Karen Sargsyan solo exhibition at AMBACH & RICE – Los Angeles, CA

November 15th, 2011 by

Karen Sargsyan, Prisoners of Conscience, 2011, courtesy of AMBACH & RICE and the artist

November 19 – December 28, 2012
Opening reception: Saturday, November 19, 2011, 6-8pm

AMBACH & RICE is pleased to announce Prisoners of Conscience, a sculptural installation by Armenian artist Karen Sargsyan inspired by political prisoner Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Over the last six years Sargsyan has established a distinct visual vernacular through his dynamic figurative paper sculptures.

Sargsyan perceives paper as a material rich in historical connotation and significance. Paper has long been relied upon as the primary means of recording and transmitting information. Sargsyan utilizes the materials’ loaded meaning to express the human condition in grand tableaux vivants. His layered, folded and painted paper figures are imbued with lifelike gestures and emotions that belie the typically flat and static nature of the material. From afar Prisoners of Conscience is reminiscent of an unruly medieval carnival in which figures appear consumed in Dionysian revelry. It is not until one places themselves amongst the unruly cast that tragedy and torment begin to surface.

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Alon Levin solo exhibition at AMBACH & RICE – Los Angeles, CA

September 3rd, 2011 by

September 3 – October 8, 2011

AMBACH & RICE is pleased to present Conclusion to the Big Ideas, Berlin and Den Hague based artist Alon Levin’s first solo exhibition in Los Angeles. The exhibition will coincide with the U.S. release of Levin’s second monograph, Modernity in Very General Terms, a compendium that spans ten years of projects and writings by the artist. The publication will serve as an informal guide to the exhibition while providing an overview of the first stage of the artist’s career.

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Pablo Pijnappel solo exhibition at Ambach and Rice – Seattle, WA

March 10th, 2011 by

Pablo Pijnappel: Fontenay-aux-Roses, Jeune Fille, 2010, courtesy Ambach & Rice and the artist

February 26 – March 27, 2011

Ambach & Rice is pleased to present Fontenay-aux-Roses, an exhibition of new works by Berlin based artist Pablo Pijnappel. The exhibition marks the artist’s first U.S. solo presentation. Fontenay-aux-Roses, a cinematic work comprised of projected black and white slides accompanied by audio narration, will serve as the keystone of the exhibit. Below Pijnappel shares a candid and biographical meditation on the impetus for the work.

Pablo Pijnappel: Fontenay-aux-Roses, Allée, 2010, courtesy Ambach & Rice and the artist

“The first time I watched La Jetée (1963) the quintessential film by Chris Marker, made of solemnly still images was during a class on experimental film by the British filmmaker Guy Sherwin, while I was an exchange student in the San Francisco Art Institute. It was shown from a beautiful 16mm copy in the original French version with English subtitles. It had a special resonance to me since it takes place in Paris, the city where I was born, but which I left at a very early age. I felt that my own memories of that city, which still remain very strong recollections, fit the idea of a certain type of nostalgia endorsed by the main character of the film I believe that Marker is dealing in many ways with his trauma of the occupation in WWII (he was part of the resistance, where, some say, he earned his nom de guerre from compulsively keeping notes).

Pablo Pijnappel: Fontenay-aux-Roses, Caroussel, 2010, courtesy Ambach & Rice and the artist

From then on, La Jetée became my favorite film of all times, and as I have watched it over and over again I learned to prefer the English version, which I have heard Marker also favors himself. That class was not only crucial to my practice for introducing me to that film, but also because, somewhat paradoxically, I understood there was another way of reading films as we watched the whole history of avant-garde filmmaking (Michael Snow, Bruce Conner, Stan Brakhage, etc) – including Sherwin’s own astonishing black and white films that lay somewhere very closely between the realms of photography and cinema. Like most avant-gard filmmakers, he liked to express a certain disdain of narrativity something I never shared, in fact I’m very drawn to narratives the only exception being La Jetée. It may have something to do with Sherwin’s self-proclaimed incapability of following a story when watching a film: he said his mind would drift every time a certain image or a moment in the story line stroke a chord in his thoughts, triggering a chain of associations, to the point where often he would find himself in a part of the plot that seemed totally incomprehensible to him as if he had just started watching it.

Pablo Pijnappel: Fontenay-aux-Roses, Dinosaure, 2010, courtesy Ambach & Rice and the artist

In Rio, as a child, whenever I would go with my parents to the cinema, it was not uncommon that we would arrive so late that half of the film had already being played. I grew accustomed to have to infer what had preceded in the plot. Back in the 80′s, cinemas in Brazil usually screened the same film through the course of a day and evening, and you were allowed to stay and watch it as many times as you would like. That consented me and my parents to never feel too pressed in being on time since we could just wait until the reel was rewound and watch the part of the film that we had missed. It was with great expectation that I watched the end credits roll by, as the other spectators left, then the trailers while the new public took their seats, and finally, confirm my suspicions about the beginning of the story, despite that it seldom lived up to the versions I had rendered in my mind.

