Asya Geisberg Gallery is pleased to present new work by Rodrigo Valenzuela and Gabriela Vainsencher at the inaugural edition of PHOTOFAIRS, New York. The two artists share South American backgrounds, and each approaches photography as a blueprint for 3-dimensional interplay and cultural questioning.
Rodrigo Valenzuela’s newest series, Garabatos, depict his tableaux of wood and plaster sculptures painted white. Each image is meant to evoke figurative gestures of insults from varying nationalities, i.e. “flipping the bird.” The title Garabatos can be translated to "scrawl", however, colloquially, a garabato is also an insult screamed on the streets or stadiums in Chile. Valenzuela is interested in abstract gestures that are part of the collective lexicon, a desperate attempt to communicate. He analyzes the guttural social responses to unfairness and anger with nuanced, empathetic, and intriguingly aestheticized results.
Gabriela Vainsencher acquired a 1987 exhibition catalogue “Treasures of the Bible Lands,” which featured photographic documentation of the artifacts of the myriad ancient civilizations that lived in the Middle East. Vainsencher physically and conceptually mined the book by cutting up and layering the pages, and in turn producing photographs. By making holes in the photos, Vainsencher edited out the objects, leaving only negative spaces and the shadows cast on their lurid backgrounds. These ravaged pages became fuel for images that call to mind the holes in the ground after an archeological expedition has departed; or the memory left behind by something that has been taken away. They also point to the fraught relationship between the archeological record and claims of ownership over land and narrative in the Middle East.
Rodrigo Valenzuela (b. Santiago, Chile 1982) lives and work in Los Angeles, CA, where he is an Assistant Professor and Head of the Photography Department at UCLA. Valenzuela is the recipient of the 2021 Guggenheim Fellowship in Photography and Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship. He has received the Joan Mitchell Award, Art Matters Foundation Grant, and Artist Trust Innovators Award. Recent solo exhibitions include BRIC Arts Media, NY; Screen Series at the New Museum, NY; Lisa Kandlhofer Galerie, Vienna, AU; Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Eugene, OR; Orange County Museum, Santa Ana, CA; Portland Art Museum, OR; Frye Art Museum, Seattle, WA. Recent residencies include the Dora Maar Fellowship, Ménerbes, France; Fountainhead Residency, Miami FL; Core Fellowship at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Madison, ME; MacDowell Colony, Peterborough, NH; Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Omaha, NE; Lightwork, Syracuse, NY, and the Center for Photography at Woodstock, NY.
Gabriela Vainsencher was born in Buenos Aires, raised in Tel Aviv, and currently lives and works in Montclair, NJ. She received her MFA from Hunter College in 2016. Past solo and two-person exhibitions include CRUSH Curatorial gallery, NY, NY, A.I.R. Gallery, Brooklyn, NY, Hanina Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel; Musée d’Art Moderne André Malraux, Le Havre, France; Parker’s Box Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; NurtureArt, NY; and La Chambre Blanche, Québec City, Canada. Her work has been included in group exhibitions such as Marisa Newman Projects, NY, Bergamo Modern and Contemporary Art, Italy; Kunstforening, Tromsø, Norway; the Bronx AIM Biennial, NY, Pierogi Gallery, Brooklyn, NY, The Freies Museum, Berlin, and The National Gallery of Saskatchewan, Canada. Vainsencher has been reviewed in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Brooklyn Rail, and Artforum, among others. Residencies include Yaddo, The Atlantic Center for the Arts, Byrdcliffe Artist Residency, Triangle Arts Association (France), and La Chambre Blanche (Canada). She will be participating in the upcoming Jerusalem Biennale in Fall 2023. Vainsencher is the founder of the Morning Drawing Residency, and has written about art for Hyperallergic, Title Magazine and Tohu magazine.