sculptural, veering even into installation. Both artists strategically punctuate the gallery space with works that act as partitions; their placement is assertive and powerfully emotive, functioning like profanity in a sentence to enhance emphasis or create rhythm. Together, Jansen’s and Collins’s works comprise a deliberate affront to accepted modes of propriety, serving to invigorate prosaic methods of production.

– Rosie Prata

Graham Collins (b. 1980, Washington, USA), received his BFA from The Corcoran School of Art and an MFA from Bard College. Collins’ artwork routinely incorporates a wide range of disciplines, including painting, sculpture, ceramics, woodworking, and architectural intervention. Recent exhibitions include solo and group shows at venues such as Jonathan Viner, London, UK; Luce Gallery, Torino, Italy; The Journal, New York, USA; Halsey McKay, East Hampton, USA; The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, USA; amongst others. Collins currently lives and works in Brooklyn, USA.

Jeremy Jansen (b. 1979, Calgary, Canada) works primarily in sculpture and photography. Recent and forthcoming solo and group exhibitions include V1 Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark; Greenpoint Terminal Gallery, New York, USA; The Power Plant, COOPER COLE, and Tomorrow, Toronto, Canada; Plug In ICA, Winnipeg, Canada; La Miroiterie, Paris, France. Jansen currently lives and works in Toronto, Canada.

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