Harmony Murphy Gallery is pleased to present Witness, an exhibition of new work by Joel Holmberg that opens Friday September 19th and runs through November 8th, 2014. For the inaugural show at HMG, Holmberg has assembled an array of mediums: painting, sculpture, video, and audio united by a humanizing approach to processing, circulating and capturing our built environment - be it the road signs of Ruscha or the coding of his personal website.
Extending beyond art that has been described as Post-Internet, Holmberg maps a new topography for visual culture that includes an updated understanding of our contemporary ways of seeing, collecting and interpreting information. His work is distinguished by an all-inclusive approach to the new and the antiquated: conventional questions are re-asked with up to date terminology and context, screens are worthy of having their portraits painted. In doing so, the artist reexamines the hierarchy of materials haughtily divided between the digital and virtual, the tactile and real, to suggest a heterogeneous petri dish where artist’s problems mingle with new resources.
Holmberg’s works rely on the vast and varied source materials of modern communication. He re-assigns images and information, calling out changes in our current visual landscape while simultaneously identifying the possibility of combinations that can arise from newly forged or as-yet-acknowledged connections. Mining a network where anything can be related, this sentiment continues to fuel the artist’s work in paintings such as A Great Global Disruption Loomed Behind Every Keystroke, 2014. He evokes the simplicity in our habits that can misconstrued as safe, and the naivety of our commerce and interactions that while made easy, can still be incredibly dangerous. As the artist puts it, “combining a limited palette of web safe colors from years past with the contemporary look of an online startup, the text both cheers and undermines the current entrepreneurial fascination with "Disruptive Innovation" as popularized by management guru Clayton Christensen. He elicits the irreconcilable nature of allowing unique experiences to manifest themselves within a quantifiable business environment.”
Having first garnered widespread attention for his seminal Legendary Account, 2007-2010, a work that engaged the oft-earnest commenters of Yahoo! Answers with more existential inquiries than usually headlined the message board, Holmberg gives equal clout to the answerers as he does to the questions. Included in this exhibition, the audio piece You'll Never Know Unless You Ask Yourself, 2014 is comprised largely of snippets of broadcast interviews from which Holmberg isolates a singular human voice to rise above the cacophony of media chatter. The conversation is then distilled to the heart of the matter; Each subject demands that their question be clarified, the agenda is redirected and the collective amplification quelled.
Joel Holmberg (born 1982, Bethesda, MD) holds a BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA (2005) and an MFA from Yale School of Art, New Haven, CT (2013). He has previously exhibited at the New Museum, New York, NY; Outpost, Norwich, UK; The Museum of the Moving Image, New York, NY; The 9th Shanghai Biennale, Shanghai, CN, The Sundance Film Festival, Park City, UT, Espace Gantner, Belfort, FR; Kettles Yard, Cambridge, UK. He is a member of the web based collective Nasty Nets and studied at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA and Yale University, New Haven, CT.