Knockdown Center is pleased to announce a three-person show presented by John Furgason, Serban Ionescu, and Carlos Little: the first in a series of exhibitions destined for Knockdown’s outdoor boiler room structure. In this relic of a past industrial age, the three artists reappropriate themes of the classical temple in a dystopian ruin of enjoyment. The pavilion, a free-standing structure from an architectural tradition of luxury, power, and specifically pleasure, is juxtaposed with the etymology of “Maspeth,” meaning “bad waterplace.” This term comes from a native tribes’ name for the swampy region surrounding Newtown Creek. Contrasting the weathered texture of the space are a fresh body of works both familiar and abstract.
Furgason’s works transpose the geometry embedded in our culture into sculptures of everyday, engineered, cultural objects like pharmaceuticals, band aids, gun parts and drones. Removing practical function, he walks a thin line of representation and expression. His deadpan formal approach is countered by an emotive use of both lively and subdued color. Built like paintings from wood and stretched canvas, Furgason employs a handcraft mode of making the ‘American landscape of forms’, carefully positioning them like architectural elements in the temple.
Ionescu uses steel and canvas to present a group of works that modulate back and forth from abstraction to figuration, foreground to background. Hints of historical narrative, structures and figures emerge and are diffused over fields of color. The paintings appear to be the generator of forms and characters, providing the context for the planar, steel, alien-like characters that can be found throughout the pavilion. The steel sculpture works as a line when viewed on its edge, and a shape when viewed from other angles. Likewise, line becomes shape in the paintings, and both vibrate off the rain and steam-like backgrounds.
Little presents a series of sculptures made from building materials using tools found on any construction site. The bright, yellow freshness of exterior sheathing is adhered to dark, old growth lumber which is then crafted into feet, legs and other body parts. A section of wood flooring removed from an Upper East Side mansion serves as a pedestal while wood beams are carved into a temple altar of sorts. Little’s paintings on unprimed canvas and fabric are a playful use of color, line, geometry and rhythm with figures in profile visible through the line work. Like his brightly colored upper body sculpture, these characters are reminiscent of characters found on temple walls, residing in a cacophonous environment.