David Packer: Machina

David Packer

Curated by Bonnie Rychlak

March 6 – April 12, 2015

Friday, April 3rd | 7-10PM
featuring a special musical performance by Wil Farr

From the seemingly unending number of apocalyptic novels and subsequent movie adaptations, to the newfound relevance of modern classics, dystopias have made a cultural resurgence, reflecting the world’s growing unease with the surveillance state and government secrets, intensified by seemingly capricious urban bombings and terrorist acts.

On display at ArtHelix, hanging by chains from a 14-foot ceiling are David Packer’s blood red V8 engines that impose a demanding presence. A slaughterhouse trope perhaps or automobile shop initiatives, these finely crafted ceramic representations of the powerful Detroit engine allude to more than a degraded city or lost suburban consumers aspirations. The fast and beefy V8 machine is indeed a symbol of accelerated power but today it is directly associated with Detroit and the capitalist demise of a once powerful American city. The V8 engine ideal is now as hollow and useless as Packer’s ceramic renditions.

But the useless blood red V8s in this exhibition, as remains of a larger machine, read less like a metaphor for a derelict American city than for the “infernale machine” or “Buda Wagon.” In 1920, after the arrest of his comrades Sacco and Vanzetti, Mario Buda parked his horse-drawn wagon in the financial district of Manhattan, directly across from J. P. Morgan Company. Mario Buda disappeared before the explosion. Buda’s Wagon was, in essence, the prototype car bomb.

The V8 engines seen in relationship to David Packer’s other hardwearing objects, colorful ceramic bidons (water canisters), found dwarfed trucks transformed by rust, a decorative ceramic helicopter, and schematic drawings of airports, reinforce the darker reading of the V8s.

Plastic is the new ceramic in most third world countries and this fact was not lost on Packer while he was on a Fulbright in Morocco in 2013. The ubiquitous ceramic bidons were once a beautiful artisanal tradition in North Africa. The blue and white glazed ceramic water canisters are nowadays only produced in plastic but Packer flips the cultural switch back and casts the plastic bidons into brightly colored ceramic water vessels (or gas canisters) positing a suggestion of another fallen praxis.

Also on view are metal toy trucks or a miniature army of trucks but somehow they do not seem all that playful. In fact, there is an aggressive gesture in the way in which they are installed; lined up, side by side, constructing a wall of impasse. But on closer look, the little trucks are rusted and immobile, suggesting they were used, degraded, and now useless. Abandoned in a desert storm perhaps.

In the next room of the gallery is a ceramic helicopter that presents a visual twist on the airborne war machine. The surface of the helicopter is covered in cheerful colored decals of daisies. Is there nothing sinister here? Only a whirlybird that brings to mind Ride of the Valkyries from Apocalypse Now. The maps surrounding the hanging helicopter underpin this impression. Beautifully conceived and meticulously drawn, Packer has illustrated the schematic outlines of various airports, as seen by a drone or satellite. The runways and outlines of the airports in such places as Karachi, Addis Ababa, and even far-flung Las Vegas, deepen a sense of surveillance and foreboding.

There’s a long-standing tradition of ignoring the warnings of future-conscious artists and creative thinkers, but we do so at our own peril: deliberating dystopias can still teach us about ourselves and about how to alter our future. David Packer’s exhibition ingeniously helps us consider our situations.

Image Caption – The Last of the V8s; 40” x 21” x 28” each; cast ceramic with auto paint
image and installation: John Michael Kohler Art Center

Type Indicators

Type Indicators

Type Indicators
February 13 – March 1, 2015
OPENING RECEPTION: Friday, February 13 | 6-9PM

Curated by Wilson Duggan

Featuring work by:

Daniel Djuro-Goiricelaya     Jayne Holsinger     Joana Ricou     Marina Ross     Nancy Baker     Patrick Farrar     Scott Robinson     Burr Dodd
Beata Chrzanowska     Christopher Tandy     Drew Van Diest     Jaynie Crimmins
Maya Meissner     Peter Hopkins     Shani Ha     Eliot Markell
Joshua Liebowitz     Margaret Lanzetta     George Horner
Vincent Stracquadanio     Brian Kenny     Jon Newman     Tom Kotik
Elizabeth Shoby     Erin Hael     Fanny Allié     Marcy Rosenblat
Michele Hemsoth     norton     Sara Jean-Baptiste     Wilson Duggan
Alyssa Maurin     Anne Gilman     Jeanne Tremel     Lynne Stone
Merav Ezer     Stephi Kix     Christopher Stout     David Packer
Linda Schmidt     Nico Dodd

Type Indicators is an exhibition concept and research project that explores the relationship between personality, identity, and artistic self-expression using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, or MBTI, is a decades-old series of questions designed to assess how people interact with the world, both around them and within themselves. The questionnaire, first developed in the 1960’s and based on Jungian psychological principles, focuses on four fundamental questions. The combined response to these questions reveals a four letter score that identifies one of sixteen possible personality types.

