Jeff Bailey Gallery is pleased to present Chris Gentile, Let It Down, an exhibition of new photographs.
Gentile’s photographs embrace spectacle, ritual and social interaction. The images depict Gentile’s sculptures and environments, made for the sole purpose of being photographed. In his recent work, the human figure is a new component, adding layers of psychological meaning.
The centerpiece of the exhibition, Limerence Network, is approximately two hundred framed portraits of the artist’s friends and family. Gentile’s fascination with cyber social networking has resulted in upending the traditional frontal portrait: each 10 x 8 photograph depicts the back of the sitter’s head, facing a gold background. Rich in color and individual detail, the portraits are grouped on a large table facing in one direction, reminiscent of an expanding crowd. The taking of the portraits is an ongoing project, but the majority of these were shot one night at a party in the artist’s studio. For Gentile, the event was a way to facilitate an overlap between art production and social interaction.
A grouping of six photographs, each titled Eminent Digressions, depicts the detritus of one of Gentile’s studio parties. Gentile painted all of the surfaces of his studio light blue and emptied it of any personal effects. Shelving and other fixtures were added for those in attendance to discard their empty beer bottles. The bottles deft organization, in an otherwise barren studio, belies the haphazard ways in which they were left behind.
On / Shit Out of Luck features a large sculpture in the shape of a hand making a peace sign. Made of wood and melted candles, it is situated in an antiseptic, light blue space. Evoking an oversized candelabra or strange prayer altar, it looks prone to collapse.
A keen attention to detail permeates each work, and the media of each sculpture or environment is apparent: wax and wood, pinholes and plaster, paper and glass, rubber. For Gentile, repeated use of the same medium, in the same shape, becomes a kind of personal ritual. It is their combination, and implied iconography that allows for broader meanings.
This is Chris Gentile’s third solo exhibition with the gallery. His has had solo exhibitions at the Richard E. Peeler Art Center, Greencastle, Indiana; Gregory Lind Gallery, San Francisco and Second Street Gallery, Charlottesville, Virginia. His work has been featured in numerous group exhibitions including Swell, at Metro Pictures, New York and Blind Spot Lab and Exhibition at Wild Project, New York. Gentile received an MFA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.