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Charles Long

winter work
February 19 to March 20, 2004

Opening reception: Thursday, February 19, 6-8pm

The Tanya Bonakdar Gallery is pleased to announce Winter Work, an exhibition of new sculpture by Charles Long. This will be Long’s first solo show in New York in six years, and his fifth solo show with Tanya Bonakdar Gallery.

Since the early 1990’s, Long has held an intensely personal conversation with the history of sculpture, particularly modernism. In Winter Work, that dialog continues but resonates with influences from the ancient worlds of the imagined past and the transforming promise of a future science. These themes richly inhabit the present-day drawings of Long’s 7-year old son, which have become the central inspiration for Winter Work. Talismans, satellites and shelters are built from symmetrical structures that encase and protect an inner core. Or do they?

The spare sculptures are constructed from ceramic, steel, aluminum, plaster and papier-mâché and contain smaller sculptures within. Some works are bare material while others feature dim patinas of rust and ash. Several of the sculptures provide the illumination for the exhibition as light filters through the open forms of the work. Shadows and patterns are heralded from the structural supports that suspend teams of smaller abstract sculptures, their dangling feet describing an invisible plane that passes through the sculpture as a whole. With their mechanical supports and hovering parts, these works might suggest models of moments where the corporeal and cerebral meet, where nonintegrated parts compete in a battle for resolution.

While Long's work has always been informed by his interest in psychoanalysis, these new works are less about the body, the uncanny or autonomy (concepts Long explored in past works) and have more to do with creating aliveness in the face of loss. The experience of struggling through something you would never choose on a landscape that does not recognize comfort or pleasure is at the core of Winter Work. Grief and mourning for what will never again be wrestle mysteriously with the beauty and joy that is hope. The struggle becomes the prize and the prize becomes the meaning of everything that has changed.

Charles Long lives and works in Los Angeles. Last year, Long had a solo show at the Orange County Museum of Art in North Beach, California. Important past shows include Happiness, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2003); ART/MUSIC: rock, pop, and techno, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney and Lateral Thinking-Art of the 1990s, Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego (2002); Media_City Seoul 2000, Contemporary Art and Technology Biennial, Seoul, Korea and Magasin 3, Stockholm Konsthall (2000); Performance Anxiety, MCA, Chicago, travelling to Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego and SITE Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1997); Now Here, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark andYoung Americans, New American Art in the Saatchi Collection: Part I, Saatchi Gallery, London, England (1996).