Shana Moulton and Bryan Zanisnik

28 September - 3 November 2013 at Smack Mellon Gallery, Brooklyn.

Bryan Zanisnik, Meadowlands Picaresque, 2013, Site-Specific Installation and Performance. Courtesy of the artist and Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, NY.

In conjunction with the Dumbo Arts Festival, an annual weekend-long neighborhood arts festival, Smack Mellon's Artist Studio Program will also be open to the public September 28th from 12-8pm and September 29th from 12-6pm. The studios are located on the lower level of 92 Plymouth Street.

Smack Mellon is pleased to present Shana Moulton’s video installation Morphing Essence Syndrome and Bryan Zanisnik’s site-specific installation Meadowlands Picaresque. The two Brooklyn-based artists explore natural landscapes and their relationships to consumer goods to create immersive psychological spaces that meld fiction with autobiography. Morphing Essence Syndrome continues Moulton’s development of her alter ego Cynthia in her video and performance series Whispering Pines. In this latest installment, Cynthia tackles Restless Leg Syndrome and experiences Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response through the use of Swisspers. Transforming the back gallery into an entropic space, Zanisnik’s latest large-scale installation Meadowlands Picaresque incorporates thousands of photos and discarded objects from the 32-square mile swamp in Northern New Jersey along with memorabilia from the artist’s studio and childhood home. Every week the artist and his parents will activate the sprawling installation in tableau vivant style, blurring the line between still image and performance.

This exhibition is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, New York City Council Member Stephen Levin, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and with generous support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and Smack Mellon’s Members.

Smack Mellon’s programs are also made possible with public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and with generous support from the Lambent Foundation Fund of Tides Foundation, The Roy and Niuta Titus Foundation, Jerome Foundation, Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc., Joan Mitchell Foundation, The Robert Lehman Foundation, The Greenwich Collection Ltd, Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation Inc., David & Minnie Berk Foundation, Exploring The Arts, and Foundation for Contemporary Arts.

We would like to thank The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Lambent Foundation Fund of Tides Foundation, the Walentas family and Two Trees Management, Art Dealers Association of America Relief Fund, Dumbo Improvement District, Art F City, Richard Prince Studio, Mixed Greens Gallery, Gilbert MacKay Foundation, Athena Foundation, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, New York Council for the Humanities, Stephen Sollins, Niloo and Joe Steele, Creative Time Inc., Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc., Marie & John Zimmermann Fund, Inc., Allison and Tom Franco, St. Joseph High School, and all of the individuals who donated and volunteered to help us clean up and rebuild after Hurricane Sandy.

Space for Smack Mellon’s programs is generously provided by the Walentas family and Two Trees Management.

“Morphing Essence Syndrome” features several new videos presented in a dynamic installation designed specifically for Smack Mellon. These new videos have been created over the past year and this will be their first gallery presentation in New York. Each video features my alter ego Cynthia, which I’ve been developing over the past 12 years in my video and performance series, “Whispering Pines.”

In “Restless Leg Saga” (2012), Cynthia seeks a cure for her Restless Legs Syndrome in televised pharmaceutical ads and the pages of Prevention Magazine. During a sleepless moment in the bathroom, mystic truths are revealed to Cynthia in the form of poetry written and read by New York poet John Coletti. Therapeutic release is achieved through AION A, a healing mineral discovered by Swiss artist Emma Kunz.

Cynthia experiences an identity crisis triggered by shopping in “Unique Boutique” (2013). Upon entering a clothing boutique she is confronted with a relentless runway show of animated clothing. After trying on a piece of clothing she experiences an endless parade of fantasy identities until the Ami chant from Enigma's Return to Innocence leads Cynthia to a mountain top where she performs a cathartic dance. Unable to afford most things in the shop, she purchases a bubble-wrap decoration with a mysterious function.

