Cosmologies

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“A reset button for the universe pressed only once.” This phrase is from the artist Katie Paterson’s poignant Ideas series.  Nowadays, we wonder if only.

Robert Fludd, the 16th century Hermetic philosopher, was among the first to identify the relationship between the microcosmic and the macrocosmic. Fludd expressed the impulse to qualify and quantify the inherent link between man and the universe. As we now grapple for our place in the larger order of things and reckon with the contemporary moment, we have curated Cosmologies, a selection of our artists' approaches to matters of the universal.

A portion of the proceeds from sales will go toward the Food Bank of NYC.

Katie Paterson
Ideas (the universe rewound and played back in real time), 2019
Micro waterjet-cut sterling silver
4 1/4 x 9 1/8 x 1/4 in 10.8 x 23.2 x 0.6 cm
Edition of 3 (#2/3)

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Katie Paterson
Ideas (A map of galaxies still to come), 2017
Micro water jet cut sterling silver
10.8 x 15.9 x 0.5 cm 4 1/4 x 6 1/4 x 3/16 in.
Edition of 3 (#3/3)

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Matthew Ritchie
A bridge, a gate, an ocean, 2014
Oil and ink on canvas
Framed: 94 x 120 x 2 1/2 in. 238.8 x 304.8 x 6.3 cm

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"Painting seems to me to be a way that you can hold onto both chaos and awe: the messy contradictions of our existence and our desire to understand the magnitude of the universe. You can be on the surface of it: it’s like walking across a lake covered in ice and you’re aware of the vastness underneath you, but there’s also something very beautiful about knowing you are skating across this surface.”

- Matthew Ritchie

Josiah McElheny
Seven Observations for June Tyson, 2019
Acrylic on board with inset, hand-formed and polished micromosaic glass, black mirror, ash frame
40 1/2 x 53 1/2 x 2 1/8 in (framed) 102.9 x 135.9 x 5.4 cm

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Josiah McElheny
Observation Night Two, 2019
Acrylic on board with inset, hand-formed and polished micromosaic glass, black mirror, ash frame
21 7/8 x 21 7/8 x 2 1/8 in (framed) 55.6 x 55.6 x 5.4 cm

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Josiah McElheny
Observation Night Six, 2019
Acrylic on board with inset, hand-formed and polished micromosaic glass, black mirror, ash frame
21 7/8 x 21 7/8 x 2 1/8 in (framed) 55.6 x 55.6 x 5.4 cm

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Mernet Larsen
Study for Astronaut, Sunrise (after El Lissitzky), 2020
Acrylic on Bristol paper
24 x 19 in 61 x 48.3 cm

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Mernet Larsen
Study for Astronauts, Sunset (after El Lissitzky), 2020
Acrylic on Bristol paper
24 x 19 in 61 x 48.3 cm

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"The Astronaut studies reconsider realism's spatial conventions, looking at abstract and non-western paintings as possible springboards for a different kind of space. Horizons are my enemy. Horizons establish the ground plane; as long as the horizon is visible or implicit, you are oriented. I want the viewer to be disorientated, to not know exactly where they are relative to what they’re seeing."

- Mernet Larsen

Katie Paterson
Colour Field, 2016
C-print
43 1/4 x 102 1/4 in. 109.9 x 259.7 cm

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Simon Evans
Arbitrary Music, 2020
Mixed media
12 x 12 in 30.5 x 30.5 cm

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"Categorizing is what humans do, and obsession is what is involved in anything you're passionate about. I like the typical repetition of rituals, of punishment and worship, jogging laps, or doing yantras. It's a beautiful cartoon of futile human acts."

- Simon Evans™

Fred Tomaselli
Portrait of Sean 12-28-94, 1994
Prismacolor on paper
14 1/2 x 17 7/8 in 36.8 x 45.4 cm

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Fred Tomaselli
Portrait of Laura 12-16-94, 1994
Prismacolor on paper
14 1/2 x 17 7/8 in 36.8 x 45.4 cm

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These “portraits” belongs to an ongoing series Fred Tomaselli calls "chemical celestial portraits of inner and outer space." Tomaselli creates likenesses based on each sitter’s astrological sign and the star map for his or her date of birth. The resulting constellation is comprised of stars named after the various drugs the subject remembers consuming, from cold medicine to cocaine. The result is an unconventional map of identity that cleverly weds the mystical and the pharmacological.

“The text in the chemical celestial portraits ties them to the NY Times works. In both series, words add another level of meaning to the imagery.

In the early nineties I was making photograms using pills and sugar, but without text. Simultaneously, I was also making chemical celestial portrait done entirely with white prismacolor and sometimes gouache on black paper. After a while, I merged the two practices and began adding text over photograms. These works happened just before that merge.”

- Fred Tomaselli

Throughout his career, Mullican adapted the spirit of surrealist innovation through process (especially automatism) to his own ends. Combined with his interest in non-European cultures and philosophies, Mullican exploited the immediacy of drawing as a means of perpetual exploration and innovation. Recounting his artistic “travels” Mullican once proclaimed that he “commuted extensively between heavens and earth”; his vehicle was the mark. 1

Lee Mullican
Spring Breaks, 1968
Pencil and ink on paper
24 x 19 in 61 x 48.3 cm

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Fred Tomaselli
Shack, Commune, Compound, 1998
Crushed hemp leaves, acrylic and resin on wood
72 x 54 in. 182.9 x 137.2 cm

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Shack, Commune, Compound puts together buildings representing various spiritual and political ideologies that have separated themselves away from the rest of America - from the Aryan Nations Compound and Shaker Meeting Houses to Thoreau’s Walden and everything in between. It is a landscape splintered by ideological divisions. I scattered these dwellings onto a topography of crushed leaves mixed with contour map imagery.

Utopianism and it’s discontents has always been a theme in my work. America, with its imposition of ideology over nature, is one of the worlds great utopian experiments and this experiment is central to who we are. We may have sought to create a new Jerusalem, but it took slavery, genocide and environmental catastrophe to get us there. Our aspirations for heaven on earth lead us to a new place in hell.”

- Fred Tomaselli

“Time runs through everything I make. From the time of a short phone call to a glacier to the centuries of its demise; the time for the light from a dying star to pass millions of years through space to reach our eyes. A circle of beads encompassing life and death through geological time. The time on Venus ticking away on a set of station clocks. A forest growing for 100 years to become a book, unread until then. A 12-hour candle burning through a journey from planet to planet. A nano-sized grain of sand lost in the depths of an ancient desert. Why I’m drawn to time is hard to describe – it’s to do with being outside myself, and being inside a more universal network where distance and time might not necessarily even exist.”

- Katie Paterson

Katie Paterson
Timepieces (Solar System), 2014
Nine adapted clocks
17 11/16 x 17 11/16 x 3 11/16 in. 45.0 x 45.0 x 9.5 cm. Installation dimensions variable

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1 Jules Langser, “Mullican Paints a Picture,” ARTnews, October 1953, cited in Jones, Leslie, “Chronic Commute: Lee Mullican’s travels in drawing," James Cohan, New York, 2017.

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