1. Are you outwardly or inwardly focused? (Introverted or Extroverted)
2. How do you prefer to digest information? (Sensing or INtuition)
3. How do you prefer to make decisions? (Thinking or Feeling)
4. How do you prefer to live your external life? (Judging or Perceiving)

The aim of our project is to use these established psychological categories to examine the relationship between an artist’s personality and the artwork they create. Type Indicators will feature work by over 40 different artists, curated according to their Myers-Briggs personality types. The participating artists were brought together over several months, in response to an open call for participants.  The exhibition will also include a presentation of the data we collect, a kind of snapshot “personality map” of artists in Bushwick and beyond.

Our aim is to start a conversation within the community about our behavioral predilections and to potentially illuminate unlikely similarities between unlikely people. With the data and art we collect from Bushwick’s generous and open community, we hope to mount an exhibition that beautifully illustrates the connections between art and the people and personalities behind it.

Can You Move It All Up One Inch: Part Three

Can You Move It All Up One Inch: Part Three
The Art Handlers of the Whitney Museum
February 6 – 15, 2015
Opening Reception: Thursday, February 5th | 6-9PM

Curated by norton

Featuring work by:

John Gatti      Chris Burton      Jason Phillips      Rob Lomblad     Butcher Walsh
Ken Madore      Robert Gerhardt      Natalee Cayton      Greg Reynolds
Royce Weatherly      Pablo Narvaez      Jesse Gelaznik / Dirty Churches / Wanting Hour

Transworld Holiday from DIRTY CHURCHES on Vimeo.

Can You Move It All Up One Inch: Part One

Can You Move It All Up One Inch: Part One
The Art Handlers of the Whitney Museum
January 9 – 18, 2015
Curated by norton

Featuring work by:

norton     Chris Ketchie     Patrick Paine     David Miller
Richard Bloes     Joshua Rosenblatt     Tom Kotik     Ian Jones

A big thank you to Adam Weinberg, Donna de Salvo, and all the staff at the Whitney for their support of the exhibition and attendance at the opening reception.

Don’t miss Part Two, opening Friday, January 23rd.

Photos courtesy of Butcher Walsh


Jene Highstein: The Cape Breton Drawings


Jene Highstein
The Cape Breton Drawings

January 9 – February 8, 2015
Opening Reception: January 9, 2015 | 6-9PM

Curated by Bonnie Rychlak

ArtHelix is pleased to present an exhibition of drawings by the acclaimed artist, Jene Highstein. Made between 2008 and 2010, these drawings are part of the Cape Breton Drawings series that ArtHelix first presented in its inaugural exhibition in 2013.

Organized by artist and curator, Bonnie Rychlak, these drawings or watercolors on rice paper have obvious associations to landscapes with an immediacy of saturated color that bursts from the surface while the pigment is also clearly soaked deep into the paper, creating an ambiguity of density and weight on an almost ephemeral surface.

This selection of the Cape Breton Drawings exhibit an audacious yet soft and light use of color, horizontal eruptions that almost, but do not quite, establish narrative. The beauty of Highstein’s island surroundings on Cape Breton is illustrated as the drawings reveal the ability of nature to alter one’s consciousness.

As Highstein explained to Janet Goleas in an interview in 2013, his Cape Breton Drawings developed over time, more as collaboration with nature than as aesthetic observation. Highstein explained that he absorbed the natural world around him, intuiting it and recalling it in his mind’s eye when he retreated to the studio. He noted that in Chinese landscape painting, artists don’t paint on site — they absorb the landscape and carry it with them — painting it not only from memory but also from a psychic, or perhaps spiritual, connection.

Can You Move It All Up One Inch

Can You Move It All Up One Inch
The Art Handlers of the Whitney Museum

January 9 – February 15, 2015
Curated by norton

ArtHelix is thrilled to host Can You Move It All Up One Inch, an exhibition trilogy featuring work from the art handlers of the Whitney Museum of American Art.

