Emerson Dorsch Gallery is proud to present Patterns of Interference, an exhibition featuring new photographs and video by Felecia Chizuko Carlisle. The exhibition opens on February 6th and is on view through March 27, 2021.
For the series of photographs, Carlisle hired a professional photographer to document objects under bright-colored light. The style is like that used to document an objet d’art or a scientific specimen, close-cropped and divorced from its context. A video, whose sound serves as the exhibition soundtrack, represents material shifts and distortion in graphite dust on the surface of a shaman drum. Again, the frame eliminates context so that scale is ambiguous. The spectacle represented could be geological in scale or it could be dust on a drum.
You can create the story you want about these geometric objects whose creases and planes are disrupted by wrinkles and flecks of matter; these are not ideal Platonic objects.
One story might be
“BB Smith, née Berenice A Barbara K Smith, a precocious child, experimented with making geometric objects in her father’s studio in the mid-1960s. She returned to them years later and found them distorted by age and the pressures of safe-keeping. It seemed right somehow to bring them with her on a scientific expedition to Hawai’i, where she planned to photograph structural formations of the ongoing volcanic eruptions in Kīlauea. Once there, she met Dr. Henri Genet, a scientist who was studying the crystalline molecular structure of lava rock and sound vibrations’ impact on the process of “growing” internal and endlessly varying patterns. The scientist insisted on the veracity of documentation but was frustrated by the residue leftover from the documentation process. Lost now in a reverie induced by the interposition of a hellish landscape and paradise, Smith folded her old papers into forms reminiscent of the molecular structures. She, unlike the scientist, was untroubled by literal veracity. She rubbed layers of graphite over her papers; somehow this seemed the best way to respond to ropey expanses of lava, whose basaltic composition made it dark gray and silvery at times, depending on the light, just like graphite. As Genet drifted off on his own, BB honed in on her new project, finding philosophical and scientific truths in these folded worlds. She left her little sculptures; the lava flows were approaching the town, and she had to flee. These objects recreate her project”.
This of course is fiction.
Pieces of truth, different moments in time, and different stories layer over one another. The process of folding and unfolding leaves scars. Though the fiction may be intriguing, in the mode of an easy-reading novel, the tropes and narrative tendencies enacted here are far less confounding than what comes closer to the truth. Many of Carlisle’s past works and projects express longing, mourning, dislocation, and anxiety alongside the urge to develop and nurture community. In this show, she is brutally concise, giving us a tightly conceived and beautiful critique of the world as she saw it. Remember that at the time of this work’s conception, the administration had decided to pull out of the climate accords, and, the work is marked by the trauma of the pandemic and nation-wide protests. Community building is for another time.
Carlisle’s video, titled Post-Horizon Song, Duet Op.1, was influenced by the work of Dr. Hans Jenny, a Swiss physicist who created hundreds of filmed recordings that demonstrate how sound animates matter and organizes it into patterned structures, and German scientist Ernst Chladni, who was one of the pioneers of experimental acoustics. She filmed particulates’ movement on the surface of a drum. Different materials move at varying speeds in response to vibration. The tightness of the frame around the subject eliminates references for scale, so that the peaks and valleys in the piles of dust could just as easily be on a desolate planet, or on our own before the evolution of plant life or after their destruction. The speed of topological transformation in the miniature becomes horrific when scaled up. And yet, the acid dayglo palette heightens the images’ artifice, holding the terror at bay. The movement of the graphite dust is mesmerizing, even when watching would-be continents disintegrate and form again.
The video casts an acoustic shadow over the show, its sound serving as soundtrack for the photographs, whose style Carlisle relates to Barbara Kasten’s staged images and the scientific photography of Berenice Abbott. To produce her photographs, Carlisle hired a professional photographer to shoot folded paper objects in a straight style typical of documentation. Having planned the compositions precisely, she enlisted the photographer to reproduce the surface with the greatest fidelity. These objects, reminiscent of the flat planes and sharp corners of Minimalist art, fight that designation, for their folds are irregular. Carlisle worried the paper by rubbing graphite over it layer after layer. The paper’s texture becomes pockmarked and grated, far from the industrially smooth surfaces of ABC Art. A vibrant colored hue permeates some of the larger photographs while others are grayscale.
