John Henderson at Proyectos Monclova

Artist: John Henderson

Exhibition title: Far or hid

Venue: Proyectos Monclova, Mexico City, Mexico

Date: September 21 – October 27, 2018

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Proyectos Monclova, Mexico City

Far or hid is the title of John Henderson’s current solo exhibition at Proyectos Monclova, an installation compo-sed of painting, video and photography. Henderson’s work occupies and reconfigures various precedents from art history—post-war abstraction, minimalist and conceptual practices—in order to question ideas related to authorship, reproducibility, and material translation.

An untitled video is positioned just outside of the main gallery, serving as a preface to the rest of the exhibition. Displayed on a vertical screen, the video presents a fixed, closely-cropped view of a skylight in the artist’s studio during a rainstorm. The predetermined geometry of the win-dow’s frame is contrasted by the irregular, pulsing rhythm of the rainfall, producing an artwork that is simultaneously an autobiographical portrait of the artist’s workplace and a kind of automatic painting realized as movement and sound—a staged situation, harnessing chance effect. The video’s focused contemplation and subdued atmosphere are ex-tended throughout the exhibition as Henderson has painted the walls to closely match the pre-existing grey color of the gallery’s floor. While this neutral color may alternately evoke such contrasting environments as the Rothko Chapel or the achromatic workspace of Photoshop, it also suggests an equilibrium and equivalency between the floor and walls, thereby compressing the relationship between the present architecture, the artworks, and the viewer. This is a space for looking slowly and closely.

The exhibition is centered around a series of abstract paintings on canvas, pristine objects that conceal the labor of their construction. Self-consciously performing the role of the painter, Henderson approaches these works as doc-uments of their own production. Each painting is built up in many layers of gestural mark-making and subtle geometric forms before the paint is carefully removed and attenuat-ed to achieve a perfectly flat surface. The results are diffuse, palimpsestic images, paintings seemingly caught between accumulation and erasure.

John Henderson, Far or hid, 2018, exhibition view, Proyectos Monclova, Mexico City

John Henderson, Far or hid, 2018, exhibition view, Proyectos Monclova, Mexico City

John Henderson, Far or hid, 2018, exhibition view, Proyectos Monclova, Mexico City

John Henderson, Far or hid, 2018, exhibition view, Proyectos Monclova, Mexico City

John Henderson, Far or hid, 2018, exhibition view, Proyectos Monclova, Mexico City

John Henderson, Far or hid, 2018, exhibition view, Proyectos Monclova, Mexico City

John Henderson, Far or hid, 2018, exhibition view, Proyectos Monclova, Mexico City

John Henderson, yet to be titled, 2018, Oil and acrylic on canvas, 32 x 20 in, 81.3 x 50.8 cm

John Henderson, yet to be titled, 2018, Oil and acrylic on canvas, 30 x 24 in, 76.2 x 61 cm

John Henderson, yet to be titled, 2018, Oil and acrylic on canvas, 30 x 24 in, 76.2 x 61 cm

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