Pablo Pijnappel: Fontenay-aux-Roses, Still, 2010, courtesy Ambach & Rice and the artist

In the 90′s, when it became fashionable to have films with a plot structure where act 3 would come in the beginning and act 1 in the end, the so called “3, 2, 1″ structure, the most well known example being Tarantino’s films, it was probably derived from the cable TV culture where while zapping through dozens of channels you could land many times in a random part of a film, most of the times of mediocre quality, that became invigorated by the mystery concerning the nature of its story; like when you overhear a conversation between strangers in a subway which inevitably is interrupted when either of you have to leave the train and you’re left with a cliffhanger (to be continued…). The storytelling here is more about conjecturing what the story is, rather than being taken by the hand towards a rollercoaster of dramatic pathos.

Sigmund Freud in his first book, The Interpretation of Dreams, mentions that our recollection of a dream is nothing but a constructed memory of a far more fragmented and irrational unconscious impulse. In fact, Freud says that as we remember the dream we adjust events in a more coherent order and perhaps fill in the remaining gaps of an illogical dream sequence with ready-made thoughts from previous dreams or fantasies (e.g., day-dreams). He names this reflex of consciousness ‘Second Revision’; he claims it to be the same agent of our subconscious that makes optical illusion during our waking time possible, or sonorous illusion, for that matter (like hearing our name being shouted by a complete stranger, only to realize that the word uttered was actually very different).

Pablo Pijnappel: Fontenay-aux-Roses, Still, 2010, courtesy Ambach & Rice and the artist

I like to see the making of my stories, in essence, as investigations about stories where the product is like a forensics analysis: areas get fenced out to be examined, and evidence is removed from where conclusions can be drawn, but it leaves the connecting of the dots entirely to the viewer – who becomes the de facto investigator.

Georges Perec brilliantly makes a parallel between the storyteller and the jigsaw maker in the introduction of his novel “La Vie mode d’emploi” (Life: User’s Manual)”, which, for its narrative structure, uses the room-by-room description of a residential building in Paris: “We ended up deducing what is without a doubt the ultimate truth of the puzzle: despite appearances it’s not a solitary game: each gesture that the player does, the puzzle maker has done before him; each piece which he fetches or fetches for a second time, which he caresses, each combination which he attempts and attempts again, each trial and error, each intuition, each hope, each discouragement, have been decided, calculated and studied by the puzzle maker.”

Pablo Pijnappel was born in Paris in 1979 to Dutch and Brazilian parents. He attended the Gerrit Rietveld Academy, Amsterdam, which was followed by a scholarship to the Rijksakademie, Amsterdam. He has exhibited throughout Europe and the U.S. His work appears courtesy of Galerie Juliette Jongma, Amsterdam and carlier | gebauer, Berlin. Pijnappel currently resides in Berlin.

5107 Ballard Avenue, NW

Seattle, WA 98107

Tel.: 206-789-6242


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Ambach and Rice represents Alon Levin, Karen Sargsyan, Ron van der Ende and others at the Armory Show – New York City

March 2nd, 2011 by

Ron van der Ende, Drifting North, 2010, courtesy Ambach & Rice and the artist

March 3 – 6, 2011

Ambach & Rice gallery from Seattle, WA represents: Grant Barnhart, Ellen Lesperance, Alon Levin, Roy McMakin, Jeffry Mitchell, Abigail Reynolds, Karen Sargsyan, Martina Sauter, Eric Yahnker, Ron van der Ende.

Alon Levin, The fake, the future and the finite (A commemoration of the absolute in the 21st Century) Part 1: Sun, Rainbow, Arch, (reinvented), 2007, courtesy Ambach & Rice and the artist

Karen Sargsyan, Untitled (Abroad Understanding), 2009, courtesy Ambach & Rice and the artist

The Armory Show – Pier 94
Tel: 206-789-6242


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Ron van der Ende solo exhibition at Ambach and Rice Gallery – Seattle, WA

March 27th, 2010 by

March 27 – May 2, 2010

AMBACH & RICE is pleased to announce A Shallow Wade, the second U.S. solo exhibition by Rotterdam based artist Ron van der Ende.

A Shallow Wade marks significant advances in the construction and composition of Van der Ende’s virtuosic salvaged wood bas-reliefs while alluding to an increased narrative complexity. The bas-relief represented in A Shallow Wade are the result of over a year and a half of work by the artist.

Van der Ende’s distinct bas-reliefs inhabit a median between paining and sculpture. His labor-intensive process entails salvaging wood doors; furniture and other building materials that are later deconstructed and cut into thin veneers with the worn paint layers left intact. These reclaimed wood surfaces are then collaged onto plywood forms that result in dramatic tromp l’oeil wall mounted sculptures.