In her notes that accompany the show, Carlisle invokes a shift in pedagogy developed at Bauhaus. In Matter Studies (Materiestudien), both Johannes Itten and Josef Albers tasked students with exploring surface texture with a variety of different materials. In Material Studies (Materialstudien), Albers restricted students to a single material, with the goal to discover its essence.
Carlisle plays with the phonic slippage between the two terms (Materie and Material) with a term of her own,
She deploys the term as a verb to describe the way matter exists and behaves. In her photographs art and time fold and unfold.
Around the same time, her mother was leaving Hawai’i en route to rural Alabama, Bebe Smith and her sisters were making origami sculptures in her father’s studio. The fictional BB Smith would have fled Leilani Estates in 1984, just before the lava flows destroyed the town. The same caldera in Kīlauea erupted again in 2018, when Carlisle returned to Hawai’i, closing a distance wrought over two generations.
Paper objects can be monumental. Their duality in space and time layer geographic and topological shifts. The video also, in its depictions of sound’s impact on matter, emits a thrumming energy into the room. The impact of its vibrations on bodies and the art is, until now, unknown.
The gallery is open Wednesday through Saturday 12 to 5 and by appointment. Visit the website, emersondorsch.com, to reserve a time to visit. In what is her fourth solo exhibition for the gallery, this mid-career artist delivers her most incisive project, a tightly and well-researched set of three concepts with exquisite results.
We would like to thank Francesco Casale, Ariel Bustamante, Pablo Thiermann, Elisabeth Condon, and Marcos Cherlo for their roles, large and small, in helping to produce this show. It would not be as much fun without you.
The Enigma of an Evening in Autumn is an exhibition of new works by Ernesto Gutiérrez Moya currently being presented at Emerson Dorsch. The show’s main work, The Pond, consists of six large canvases that interlock to form one long linear piece. Different bodies of water, both natural and man-made, emerge in peculiar spots throughout the canvases, contributing to an already mystical landscape. It’s unknown exactly where or what this place is, and each canvas, although together they are read as one, has a life of its own. A supernatural purple tree appears at the forefront of one frame, while fountains bubble in the middle of a large pond in another. An impossible sharp shadow is reflected on a massive amorphophallus titanium, an endangered flower known for its phallic features and rare bloom. What’s most striking, perhaps, are the colors Gutiérrez Moya uses to represent certain elements found in nature. Deep reds and magentas replace greens and browns, adding to the ambiguity of the imagined space, and the lack of human presence only emphasizes the sometimes-unidentifiable architectural structures that feel so real in the artist’s fantastic world.
Gutiérrez Moya was born in Havana, Cuba and studied painting at the San Alejandro National Academy of Fine Arts where he later taught technique and representation. His formal education and the influence of years spent drawing are not obvious amid his fantastic scenery at first glance. It is in the articulation of constructed lines and abstract architectural configurations that a connection to his past work exists. These structures sit still while prominent brush strokes create movement in the ever-present water, and artists such as Claude Monet and Neo Rauch come to mind. Gutiérrez Moya lists these and other artists—Giorgio de Chirico, David Hockney, Hernan Bas, Matthias Weischer, Vincent Van Gogh, Henri Rousseau, and author Dr. Seuss—as impacting how he approaches his technique today.
Starting without a sketch for the blank canvas, he instead builds the image slowly, layering on color by color through consistent strokes. A base coat is first applied with a spatula, and shapes soon begin to take form. Although he spent some time with acrylic paints when he moved to Miami five years ago, his return to oils has allowed for a further exploration in the development of his style, translating brush stokes into an aesthetic narrative. Found among the overgrown gardens and mystical swamps is Gutiérrez Moya’s search for a connection through the composition of lines, and in the process of constructing, deconstructing, and reconstructing spaces and color, a parallel world is born.
