MFA Alumn Michael Watson Features in a Collaboration Installation

John Richey + Michael Watson

Spaceworks Gallery
540 President Street, basement level
Opening Reception : November 14, 7 – 9pm
Exhibition Dates : November 13 – 30, 2019

GHOST DOUBLE is a two-person exhibition of new work by John Richey (Brooklyn NY) and Michael Watson (Brooklyn NY) at Spaceworks Gallery. Richey and Watson’s works exist in a space between representation and photographic document, embracing the glitches and precarities of the direct process of image and object making. An intricate new site-specific collaborative installation is at the heart of this unique exhibition, surrounded by rich large scale burn panels and intimate hand woven cyanotypes. Through a series of rigorous processes each artist captures a concrete sense of fleeting imprecision. Each artwork embodies a direct replication of either a recognizable object or common image, the resulting afterimages of which give the viewer a sense of both familiarity and uncanniness; as if beholding not the original thing but to the things ghostly double.

Richey’s woven cyanotype works are about how themes of stability and entropy can coexist in a single discrete work. His creative instincts are to be very rigid and controlled but by using the cyanotype technique, which is notoriously unwieldy and unpredictable, he is forced outside of his comfort zone and pushed into new territory. This collection of hand-woven works on paper also reference the natural world and allude to the fleeting ephemerality of the spaces between/around us. Each vibrant blue and white composition is an interwoven composition of images and patterns that recall a memory or essence. Disjointed imagery flickers in-and-out of view as crisp patterns are layered one-on-top of another in these simultaneously sparse and yet dense compositions.

Watson’s burn work use rice in place of the body as a conceptual framework for imagining the expansive space beyond perceptibility linking life, death and afterlife. Through a unique charring technique developed over several years, he arranges rice and objects on plywood surfaces and then chars it with fire. Once the burnt rice and objects are removed, an afterimage remains. It captures the collision between life and death and points towards something beyond our physical boundaries. By breaking down and interweaving the body, the landscape, and the other, Watson argues for an underlying structure and overlap between all things pointing toward interconnectivity rather than autonomy.

John Richey is a New York-based visual artist who makes hand-drawn animations, fine art prints, and sculptural installations using themes and images borrowed from various personal collections. He holds degrees from the University of Arizona and the University of California, San Diego. Richey has exhibited domestically and abroad and was profiled in Art Forum Internationals “Best of 2004”.  He has attended artist residencies at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Alberta, Canada, the Bronx Museum of the Arts AIM Program, and most recently the Studios at MASS MoCA residency in North Adams, MA. Over the past 15 years, in addition to his active studio and curatorial practice, Richey has held various professional titles at New York galleries and fine art foundations including Marian Goodman Gallery, Greene Naftali Gallery, the Keith Haring Foundation, and Pace Gallery.

Michael Watson is a New York based artist who engages in experimental processes and alternative materials that are often extreme, interactive and tied to specific sites, cultural experiences and rituals to create visceral mixed media panels, sculptures, installations, and performance. Through his work, Watson explores the space between being, substance and imperceptibility through the use of rice and other materials as a substitute for the body. He received his MFA from Parsons School of Design and BFA from the Art Academy of Cincinnati. His exhibitions and residencies include B.W.A.C., NYC, stART Space Gallery, Manchester Center, VT, LaBodega Gallery, NYC, Hunterdon Art Museum, NJ, Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, NYC, Brooklyn Museum, NYC, Leila Heller Gallery, NYC, SOMArts Cultural Center, San Francisco, CA, The Kitchen, NYC, Arts, Letters and Numbers, Averill Park, NY, AIR Program 4heads Org., NYC, the New York Studio Program, and the ChaShaMa Studio Program, NY

Gallery Hours : by appointment
Contact : John & Michael

John Richey
Michael Watson