Through his sculptures Van der Ende aims to emulate the sensation of observing feats of engineering and heroism through a child’s eyes in what he has described as a tribute to "basic boyish enthusiasm." The sculptures presented in A Shallow Wade maintain the visceral magnitude of past works but eschew innocent impressions in favor of dissonant political and societal realizations.

A Shallow Wade is rooted in American culture expressed through a seemingly disparate collection of sculptural emblems that examine economic disparity, human resilience, and political conspiracy. The exhibit includes six bas-reliefs, Prairie Church, Limo 1, NASCAR Charger, On Re-Entry (Burning Log), Shotgun Shack Row and Taylor-Burton. Each workexploits the space between the image, the idea and the object. Together the works emanate a quiet empathy for mankind, exalting equal measures of strength and vulnerability.

Limo 1, a monochromatic rendering of the Cadillac Fleetwood, was the vehicle Ronald Reagan was whisked away in following John Hinckley’s assassination attempt in front of the Washington Hilton Hotel in 1981. The ominous and seemingly sinister presence of Limo 1 operates on multiple levels, a compromised symbol of political power that once appeared impervious to threat, and a suggestive emblem of the corporate growth that rose out of deregulation and low taxes, tenets of Reaganomics.

Works such as Taylor-Burton and Shotgun Shack Row initiate a stark contrast between affluence and poverty. Taylor-Burton is an imposing oversize representation of the teardrop diamond gifted to Elizabeth Taylor by then husband Richard Burton in the sixties while both were at the height of their careers. At the time it was the most ever paid for a precious stone. The allure, vulgarity, and majesty of the stone are not diminished in Van der Ende’s interpretation. But in proximity to Shotgun Shack Row the diamond adopts more violent connotations, bringing to mind the human cost of such extravagance. An aerial view of houses reminiscent of New Orleans’ 9th Ward neighborhood, Shotgun Shack Row calls to mind the view from a police or news helicopter. The work mirrors the resourceful nature of Van der Ende’s use of salvaged materials and the resilience of disenfranchised communities.

A Shallow Wade suggests a fractured American consciousness littered with dread and promise, excess and fortitude, perceived through the eyes of a weary visitor.

Ron van der Ende was born in Delft, Netherlands in 1965. He graduated from Academie van Beeldende Kunsten, Rotterdam, in 1988 and was an active member of artist collective Expo HenK from 1988 to 1997. His work has been exhibited extensively throughout Europe and is included in numerous public and private collections including Bouwfonds Kunstcollectie, Caldic Kunstcollectie, and Historisch Museum Rotterdam. The artist is currently based in Rotterdam.

5107 Ballard Avenue, NW
Seattle, WA 98107

Tel.: 206-789-6242


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Alon Levin solo exhibition at Ambach & Rice Gallery – Seattle, WA

February 13th, 2010 by

February 13 – March 21, 2010

AMBACH & RICE is pleased to present Art for the Masses, a solo exhibit featuring new works by artist Alon Levin. The exhibit examines and explores the modes and aesthetics of exhibition presentation by reintroducing and re-imagining scaled up plinths and other three dimensional exhibition displays as entities unto themselves. Levin’s works are separated into monochromatic groupings comprised of wood, oil on canvas, and alkyd on cardboard. The backside of the works reveals their raw wooden structures, which Levin describes as being reminiscent of “film sets or housing constructions.”

The exhibit was conceived during visits to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Levin became intrigued by the galleries in the museum that were in between exhibitions and the way in which the vacant plinths and displays transcended their utilitarian function, becoming abstracted forms and inconspicuous installations. On these visits Levin compiled and recorded lengthy notes, sketches, and images examining their varying surfaces, the effects of directional light on color, and the sculptural forms of the displays.

Art for the Masses seeks to consider distinctions between art and design, culture and commerce. Levin’s works suggest stages refused theater, absent are the rarefied objects the referenced Metropolitan Museum displays once hosted. These incomplete outsize displays become singular artworks that retain and enhance the meditative, semi-religious aura they endow on art objects and antiquities in museum and gallery settings.

But Levin’s works evoke connotations that extend beyond institutional reference. The exhibit could easily recall the remains of an out of business department store. Art for the Masses explores the intersection between institutional and commercial settings. Artists have long adopted artistic strategies that aim to embrace and articulate the relationships between consumer and viewer, mass consumption and cultural value. The Store (1961) Claes Oldenburg, European Fluxus, Fluxshop, Amsterdam (1964) and Supermarket, Andy Warhol (1965) Bianchini Gallery, New York are all prime examples. Unlike his Pop predecessors who re-contextualized and re-appropriated commercial iconography and merchandise, Levin alludes to the means in which we covet and historicize objects. Marcel Broodthaers once remarked, “The definition of artistic activity occurs, first of all, in the field of distribution.” Art for the Masses further literalizes this sentiment, by re-presenting and aestheticizing the architecture of cultural and commercial dissemination.

5107 Ballard Ave. N.W.
Seattle, WA 98107



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