Simon Preston Gallery is delighted to present, The Silent Way, a group show featuring works by Robert Breer, Matthew Buckingham and Jenny Perlin. The exhibition opens on 12 January and runs until 23 February, 2014. The works in the exhibition each examine our understanding of perception and time, employing both the esoteric and systematic language of pedagogy.
Matthew Buckingham’s Celeritas, 2009, installed in daylight in the front gallery, uses a scientific equation to shift our sense of the present. A wooden cabinet encloses a chalkboard printed with white letters, denoting the speed of light hitting its surface in chalk. Analytically illustrating the properties of light, we are prompted to contemplate the limits of our temporal perception, suggesting that our lives unfold somewhere between seemingly instantaneous light speed and imperceptibly slow geological time.
Robert Breer (1926-2011), known for his experimental practice spanning over fifty years, playfully explores our understanding of visual perception. Of his extensive and revolutionary series of films, Form Phases (1954-1956) most exemplifies this inquiry. Based on his earlier abstract geometric paintings, and created frame-by-frame using index cards, Breer created dense, rhythmic compositions of form and color. Morphing in and out of the frames, in a constant state of flux, these geometries reveal the role of movement in our understanding of visual recognition.
Jenny Perlin exhibits a 16mm film derived from the work of Caleb Gattegno, a mathematician and educator who pioneered a visual systematic method for teaching foreign languages and mathematics. The film begins with hand-painted animated color fields, each corresponding to a vowel or consonant sound of the English language according to Gattegno’s system. The second part of the film animates excerpts from A Thousand Sentences, Gattegno’s book written to function as a primer for English learners to practice reading simple texts. Yet in its selection of phrases, it also represents the author’s view that the world can be learned solely through experience and common sense.
Robert Breer (b. 1926, Detroit – 2011, Tucson) studied at Stanford University and in 1949 moved to Paris. In 1952, Breer realized his first film and subsequently ceased painting. In 1959, he began making his mutoscopes and moved to New York. Over his extensive and acclaimed fifty year career highlights include: a retrospective at the Whitney Museum, New York, 1980; a solo show at Staff USA/AC Project Room, New York, 1999; a film retrospective at the Museé national d’art moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, in combination with a solo exhibition at gb agency, Paris, 2001. More recently, he has exhibited his films in ‘Le Mouvement des Images’ at the Museé national d’art moderne, Paris, 2006. His sculptures were shown at Basel Kunsthalle, 2007; The Secession, Vienna, 2009; a solo show in CAPC, Bordeaux, 2010. A retrospective touring show was presented at Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead and Tinguely Museum in Basel, 2011. His film “Fuji” was registered in the permanent film collection of the Library of Congress, Washington, DC in 2002. In 2005, Breer received the prestigious Stan Brakhage Vision Award in Denver, Colorado.
Matthew Buckingham (b. 1963, Iowa) currently lives and works in New York. He studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, received a BA from the University of Iowa, an MFA from Bard College and postgraduate studies at the Whitney Independent Study Program, New York. His work has been exhibited at ARC / Musée d’art moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris; Camden Arts Centre, London; The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington DC; Hamburger Bahnhof National Gallery, Berlin; Kunst-Werke, Berlin; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Museum Moderner Kunst, Vienna; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitechapel, London and The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. He was a 2003 recipient of the DAAD Artist in Berlin Fellowship.
Jenny Perlin (b. 1970, Massachusetts) currently lives and works in New York. She received her BA from Brown University in Literature and Society, her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in Film, and postgraduate studies at the Whitney Independent Study Program, New York. Her films have been shown at numerous venues including the Guggenheim Museum, New York; Mass MoCA, Massachusetts ; MoMA, New York; Guangzhou Triennial, Canton: IFC Center, New York, Berlin and Rotterdam film festivals, the Drawing Center, New York; and The Kitchen, New York. Support has come from the LEF Foundation, NYSCA, Experimental Television Center, CEC Artslink, American Center, Geneva, and the Arnold Foundation. Artist residencies include IASPIS Sweden, Wexner Center, Civitella Ranieri, ISCP, and commissions from Bard College CCS, Aldrich Museum, BAC Geneva, The Queens Museum, and Expo 02, Switzerland.