SALLY JESSY RAPHAEL
July 7 - August 5, 2016
124 Forsyth Street
Hionas Gallery is pleased to announce the forthcoming solo exhibition from Robert Otto Epstein entitled Sally Jessy Raphael. The show will comprise selections from three series of works including Epstein’s figurative portraits, 8Bitterized paintings, and Baseball Card paintings, to be exhibited according to the gallery’s three sequential viewing areas.
Within each series Epstein adopts varying approaches to dissecting his subjects into their most elemental components; while some retain their form, others are rendered intricate gestalts composed of 8bit building blocks. These geometric prototypes are color coded seemingly as Epstein sees fit, lending the work measures of abstraction, yet are sequenced according to a hyper-strict order that never deviates from what the larger construct commands.
Each of Epstein’s portraits depicts the subject as color field and kept within its figurative confines. Their differing cutaneous pigmentations, however, suggest something that is at once scientific and spontaneous; portraiture as process art, equally beholden to a love for natural patterns and the routines of a computer coder.
Epstein is a deconstructionist. Beginning with a grid blueprint, he patterns each piece from the same origin point each time—the bottom righthand corner—then allows process to dictate the ensuing grids and repetitions. This meticulous programming by hand comes to reveal systems by way of muscle memory. Exactly to what degree he opts to deconstruct his subjects is left to anything but chance. Epstein’s Baseball Card paintings, for example, are geometric abstractions that covertly find their form within harmonies of color that keep the grids grounded, in a sense, bitterized only to such a degree wherein the figure and the pattern that comprises it are one and the same.
According to the artist, “through my work I explore the way that repetitiveness is structured into discrete forms, which become the pattern, which become the system, which is itself repeating."