Andrew Edlin Gallery is pleased to present Brent Green's Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then, from April 17 through June 5, 2010. The show, his second solo exhibition in New York, coincides with the debut of his first feature-length film, of the same title, at IFC Center on May 7.
The exhibition and film both center around the true story of Leonard Wood, an unknown hardware-store clerk from Louisville, Kentucky, who worked tirelessly throughout the 1970s to create an original, bizarre (and since destroyed) residence. Wood hoped that his unimaginably tiered floors, vaulted ceilings, and twisted, heaving walls might somehow save his wife, Mary, from her terminal cancer. Following her death, Wood tuned his healing machine for another twenty years, before toppling from its roof, leaving him broke and incapacitated.
For Gravity, Green rebuilt Wood's home—along with four other houses, a handmade piano, a sixteen-foot glowing moon, and a giant, wooden God—on his rural Pennsylvania farm, following the crudely rendered plans Wood had scrawled on a piece of cardboard. For the exhibition, Green will install the full-scale house and its contents in the main gallery space, alongside a series of video projections and sculptures. Green describes his own journey creating Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then as, "an effort to leave something wonderful behind, which is exactly what Leonard did."
Green's work brings to mind the oeuvre of American artist/filmmaker Joseph Cornell (1903-1972), for its lack of guile and cobbled feel, while sharing an aesthetic affinity with Czech surrealist filmmaker Jan Svankmajer (b. 1934) and Swedish video artist Nathalie Djurberg (b.1978). However, his lyrical narration, along with the cadence and twang of his voice—which tremors through his films—more closely recalls Bob Dylan. A passed-down Appalachian wisdom permeates Green's hardscrabble fables yet, where Dylan is authoritative and concealed as a storyteller, Green is commanding but exposed, sharing a deep connection with his characters. He wrings hope from the discarded and disheveled to patch together a unique and personal Americana. His stop-motion animations, sculptures, and drawings hinge shakily around the paradox of life and death. Green's heroes are crooked, carved figures bathed in warm, flickering light. They speak and sing—from intone to exaltation—of American folklore, the final days of Beethoven and Thomas Edison, of deviant children trapped in Hell.
About the Artist
Brent Green (b. 1978) was born in West Virginia and lives and works in Cressona, Pennsylvania.
His work has been a regular feature at many film festivals, including Sundance (2006-09), BAM Next Wave (2007), and the Rotterdam International (2006). He has performed at the Wexner Center, Columbus, OH (2006), the J. Paul Getty Museum of Art, Los Angeles (2006), and The Kitchen, New York (2008). Other recent solo exhibitions include: SITE Sante Fe (2009); Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis (2008); Sculpture Center, Cleveland (2007); Bellwether Gallery, New York (2007). In 2005, Green was the recipient of a grant from Creative Capital.
Timeline of 2010 Events
In 2010, Green will present his work at several institutions across the U.S., including: Perpetual and furious refrain, Berkeley Art Museum (MATRIX program, opening May 2); SITE Sante Fe Biennial (June 20); American Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore, and Arizona State University Art Museum (both September); and DiverseWorks, Houston (Nov.5). His films and live performances will also be hosted by: the Museum of Modern Art, New York (May 6 and 8); IFC Center, New York (May 7-13); the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (June 15); Pacific Film Archives, Berkeley, CA (June 16); Cornell Cinema, Ithaca, NY (Sept. 24); EMPAC: Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, Troy, NY (Sept. 10); and Cinema Arts Festival, Houston (December 10-14).
Film premiere: Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then (2010). IFC Center, 323 Sixth Avenue, New York. Friday, May 7, 7 pm
Screening: Paulina Hollers (2006), featuring a live musical performance by Brent Green and Brendan Canty (Fugazi). The Museum of Modern Art [www.moma.org/visit/calendar/films/1056], 11 West 53rd Street, New York. Thursday, May 6, 7:00 pm and Saturday, May 8, 4:30 pm