John Stoney at The Boiler

Stay close to me, it will be dark soon
9 Sept – 9 Oct, 2010
Opening: Fri 9 Sept. 7-9pm

Press Release
Pierogi is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by John Stoney, on view at The Boiler. Stay close to me, it will be dark soon, will include video, sculpture, and pyrographic prints on paper, depicting elements of our galaxy, and referencing geological and architectural artifacts.

Stoney’s work often highlights man’s place within the larger scheme of things: historically, geologically, and otherwise. The works in his first exhibition at Pierogi, For Your Love, 2009, took as their focus the cross section between deep time, in the form of sculpture cast from an ancient petrified rock, and the highly subjective quality of the artistic view of landscape and nature. Through his new works, Stoney delves deeper into his fascination with vast geological time and pulls back the lens even further to expose the relative smallness of our position cosmologically. This work is about making visible processes that function at such grand scales that despite their ubiquity, or perhaps because of this ubiquity, they escape notice. The earth is constantly spinning on its axis but, for all intents and purposes, many of us still think the Earth and Sun revolve around us. Stoney’s perspective spans from the least to the most personal, and his project serves to give perspective and make sense of our place in the here and now. He writes,

The show is about, at midlife, looking to the sky for perspective. It’s about the night and all its grandiloquences on mortality and significance, and how all it purports can’t compete with the tenor of daily life, of birds waking up, and of thoughtful decisions on the comparative qualities of kitty litter. (Stoney, 2011)

This exhibition will include a video (“Midway Clock”) of the real-time movement of Jupiter and its visible Galilean moons across the sky above Texas on the evening of the artist’s 45th birthday. “The Speed of the Earth Series” is a group of videos of night sky objects taken at several different parallels—places of importance to the artist—Texas, Brooklyn, and upstate New York. Since the Earth’s rotational speed is 0 mph at the poles and increases to a top speed at the equator of 1037.58 mph, “[a]s part of the meaning of any place each degree of latitude travels at it’s own unique speed.” (Stoney, 2011)

“Nocturne,” one of three sculptures, is about a country at midlife. Taken from the plans of the US Capitol’s Corinthian columns, the sculpture is a ruin set in the distant future, with an Ivory Billed Woodpecker (currently extinct) apparently returned to pick insects off the decaying column. “Corner Piece #2” is a landscape portrait of the mountains that preceded the Hudson River School painters, and is comprised of rocks collected upstate from the sites of some of the most celebrated paintings of Church and Cole. The rocks are some of the remains of the last 400 million years of mountain building and eroding which shaped the current view. The third sculpture, “My Father’s Sky,” is a replica of the night sky as it appeared over the gulf coast at Galveston, Texas on October 16, 1965.

The works on paper are a combination of found images and Stoney’s own photographs of Saturn, the Moon, a variety of comets and constellations, among other images. Most are etched into the surface of soft, thick gray chipboard; blank areas are cut into the surface, imagery is left behind and thereby slightly raised. The resulting surface resembles that of soft and crumbly moon dust. Other works are laser etched through paper, the thinly burnt edges dark against ivory paper.

Stoney’s work has been widely exhibited in the US and elsewhere and was recently included in “Lives of the Hudson” at the Tang Museum (Saraotga Springs, NY). This will be his second one-person exhibition with Pierogi.