January 9 – 18, 2015
Reception: January 9 | 6-9PM
norton      Chris Ketchie      Patrick Paine      David Miller
Richard Bloes      Joshua Rosenblatt      Tom Kotik      Ian Jones

January 23 – February 1, 2015
Reception: January 23 | 6-9PM
Patrick Burns      Eliza Proctor      Joe Leavenworth      Al Padrino
Sarah Anderson      Ryan Brown      Tom Burckhardt
Caitlin Bermingham      Chris Lesnewski

February 6 – 15, 2015
Reception: February 5 | 6-9PM
John Gatti      Chris Burton      Jason Phillips      Rob Lomblad     Butcher Walsh
Ken Madore      Robert Gerhardt      Natalee Cayton      Greg Reynolds
Royce Weatherly      Pablo Narvaez      Jesse Gelaznik / Dirty Churches / Wanting Hour

Claudia Chaseling: The Mutants

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Claudia Chaseling
The Mutants

January 9 – February 8, 2015
Closing Reception: February 6, 2015 | 6-9PM

ArtHelix is pleased to present an exhibition of paintings, works on paper, and video by German artist Claudia Chaseling.

Chaseling’s work comprises large scale paintings and installations. Chaseling creates upside down landscapes with reversed or distorted perspectives. The imagery of her spatial paintings consists of estranged landscapes, mutated creatures and plants whose deformation is caused by radiation. The experience of the works alternates between the two and three-dimensional. Chaseling addresses the antagonistic relationship between structure and chaos, creating new compositions from a state of disorder. The result is an amor- phous system of complex fragments reminiscent of light reflections and objects in form of capsule-like creatures. She creates an atmosphere of alienation searching for the undiscovered Zeitgeist.

Claudia Chaseling was born in Munich, Germany and lives in Berlin and Canberra, Australia. She received Masters degrees in Visual Art from both the Berlin University of the Arts and the Australian National Univer- sity in Canberra. Recent exhibitions include solo presentations at the Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, Germany; Galerie Kornfeld, Berlin; Collection Krohne, Duisburg and Volta 10, Basel, Switzerland. Major grants and scholarships received include the DAAD; the Samstag Scholarship; the Studio Award of the Karl Hofer Society and the Australia Council for the Arts. She has participated in residencies at Burlington City Arts, the Texas A&M University and Yaddo.

Elizabeth Gourlay: New Work

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Elizabeth Gourlay
New Work

January 9 – February 8, 2015
Closing Reception: February 6, 2015 | 6-9PM

ArtHelix is pleased to present a new series of paintings by the artist Elizabeth Gourlay.

“I think of the work as a meditation on color and form. The drawings and paintings emerge from a gradual yet progressive meditation that leads to a complex network of shifting shapes and colors. The shapes and lines create my own vocabulary of abstract forms. They are resonances with inner emotional states, elements of feelings or sub-conscious thoughts combined with conscious thought about color, form and geometric structure.

I often begin with a background layer of washes and then work with elements of line and shape in the foreground. The color may become muted and minimal, admixing into greys and earth tones or they may be vibrant and intense. There are parallels in musical composition, as looking at the work is a dynamic interaction and the eye moves around the piece element to element. The result is a play of tones, chords, dissonances and harmonies.”


– Elizabeth Gourlay, 2014

Following a fellowship at the Yale/Norfolk Summer School of Music and Art, Elizabeth Gourlay went on to receive a BA with First Class Honors from Edinburgh College of Art in Scotland, and an MFA in painting from Yale University School of Art. She has been awarded several grants and fellowships, including two Individual Artist Grants from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts. Elizabeth shows her work nationally and internationally, most notably at The Drawing Center, MASS MoCA, The National Academy and School of Fine Arts, The Cummings Arts Center at Connecticut College, The Hecksher Museum and the Widener Gallery at Trinity College.

Blick in Bushwick


Blick in Bushwick
Dec 13 – 21, 2014

Curated by Jackie Cantwell and Wilson Duggan

ArtHelix is thrilled to host Blick in Bushwick, a curated exhibition of outstanding work from the associates of Blick Art Materials.

A. Demetrius Felder
Amanda Menezes
Andrew McCoy
Ann Marie Amick
Bryant Castro
Carlos Williams
Chris Gonzalez
Curtis Andrews
Daphane Love
Eleisia Richardson
Felix Caballero
Gavin Weir
James McDonough
Jose Londono
Josephine Tam
Julius Pearson
Karina Antigua
Katarra Peterson
Lance Laurie
Luan Gashi
Macey L. Brady
Mark Fionda
Megan Westgate
Melissa Tolve
Mustafa Allsop
Pata Llano
Sahdir Ellis
Samantha Philbert
Sara Jean-Baptiste
Whitney Meredith