Tree Love

Signs of life

Sunrise Sunset Garbage


Review of Local Expeditions in SFAQ Online

Local Expeditions, the first major NY solo show by artist Matthew Jensen, opened recently at Third Streaming, a decidedly un-sparkly yet beautiful second floor gallery on the Lower East Side of New York City. The exhibition, featuring Jensen’s photographs, video and sculptural work, is the culmination of an understated and meditative art practice, one that explores our relationship to the natural world and examines the environment utilizing humble degrees of innocence, curiosity and intellectual integrity; one that always manages to find the marvelous, and perhaps even the sacred, within the details that we regularly overlook.

A tremendously refreshing exhibition when compared with the competitive, shallow vanity found in so many Chelsea shows, Local Expeditions instead suggests the influence of Hamish Fulton and Richard Long, two artists of expansive domain that nonetheless seem to fly under the radar of obvious contemporary references. Jensen, who lives and works in Brooklyn, is a similar sort of explorer, trekking through urban landscapes, marveling at the crossroads of “raw nature” with humanity’s built environment.

Abandoned Structure, Governors Island, NY (2010), shot on the eponymous 172-acre island (off the southern tip of Manhattan), is a series of 60 c-prints; each photograph shot from the same perspective in 60 abandoned government housing units. Assembled into its installation, the effect of the series is as much a formal study of composition, line and space as it is a psychological profile of the past. Jensen’s website gives us the following on the project: “After going into several units I began to see these recurring columns, with their subtle variations, as ghostly statues still standing at attention like the many officers who once lived there”.
The most recent body of work in the exhibition is 31 Winter Walks (2011-2012), a series of c-prints which document 31 daily walks. On each walk, Jensen collected natural detritus (twigs, flowers, etc.), bound those daily findings with twine and photographed them, then painstakingly removed the background information from each image.

This passion for nature’s discarded scraps and forgotten places carries over in Cleaning a Glacial Pothole, a 21-minute video in which Jensen clears water, mud, rock and garbage out of barely noticeable ice age hole that was carved out of a (now urban) rock slab by millions of years of water seepage. Watching the video in its entirety is akin to taking a meditative journey, the rhythms and sounds of the artist’s actions bordering on ritualistic, inviting us to help sanctify a humble geological locus so powerfully able to position us within humanity’s own primordial timeline.

Perhaps Jensen is perfecting the art of the profound minor gesture, playing a metaphysical sleight of hand in which the smallest shift in our vision, the smallest refocus on the minutiae is able to open epiphanic gateways: twigs become talismans; tape remnants on a wall instead suggest a ceremonial site; a chunk of glacier becomes a communion, planting our bodies and spirits in a natural world we barely know anymore; a bread truck appears on a city street, then disappears, reminding us of a relationship we didn’t even know we had lost.

Matthew Jensen received an MFA from the University of Connecticut and a BFA from Rice University. His work has been included in exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (where it is in the permanent collection), MASS MoCA and the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum. This fall, he will be an artist-in-residence at the Delaware Center for Contemporary Art, where he will begin a major project titled The Wilmington Center for the Study of Local Landscape.  Third Streaming is located at 10 Greene St, Second Floor, NY, NY 10013; Local Expeditions is open through August 12, 2013.

-Contributed by Louis M. Schmidt

Full Review Here: SFAQ Online

Exhibition at Third Streaming

Exhibition at Third Streaming in SoHo, New York, NY
May 5 – August 15, 2013

Abandonded Structure & Pothole collection/photo
A selection from 31 Winter Walks
The glaciers might be gone soon but they will always be a part of me
The glaciers might be gone soon but they will always be a part of me, installed above vitrine of small works
Cleaning a Glacial Pothole, a collaboration with artist Brandon Neubauer
The hawk scene.
The Pothole & The Findings
Detail of bucket pedestal.
Abandoned Structure, 60 C-prints
March 21 from 31 Winter Walks
Detail of March 21
March 24 from 31 Winter Walks
Detail of March 24
April 9 from 31 Winter Walks
Detail of April 9

Third Streaming Gallery

East Coast, West Coast, The Bronx, The Bronx

Installation views of the Sunroom Project Space at Wave Hill in the Bronx. Several collection-based landscape projects derived from explorations of the eastern coast (Pelham Bay) and western coast (Hudson River/Riverdale Park/Wave Hill) of the Bronx. Truly magical landscapes to work in and an amazing venue to present the work.

The cardholder was made from a fragment found on the shore of Pelham Bay, a ready-made easel that I couldn’t pass up.
Collection of artifacts found in plain sight in western landscapes.  The final vitrine is created from an abandoned apiary found at Wave Hill.

The old beeswax and wires.
View South from the Sunroom.

A fully intact clay pipe c: 1850 and various other objects.
Fossils, cooking stones, a stick in the exact shape of a chicken head, the base of a quartz spear.

Vintage bottles found in plain sight ranging from 1840 to 1975.

Pelham Bay Collections.

A photographic collection titled “Silent Witnesses” and it features the amazing glacial erratics from the Pelham Bay region. The only photographic comprehensive documentation of these stones many of which have their own mythologies.

Dock foam collected as debris from the shores of Pelham Bay and repurposed as a pedestal for the artifacts found in plain sight throughout the landscape.

Detail of the collection.

Coins, trading beads, a finger nail, pottery…

Sunrise sunset and all the garbage I picked up between, is the title of the piece and it is exactly what the title says. The top two pictures were taken from a tiny pocket of land (.25 acres) that yielded a small mountain of trash.