Jeremy Geddes and Ashley Wood
In their first solo US exhibitions, Australian artists Jeremy Geddes and Ashley Wood have proven there is something special in the water in the land down under. Friends for many years, the duo had always planned a gallery show together and it has come to fruition at the Jonathan LeVine Gallery in New York City.
Jeremy Geddes’ exhibition is apply titled “Exhale,” and that is exactly what one does when entering the gallery. The room is brightly lit overhead, but the light emanating from several pieces literally fills the room. Jeremy’s iconic cosmonaut makes an appearance in a few works, including the just unveiled Failing Echo. The piece is predominantly a meticously rendered city skyline and one must look closely to see the suspended cosmo just ahead of an old VW bus on the expressway. The cosmonaut’s tethered lifeline stretches up and out of the frame, implying that there is something up there, but Jeremy leaves it open to interpretation and imagination. Another new piece titled Acedia is a tour de force of detail and intensity. Brick and tile fragments explode forth while a young girl floats harmlessly in the midst of the shrapnel, intently focused on a pigeon that is being thrown overhead by the kinetic energy of the blast. As if to offset and perhaps create a transition to Ashley Wood’s work in the next room, the east wall contains a series of paintings titled Misere and Miserere. These simplified works feature lone figures, pigeons, and lunar modules suspended in nothingness. While not as large or complex as the other works, they still provide plenty of emotion as one contemplates the desolation and silence they conjure.
Jeremy Geddes and artist Adam Wallacavage
One might not think that Jeremy Geddes and Ashley Wood’s new works would display well together, but they compliment each other perfectly. While Jeremy is a master at perfecting real life surroundings, Ashley is a master at lighting and detailing a scene with a minimal amount of brush strokes. Mostly known for his comics and works featuring decaying robots battling in war-torn landscapes, these new works in his show, “Machine Sabbath,” are a departure from the norm down darker paths. Ashley has never been shy about exploring sexuality and there is nothing subtle on display here. Favorite Sitting Device 2 and His Favorite Show make no apologies for what goes on behind closed doors. Many of the multi-panel pieces are quite long and heavily weighted on one end, with the other side being used to enhance the atmosphere with emptiness. The simpleness of that void brings much more emotion to the pieces had they been fully detailed. Prevalent in almost all of the paintings is the Nabler, a character created for the Popbot comic. The floating robot head has transcended into the world of “Machine Sabbath” and appears ghostly white as it gazes upon the scene at hand. When asked about Nabler’s importance in these works, Ashley responded with, “It represents many things, different to all. Some see a voyeur, some see the lost, some see themselves. A universal totem for man’s inclusion and exclusion.”
“Exhale” and “Machine Sabbath” are powerful shows several years in the making. The detail and lighting affects by Jeremy Geddes, and the chunkiness texture of an Ashley Wood painting don’t always come across in photos. If you have the opportunity to see the show in person, you should take an afternoon to visit the Jonathan LeVine Gallery until November 17th.