Andrew Witkin’s work investigates structures and systems that shape the construct of interpretation. His practice blurs the artificial separation between aesthetic exertions and real experience. The exhibition consists of multiple elements; each can be viewed as a unique and discrete artwork, while variations, large and small, denote underlying commonalities. The installation introduces possibilities of coherence, reason and substance, but also the uncertainty of meaning. The arrangement of elements suggests an open-ended interpretation, weaving the artist’s personal relationship to the element with the history of the object, while providing space for the viewer’s position, creating a complex but visually riveting triangulation of comprehension.
Witkin's use of imagery in repeated series of varying duplicative distortions purposefully leads a viewer down a proverbial and problematic garden path to find improbable significance far removed from the original source. A suite of six simple over-height easels each support a small woven-cotton rectangle. Several pairs, groups and series of abstract, semi-legible, text-based and/or figurative imagery surround the easels. White on black, black on white and other visually related formats provide a sense of consistency in the variations. With some basic examination and exploration, one can find that all the works presented come from ongoing projects and processes where change, decay, evolution and play large rolls. The work hints at “keeping on”, as we all do, but with the idealistic purpose of better understanding and the recognition that time and direction are perhaps more significant than any perceived end, reason or solution.
A sound work continues the refined reiterative treatment. A digital sound loop plays ‘silence’ punctuated periodically by Otis Redding’s voice singing, "I can’t”, “I can’t”, “I have tried, I have tried, I have tried, I have tried”. Excerpts of an anarchic rendition by the great Redding of the Rolling Stones song, (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, provoke recognition of the familiar tune, yet intervening silences are just as powerful. Cynicism, frustration, protest of commercialism, as well as desire for carnal pleasure, form the inspiration and mood of the Stones’ version. As Redding’s words stray dramatically from Mick Jagger’s original lyrics and are performed with perhaps more energy than diction, a focus on TRYING takes over.
As always with Witkin’s projects, he considers it a group endeavor, with all the complications of group history, interpersonal dynamics and the inherent conversations therein. The full attribution for the exhibition is as follows: an exhibition by Al Jackson, Jr., Alasdair Duncan, Alasdair Roberts, Alfred North Whitehead, Alicia Hall Moran, Alighiero Boetti, Alissa Farber, Alvin Krakow, Alvin Lucier, Amy Witkin, Ana Tiscornia, Andrew Loong Oldham, Andrew Love, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Anthony Allen, Arthur Miller, Athena Kirk, Barbara Krakow, Benjamin Chaffee, Bill Arning, Bob White, Booker T. Jones, Boris Groys, Brian Jones, Brian Zink, Carlo Schmid, Cary Leibowitz, Charmaine Wheatley, Corey Daniels, Daiki Suzuki, Daniel Scholnick, David Marks, Dick Albright, Donald Dunn, Earl Simms, Ehud Olmert, Elaine Sturtevant, Ellen Berkman, Emily Alexander, Emily Isenberg, Enzo Mari, Erna Rosenberg, Felix Guattari, Floyd Newman, Florence Calabrese, Franz Xavier Messerchmidt, Gene Miller, George Kubler, Hamish Fulton, Hans Peter Feldmann, Henri Héran, Horst P. Horst, Howard Gardner, Howard Moody, Ira Wool, Isaac Hayes, James Castle, James Harris, James Michael Curley, Jack Nitszche, Janet Passehl, Jason Moran, Jeffrey Kipnis, Jenine Shereos, Jenny Watkins, Jeremy Ziemann, Jess Rosner, Jim Ackerman, Jim Harris, Joe Scanlan, John Burns, John Dewey, John Kramer, John Paoletti, John Stuart Gordon, Jose Luis Blondet, Judith Butler, Julie Garfield Reich, Kaatje Cusse, Kat Parker-Monteleone, Kate Shepherd, Katharina Grosse, Kay Rosen, Keith Richards, Keith Watts, Kenneth Goldsmith, Kimon Kirk, La Monte Young, Lara Cocken, Larissa Harris, Leah Witkin, Lee Mingwei, Lila Kanner, Liliana Porter, Lis Tarlow, Marsha Ginsberg, Martha Rosler, Marvin Hagler, Mary O’Grady, Maureen Feeney, Megan Riley, Meghan Petersen, Micah Lexier, Michael Asher, Michael Bernstein, Mick Jagger, Monya Rowe, Natalia Valeria Porter Bolland, Nate Douglass, Nick Zaremba, Nina Felshin, Nuit Banai, Otis Redding, Otomo Yoshihide, Paul Herrmann, Pedro Martinez, Peter Downsbrough, Peter Kaye, Peter Littlefield, Peter Nesbett, Peter Pakesch, Pieranna Cavalchini, Puffin D’Oench, Rebecca Solnit, Rei Kawakubo, Rob Alexander, Robert Christgau, Robert Huot, Ronnie Wood, Roger Conover, Roger Witkin, Roy McMakin, Ryan Cross, Sara Baker, Shellburne Thurber, Shelly Bancroft, Skyela Heitz, Stephanie Theodore, Stephen Prina, Steve Cropper, Steve Reich, Steve Romansky, Steven Leiber, Steven Skov Holt, Su-Mei Tse, Suara Welitoff, Tatyana Gubash, Terrence Gaide, Terry Albright, Tim Albright, Tom Dowd, Topher Cox, Toshi Ichiyanagi, Veronica Roberts, Vincent Katz, Wayne Jackson, Will Newman, Will Oldham, William Bell, Wisława Szymborska, Witold Rybczynski, Yoshi Shimoyama and Yves Klein, among many others, all with Andrew Witkin.
Andrew Witkin has had solo museum exhibitions at the Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, NH and the DeCordova Sculpture Park & Museum in Lincoln, MA. He has been in group shows at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, the Carpenter Center for Visual Arts at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, as well as in numerous gallery situations. He has works in the permanent collections of Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston and the DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum. This is Theodore:Art’s third solo exhibition with him. He is co-represented by James Harris Gallery in Seattle, Washington and lives in Boston, Massachusetts. Beyond this exhibition, he has a forthcoming talk/performance at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in May of this year, as well as two new forthcoming book projects.
For more information, please contact the gallery at firstname.lastname@example.org. For images of previous projects by Witkin, visit www.awitkin.com and for a tightly edited selection, visit www.theodoreart.com