After Effect features immersive artworks in painting, sculpture, installation and film that range from the cosmic and psychedelic to the sensual and visionary. The exhibition looks at historical paintings and film from the ‘30s and ‘40s alongside works from contemporary artists that address notions of the sublime, touching on mortality, landscape, the body, and various modes of abstraction.
Dan Colen produces new work for the exhibition that continues his exploration of spirituality and mortality with a triptych of large skyscapes based on stills from the 1940 Walt Disney film Fantasia. Achieved through an arduous process of layering paint, both with airbrush and traditional brushwork, these cloud paintings hide nothing of their cartoon origins while at the same time evoking the Romantic sublime. This new triptych appears alongside a sculpture from Colen’s recent Canopic series, solid silver casts taken from the negative space formed by roadside guardrails mangled in automobile accidents.
Emerging artist Loie Hollowell’s work explores an abstract geography of bodily forms – vaginas, nipples, phalluses, tongues – in vivid oil on linen canvases that radiate with texture and symmetry. The work takes inspiration in part from classical imagery: The artist finds resonance in both representational Catholic iconography as well as the architectural forms of European Gothic and Islamic architecture, while recent praise in the New York Times places her in a complex lineage with both Georgia O’Keefe and Judy Chicago.
After Effect will also feature historical works from the Transcendental Painting Group, artists who figure largely in Hollowell and Colen’s practices. Founded in New Mexico, the Transcendental Painting Group existed from 1938-1942 and aimed to “defend, validate and promote abstract and non-objective art.” Transcendental Painting Group artists represented in After Effect include Emil Bisttram, Raymond Jonson, Agnes Pelton, Florence Miller Pierce, and Stuart Walker. The group’s manifesto identifies their aims as carrying “painting beyond the appearance of the physical world, through new concepts of space, color, light and design, to imaginative realms that are idealistic and spiritual” in an effort to “widen the horizon of art.” The resulting works were created using methods simultaneously scientific and metaphysical. At times the paintings bring to mind the colors and forms of the New Mexico landscape, and at others seem to exist as untethered visual poetry.
Ballroom Marfa’s south gallery will feature Oskar Fischinger’s iconic Radio Dynamics (1942), a silent animated film which ebbs and flows with rhythmically edited abstract forms. This meditative, painterly work is suggestive of Fischinger’s overlooked contributions to Fantasia and is just one example of his wildly influential role as the father of the visual music tradition.
In the Ballroom Marfa courtyard, Arturo Bandini hosts two shows-within-the-show, Vapegoat Rising and Dengue Fever, over the run of After Effect. These micro-exhibitions play with and off of the exhibition’s transcendental themes. Arturo Bandini is a collaborative project/gallery by artists Michael Dopp and Isaac Resnikoff. The gallery occupies a small building designed by Joakim Dahlqvist that fluidly transposes interior and exterior space, mirroring Bandini’s promiscuous curatorial sensibility. Ballroom Marfa will host an exact copy of the original Bandini building in Los Angeles. Their first installation, Vapegoat Rising, is described by the artists as a “percolation of fog and rock” and features work by Josh Callaghan, Kathryn Garcia, Mark Hagen, Rick Hager, Yanyan Huang, Whitney Hubbs, Sofia Londono, and Barak Zemer. Arturo Bandini will revisit the space mid-way through After Effect to install Dengue Fever, a program that functions as “a sort of Henri Rousseau delirium, a jungle of feeling, and a landscape turned inwards” with work by Kelly Akashi, Marten Elder, John Finneran, S Gernsbacher, Drew Heitzler, Sarah Manuwal, Calvin Marcus, and Roni Shneior.
From the cosmic to the corporeal, the works in the exhibition produce a transformative aesthetic effect, a resonance that exists between the viewer’s experience and the artist’s process. After Effect continues Ballroom Marfa’s mission of enabling profound cultural happenings and unexpected connections in the enigmatic and open setting of Far West Texas.
- Emil Bisttram, Spectre, c. 1940. Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, LLC, New York
- Dan Colen, Canopic, 2015. Courtesy the artist and VENUS