The video “Swisspering” (2013), is framed by the act of applying and removing makeup. As the makeup is removed with a product called Swisspers, the body is, in effect, carved away. Through this act, I investigate Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR), defined as the physical sensation of pleasurable tingling that begins on the scalp and moves throughout the body that is often triggered by whispering. By illustrating the process of carving away the body to reveal spiritual essence, I investigate the how we relate our outer and inner selves.

Shana Moulton grew up near Yosemite, California, and lives and works in New York. She earned her BA from University of California, Berkeley, in Art and Anthropology and her MFA from Carnegie Mellon University. She has been an artist-in-residence at the LMCC Workspace Program, Smack Mellon, The Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Harvestworks, De Ateliers in Amsterdam and The Sommerakademie in Bern. Moulton has exhibited or performed at The New Museum, MoMA P.S.1, Performa 2009, The Kitchen, Electronic Arts Intermix, Art in General, SFMOMA, The Andy Warhol Museum, The Wexner Center for the Arts, Wiels Center for Contemporary Art in Brussels, The Migros Museum in Zurich and De Appel in Amsterdam, among others. Moulton's work has been reviewed in the Village Voice, Artforum, the Brooklyn Rail, the New York Times, Artnet Magazine, Frieze Magazine, Art Review, Artpress and Flash Art. She is a 2013 Creative Capital grantee and is a featured artist on Art21's New York Close Up.

“Meadowlands Picaresque” (2013) is a site-specific installation that incorporates materials from my childhood home, a polluted swamp in northern New Jersey and suburban junk shops. These objects appear en masse alongside street detritus, cardboard, dirt and objects fabricated in the studio. While the installation references a domestic interior, the plethora of childhood artifacts and props used in my previous performances creates a psychological space that functions as a constantly updating memory-archive. The work is periodically activated by a weekly performance by my parents, Bob and Carol Zanisnik and myself. The performance is essentially still, referencing both the history of the tableau vivant and the blurred boundaries between still images and live events. Just as the performance and installation exists as a live image drawn from personal archives, the documentation of Meadowlands Picaresque will ultimately generate new images for future archives.

Opposite the site-specific installation is a large-scale photograph titled “Life on Mars” (2013). The photograph is of a set constructed in my studio that recontextualizes many of the objects found in the installation. Styrofoam balls, shelves of white tchotchkes and x-rays of my broken hand commingle with mirrors, wallpapers and black lace. The photograph and its shrine-like arrangement of objects suggests a medieval reliquary while also functioning as a window unto the site-specific work.

Bryan Zanisnik was born in Union, New Jersey and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. He received an MFA from Hunter College and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. He has recently exhibited and performed in New York at MoMA PS1, Sculpture Center, and the Queens Museum of Art; in Philadelphia at the Fabric Workshop and Museum; in Miami at the De La Cruz Collection; in Chicago at the Museum of Contemporary Photography; in Los Angeles at LAXART; and internationally at the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, the Kunsthalle Exnergasse in Vienna and the Futura Centre for Contemporary Art in Prague. Zanisnik’s work has been reviewed in the New York Times, Art in America, Artforum, ARTnews, Modern Painters, and Time Out New York, amongst others. He has completed residencies at the Macdowell Colony, the Art Omi International Artists Residency, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace Program, and the Guangdong Times Museum in Guangzhou, China. Currently he is an artist in residence at the Smack Mellon Artist Studio Program in Brooklyn, NY.

Images 1, 3 and 5 by Shana Moulton, Morphing Essence Syndrome, 2013, Installation view. Photo by Etienne Frossard. Courtesy of Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, NY.

Images 2,4 and 6 by Bryan Zanisnik, Meadowlands Picaresque, 2013, Site-Specific Installation and Performance. Courtesy of the artist and Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, NY.

Smack Mellon Gallery
92 Plymouth Street
Brooklyn (NY) 11201 United States
Tel. +1 (718) 8348761
info@smackmellon.org
www.smackmellon.org

Opening hours
Wednesday - Sunday
From 12pm to 6pm