First responders

Press release
”First responders” Organized by Zach Smith
April 5 – 20, 2014
Opening reception:
Saturday April 5, 2014 7 – 10 PM
featuring: Ariel Dill, Michael Bell-Smith, Marley Freeman, Deanna Havas, Ben Horns, Katie Loselle, Orion Martin, Sam McKinniss, Kyle Petreycik, and Eric Shaw.
Good Work Gallery presents “First Responders,” an exhibition organized by curator Zach Smith that features a dynamic group of works from a selection of contemporary artists working in a range of media. The paintings, sculptures and photographic prints included in the show are united in their individually separate progressions from a universally fundamental state, characterized, as most works are, by the sketch, specifically the gesture. “First Responders” seeks to expand traditional roles of drawing and works on paper as expressions, within studio practice, of that primary urge to draw, articulating contemporary evolutions of a first inchoate response to some obscure desire.
-Good Work Gallery

“Originally, First Responders was a show of works on paper. I wanted to loosen the general sense of that milieu and see where new artists fit in with it. I looked for near-platonic instances of visceral reaction – artists as trained practitioners, rushing to the scene of abstract crises. The end result would be a collection of outlier-works everyone’s broader practice wouldn’t automatically suggest.
My inquiry became all the more intriguing when I couldn’t figure out how any one person might approach this challenge. Do artists truly quit drawing as studio practices branch elsewhere? Is there still a pseudo-scientific impulse for order that never goes away? I figured out ‘gesture’ was the answer. Dumb, easily learned, and looking good in lobbies all over the world, gesture is for me the absolute. It is completely irreducible.
It’s best to parse this idea as smart and dumb role-playing each other. Given the quickened pace of contemporary appropriation, lobby art could inspire serious painting. Painting can breathe a sigh of relief. In this endlessly post-minimal landscape, gesture grows evermore optimistic. And really, optimism is the core of what I’m getting at. The elemental is kinetic, not potential. The animate is there before it has something to animate. The same qualities skeptics of a work call vacuous are often what make it most trenchant. Every time artists find another way of transposing mass culture, knee-jerk readings of the work as being flippant remerge. I’m not sure there’s a viable alternative though. The prevalence of boredom, insouciance and spleen as key catalysts for emerging art is well documented. Reflection doesn’t guarantee thorough results. Impulse can be refined, but flashes of the uncanny are rarely if ever reverse engineered.
Besides, I can only “engage” with a work once I’ve decided it looks amazing. Maybe that’s just me, being of a pictures generation. Gesture now holds the same semantic function as ‘drawing’ or ‘works on paper’. Whether rigorous or not, It is goofy and good-natured. Ecstatic rapturous newness needn’t pay lip service to history. But it had best show up on time, before everyone else, lest the spirit of a moment flatline and tap out forever.”
-Zach Smith
Opening reception: Sat, April 5th, 7-10pm
Open for Viewing: Sat and Sun, April 5 – 20, 1 – 7pm and by appointment.

  Ariel Dill, Michael Bell-Smith, Marley Freeman, Deanna Havas, Ben Horns, Katie Loselle, Orion Martin, Sam McKinniss, Kyle Petreycik, 
  Eric Shaw, Zach Smith, Good Work Gallery, New York