Codify Art presents SOURCE MATERIALS, a show of new work by five artists, at Bau Haus, a Brooklyn-based live/work studio, community art space, and Codify partner. This show marks Bau Haus' first anniversary! Come celebrate with us at our opening and afterparty.


@Bau Haus

Artists: Jarrett Key, Jonathan Key, Kat JK Lee, Kameron Neal, Hannah Lutz Winkler
Presented by Codify Art

April 30, 2016

The idea of the artist as solitary genius, working alone in their studio under the frenzy of sublime inspiration, has [mostly] been dethroned by the realities of contemporary practice. Removed from such a pedestal, artists have utilized a wealth of materials beyond those traditionally purposed for art-making—found objects, archival documents, other artworks—to create in a manner reflective of society’s holistic experience of the world. But this development introduces a complication. When the components comprising an artwork bring with them pre-existing utilities, purposes, and histories, does the artwork subsume them? Transcend them? Celebrate or fail them? Where are the edges of a composition? 

Through various mediums and from diverse directions, the five artists featured in SOURCE MATERIALS engage these questions and explore the potential for an ambiguity that enriches, rather than confuses, a finalized piece.

Jarrett Key’s paintings explicitly insert themselves into a specifically black (art) historical dialogue. With references ranging from Glenn Ligon to primary source diagrams of slave ships, Jarrett’s work does not pretend at an end in itself or an existence within a vacuum. Instead, it acts as a conduit, actively engaging in an existing conversation and leaving the door open for continuation.

Collage is an art form with an inherent tension, simultaneously a single piece and many pieces together. Jonathan Key utilizes this form to connect highly personal narratives to the nameless faces in civil rights photography. In this juxtaposition of vivid memory and the forgotten, a contemporary tableau revives that which was relegated to the archives, a second life that extends the half-life of both sides beyond their expected spans.

Drawing from such existing Internet phenomena as K-pop boy bands, fanfiction, and “mukbang” Youtube videos, Kat JK Lee creates their own canon of Korean-American Speculative Fiction in a process that directly confronts the accusations of derivativeness in South Korea’s fledgling sci-fi literary scene. This “creation-by-inference” method parallels Kat’s patchwork navigation of their racial and ethnic identity, where in every state, they find themselves as, at least partially, alien.

Kameron Neal shoots his own footage, but his videos denature completely the expected product of these filmings. Glitchy and often tongue-in-cheek, Kameron’s pieces highlight the frame as the primary unit of measure and splice the original shots in such a way as to antagonize his own material.

In Hannah Lutz Winkler’s paintings, art canvas and recycled fabrics occupy the same space in seeming disregard of their constructed differences. However, the intent is not to “elevate” the found scraps and old T-shirts. Rather, the presence of these fabrics recalls the physical intimacy and attachment humans have to textures/textiles and asks for a second look, a reconsideration, of the painting itself and painting as a form.

SOURCE MATERIALS endeavors to expand the edges of “composition” with work that showcases the histories of its components as much as the final art object; it seeks an engagement that arises from entering a dialogue as a player instead of a judge.