Solo Exhibitions: Nicole Eisenman and Christopher Astley open Thursday, May 24


Thursday, May 24, 6 – 9 PM

Woodcuts, Etchings, Lithographs and Monotypes
May 24 – June 30, 2012
545 West 23rd Street
Opening reception: Thursday, May 24, 6 – 9 PM

It is our great pleasure to present an exhibition of new work by Nicole Eisenman, the artist’s fourth solo presentation at Leo Koenig Inc. and the first devoted entirely to her printmaking practice. The exhibition is comprised of etchings, monotypes, woodcuts, and unique works on paper, created in collaboration with New York-based printers Harlan & Weaver, Jungle Press, Ten Grand Press, and the Women’s Studio Workshop in Rosendale, NY.

Often cited as one of the seminal painters of her generation, Nicole Eisenman’s diverse practice embraces popular culture and encompasses many types of media and subject matter. Utilizing a wide and erudite variety of techniques culled from the history of printmaking, Eisenman approaches each of her subjects with a unique touch that adds to the sense that each of her figures, while inhabiting a common physical locale, exists in an isolated psychological space. The figures depicted often convey a sense of unsettled, contemplative thought and disenchantment with the status quo. From allegorical tableaux to singular portraits, Eisenman continues her sustained fascination with human interaction and isolation. These highly personal subjects speak explicitly to our current economic and political environment; however, the works ultimately go beyond these themes to explore a broader interest in the human condition. With an easygoing virtuosity accentuated by sharp wit and deadpan humor, Eisenman carves out a world in which meaning is elusive if not painfully unavailable.

Born in 1965 in Verdun, France, Nicole Eisenman earned her BFA in 1987 from the Rhode Island School of Design. Her work has been exhibited widely, both in the United States and internationally. Recent one-artist exhibitions have been held at The Tang Museum at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY (2009-10); Kunsthalle Zurich (2007); and Le Plateau, Paris (2007). In addition, her work has been included in the 2012 Whitney Biennial and Prospect.2 New Orleans (2011), as well as recent group exhibitions at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2011-12); The Jewish Museum, New York (2010); CCS Bard Hessel Museum of Art, Annandale (2010); and The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2009).

May 24 – June 30, 2012
541 West 23rd Street
Opening reception: Thursday, May 24, 6 – 9 PM

Life happens too fast for you ever to think about it. If you could just persuade people of this, but they insist on amassing information. -Kurt Vonnegut

Leo Koenig Inc. is pleased to announce an exhibition of new sculptures, collages and paintings by Christopher Astley. Highlighted by large-component sculptures made up of concrete-filled fabric bags, Christopher Astley’s work provides a metaphorical antidote to the lightning-fast environment in which most of us find ourselves. Grounded in the notion of thought as a diverse series of closed systems and pattern recognitions, and stressing the importance of novelty, Astley’s constructions take the form of walls, but are neither barriers nor boundaries. Greatly influenced by emergence theory, whereby complex systems and patterns arise out of a multiplicity of relatively simple interactions, Astley’s arrangements are dependent upon a few simple relational assemblages and go on from there. Though the objects are of formidable weight and volume, individually, they seem almost buoyant and animated by the fabrics that contain them. Seemingly unmoving, the shapes in their nearly figurative arrangements reveal a slowly shifting lexicon, strangely both whimsical and adamant.

Astley’s directives when making his sculptures are only loosely built around manipulating form. Often sewing the bags that hold the concrete, Astley fills each one with the mixture and allows the curing process to partially assist in the creation of the individual shapes. Irresistibly tactile, sometimes the results are within the realm of expectation. Other times, the results are completely unanticipated, bending unevenly to the rules of gravity, chemical reaction, and time. It is the surprising event that Astley is striving for. Though patterns are established by arranging the individual bags, nothing is ever pre-arranged in the artists mind. Like water seeking its own level, Astley’s constructions often seem to seek their native resting place, as if the forms themselves are territorially prescient.

The sculptures central to the artist’s work also inform the collages and paintings included in this exhibition. The collages offer the artist the ability to construct patterns and combinations that would be impossible to achieve in his three-dimensional works. The framing of the shapes are flattened throughout the picture plane, abstracting the heft of the forms and underscoring the novelty of the emerging patterns. The paintings employ a technique where the negative space encroaches up to the edge of the arrangements. The resulting images become organic forms, mimicking single cell amoebas or floating plankton, taking the viewer instantly from a macro to micro perspective. We are forced to contemplate not only the spatial constraints, but also the synesthetic perception of the passage of time.

Christopher Astley has exhibited extensively, most recently in exhibitions such The Margulies Collection, 2010-2011, and “Groan Hall” at the APF Lab, Art Production Fund, New York City. His work has also been included in exhibitions at the Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL; Fisher Gallery, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA; H&R Block Artspace at Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, MO; and the Contemporary Art Museum, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL. Christopher Astley lives and works in New York City.

For more information, please contact Stephanie Schumann at or 212.334.9255. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10am to 6pm.

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Leo Koenig Inc. | 541-545 West 23rd Street | New York | NY | 10011

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