Whitehot Magazine

Promise Problem at Osmos Address

Installation view: Promise Problem at Osmos Address, New York, NY

Promise Problem at Osmos Address, 50 East 1st Street, New York, NY

Chris Dorland, Israel Lund, Gerold Miller and Heimo Zobernig.


“Promise Problem,” investigates artistic processes of repetition, as well as the contemporary paradox of “searching for the original jpeg” amidst the degradations and additions to images circulating the web. The exhibition, curated by Anne Luther, visits works by Chris Dorland, Israel Lund, Gerold Miller at Osmos Address, an East Village project space run by editor and curator Cay Sophie Rabinowitz. Although these artists may not generally fall into the category of digital art, the exhibition’s strong curatorial gesture makes it so.

The way layers are conveyed in Israel Lund’s large acrylic canvas is through overlapping primary colors. In the process of paint being pushed through silkscreen, the primary colors stir up an additive array of magentas, yellows, and blues that in this overlapping, gain three-dimensionality not possible in a flat, digitally rendered RGB image. Lund is skilled at referencing and exploring the raster / pixel from a place of painterly abstraction, and a contemplation of randomness and control allowed by paint is certainly at work. Lund’s second piece, an aluminum, acrylic mesh sculpture shaped like a silkscreen, is somewhat hidden in a corner near the entrance, evoking the artist’s primary experience of the printmaking pre-process, and production. This work contributes to the conversation of ‘original images,’ what might be read as a reference to the invisible labor of art production as added layer of a work’s physical dimensionality in the gallery.

Installation view: Promise Problem at Osmos Address, New York, NY

Installation view: Promise Problem at Osmos Address, New York, NY

Chris Dorland’s rendered digital ink on canvas ponders the added layer of obfuscation of the original image, and fantasy that digital collage provides. It’s not that the works are humorous by any traditional definition of that word, but that the layering seems so complex that it tricks the eye. Is that Elvis? I had to ask myself when looking at the cut-and-pasted face in the bottom of the work. Perhaps, the artist wouldn’t tell me if I asked. It’s almost as if these snippets were meant to be unpacked to a certain point before the viewer realizes that the meaning is not found in understanding any independent element of the work’s creation.   

Staged prominently, German artist Gerold Miller’s L-shaped lacquered aluminum Monoform 49, angles or rails are like footnotes of an unknown, or universal architecture. The work functions like an open set of parenthesis, encapsulating the entirety of negative space of the gallery, in addition to the negative space between the two rails. Set 262, a stainless steel sculpture, depicts a heavy, industriousness that appears both highly crafted, but also blank.

Dorland, Lund, and Miller’s work is in conversation with 3 editions of an identical piece, by Heimo Zobernig, part of the extended programming at Osmos. The work constitutes three offset prints from a special issue of Texte zur Kunst, Issue No.29 / March 1998. This piece offers a nice allusion to some of the major themes of the show– the material processes, repetitions, and unseen aspects which add to the story of artworks and make it impossible to separate them from so-called “real-life.”

The show runs April 24–extending over the summer, until July 30th, and is open Tuesday to Friday 11am to 5pm and by appointment.

- Recommended. WM

Installation view: Promise Problem at Osmos Address, New York, NY 



Dorothy Howard


Dorothy Howard is a critic and archivist based in Mexico City and New York. Her work has appeared in the New Inquiry, DIS magazine, the Daily Beast, and the Hypocrite Reader.

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