During recent travels through Florida, Gutiérrez Moya discovered copious amounts of fountains and artificial ponds and photographed them for this series of work. In many instances, he paints these strange, imposed bodies of water as a way to depict reality in his built environments. While some elements are based off of the real, plants are often replicated from images found in art and science books, other elements are made up representations of existing forms. In a similar way that a house or a city is constructed piece by piece, he constructs enigmatic jungles and forests in his paintings. Lush vegetation and rich colors paired with the apparent deluge spilling throughout abandoned scenes imply a failed utopia. These fantastic landscapes whose protagonists are purposefully missing evoke a sense of escapism and incite the viewer to create their own story. The colors don’t always necessarily match, and at times they are nonsensical, but this only adds to the transcendent quality of the work.
Gutiérrez Moya says, “water helps you see,” meaning that water lends itself well to seeing different perspectives. Through its reflection, images are constantly changing because the movement in water is infinite. The same can be said of Gutiérrez Moya’s trajectory. There are traces of his previous work in this show—the representation of light through sharp angles, the line composition found in his drawings—but the perspective has changed. His landscapes have evolved, allowing colors to open up a new space from which to react and for architectural elements to pose questions that lead to a better understanding of the spaces we inhabit.
Felecia Chizuko Carlisle (Born 1972 Pensacola, FL. Lives in Miami, FL.) performs atmospheric alchemy by making work about space, light, sound, and with this ephemera, the psyche of a place and time. Many of her works feature two phases, atmospheric intervention in the form of sculptural form and lighting, and community activation. She is an artist, educator, and organizer. All these roles contribute to her interstitial fine art practice. She works across performance, installation, sound, sculpture, photography, and video within a wide variety of contexts including nightclubs, gardens, bathrooms, empty lots, and fire stations; as well as, museums, commercial galleries, and non-profit art spaces.
Recent exhibitions include the Museum of Contemporary Art (North Miami, FL), Deering Estate (Miami, FL), Elaine L. Jacobs Gallery at Wayne State University (Detroit, MI), Frost Art Museum (Miami, FL), USF Contemporary Art Museum (Tampa, FL), Locust Projects (Miami, FL), Vizcaya Museum and Gardens (Miami, FL), Riverside Art Center (Chicago, IL), Fountainhead Residency (Miami, FL) and Emerson Dorsch. Awards include the South Florida Cultural Consortium Fellowship, a Wavemaker Grant as part of the Andy Warhol Foundation Regional Re-granting Program, Foundation for Contemporary Art Emergency Grant, and a commission from Miami-Dade County Art in Public Places. Carlisle received her MFA from San Francisco Art Institute New Genres department in 2006. She is a native Floridian and has lived and worked in Miami, FL since 2009. She is represented by Emerson Dorsch.
Ernesto Gutiérrez Moya (b. 1995, Havana, Cuba) is a Miami-based artist whose drawings and paintings are characterized by enigmatic landscapes. There are no people present in his works, instead, his focus lies in the search for a connection created through compositional lines–abstract structures are often housed among mystical lush gardens and forests in his paintings. Gutiérrez Moya’s palette is made up of bold colors used in a mysterious manner, sometimes assigning colors to objects to which they don’t belong. This reinforces the ambiguous quality of his narrative. He is influenced by imagery found in art, books, film, and nature, and he uses forms that stem from a real foundation to construct spaces that are at the same time familiar and otherworldly.
Gutiérrez Moya graduated from the San Alejandro National Academy of Fine Arts in Havana and later taught at the school for two years. His work has been exhibited in group shows in New York, Miami, and Havana and he has had solo shows in Miami and Havana. Publications include CdeCuba Art Magazine, DESTIG Magazine, and The Saatchi Gallery Magazine.
Emerson Dorsch is a contemporary art gallery with two complementary roles: to represent a core group of select South Florida-based artists, to host and represent excellent emerging and mid-career visiting artists. The gallery’s name reflects the partnership in art and life between the husband and wife team Brook Dorsch and Tyler Emerson-Dorsch. We believe in the joys of an artful life, of experiencing art close to the source. Through all the gallery’s activities, we foster art patronage and artistic community.
Brook Dorsch founded Dorsch Gallery in the early 1990s to exhibit Miami-based artists. Tyler Emerson-Dorsch joined the gallery in 2008 after earning a Masters from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College. After almost 25 years, the gallery moved a second time to Little Haiti, a neighborhood northwest of downtown Miami.