Kianja Strobert and Robert Žungu
November 3, 2011 - January 7, 2012
Kianja Strobert and Robert Žungu
Kianja Strobert and Robert Žungu
Kianja Strobert and Robert Žungu
Kianja Strobert and Robert Žungu
Kianja Strobert and Robert Žungu
Kianja Strobert and Robert Žungu
Kianja Strobert and Robert Žungu
Kianja Strobert and Robert Žungu
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Press Release

KIANJA STROBERT
ROBERT ŽUNGU

November 3 – December 23, 2011

Opening reception Thursday November 3, 6-8pm

Fitzroy Gallery is pleased to present a two-person exhibition of new work by New York-based artists Kianja Strobert and Robert Žungu. Both Strobert and Žungu’s projects explore the relationship between geometric formalism and material alchemy. Each artist presents seemingly disparate bodies of work, however the viewer is posed similar questions regarding conceptions of time, progress, and history. Although Strobert and Žungu each exhibit work in both two and three dimensions, the artists aim for their work to be considered through the lens of sculpture, regardless of material or genre.

Kianja Strobert presents two bodies of work: Back On The Stroll as well as new works on paper. Strobert’s practice is located within a dialogue of mental states, phrases and attitudes. The work comes from the experience of living under capitalism, the struggle of novelty and fitting form and function together. In Back On The Stroll, a series of rectangular cinderblocks traverse the gallery to create a meandering, zigzagging labyrinth. At periodic intervals the words “back,” “on,” “the,” and “stroll” appear in flashing, pink electroluminescent wire. The wire is unlike other neon used in contemporary art, instead of conventional, thick neon tubes, Strobert employs the razor thin, flexible EL wire to enunciate these words as if in her own handwriting or vernacular, personalizing and humanizing an otherwise industrial medium. Viewers are left to imagine a passage of time, a template for walking, a return to “pounding the pavement,” in a cycle of experimentation and failure. Also on view are a series of paintings on paper, in which Strobert begins to articulate a new style of mark making. Strobert’s brushstrokes are affectively connected to finger painting, hatch marks, smears, stains, and other bodily traces. In many ways Strobert’s works on paper evoke a Feminist history, with her palette visually linked to colors associated with the body: browns, reds, and muddy yellows. Strobert visually manifests one of Walter Benjamin’s oft quoted assertions: “To live is to leave traces.”

Robert Žungu employs a different approach turning his attention to the allegorical transformation of matter, over time. For the last few years, Žungu has been exhibiting photography and sculpture that challenges our understanding of history, subjectivity and the natural world. What has come to be his signature approach is his considered use of unconventional materials; this exhibition is no different. Žungu exhibits two bodies of work; the first being a series of poured pewter sculptural wall reliefs. In (Of Which), Žungu pours molten pewter into protean, geometric forms. Before the metal solidifies, Žungu brands each relief with impressions of lion footprints, as if to demonstrate a pride of lions walking through the molten metal, recording their impressions. These works, likened to hieroglyphic tablets, appear as if they were freshly excavated from an archeological site. Also on view are a series of sculptural “paintings,” in which formal geometric compositions, built upon variations of parabola curves, delineate areas of flattened space. Employed in these works are a series of unexpected, and sometimes autobiographical, materials, including lids of salt containers affixed to the top of the compositions. Here, the salt lids allude to windows, portals, or openings. Other paintings employ grids of silk caterpillar cocoons, creating a tomb-like ambiance where strands of delicate silk envelope rigid, biological armatures.

Kianja Strobert (b. 1980) lives and works in New York. Strobert received her M.F.A. from Yale and has exhibited at galleries including Jack Tilton Gallery, Vox Populi, Harris Lieberman, Marlborough Chelsea, Marianne Boesky, Lehmann Maupin, Phantom Galleries LA, and the Studio Museum of Harlem.

Robert Žungu (b. 1978) lives and works in New York. Žungu received his B.A. from SVA and has had solo exhibitions at Paul Kasmin Gallery and Nicholas Robinson Gallery, as well as group exhibitions at Marlborough Chelsea, Harris Lieberman, White Box, and California State University.

KIANJA STROBERT/ROBERT ŽUNGU, will be on view November 3 through December 23, 2011 with an opening reception on Thursday, November 3 from 6 – 8 pm. Fitzroy Gallery is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 11 am – 6 pm and by appointment. For further inquiries, please contact the gallery at 212.343.8670 or info@fitzroygallery.com.