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Ryan Foerster


Saturday, March 26th – Saturday, April 30th, 2022


Ryan Foerster Night Swans, 2004 - 2022 C-Print, mounted on sintra and framed 50 x 75 in (127 x 190.5 cm)

FRICTIONAL ARCHAEOLOGY, Ryan Foerster’s first exhibition with Martos since 2012, examines the artist's wide-ranging practice through the prism of his photography. This exhibition highlights works from the last decade in which Foerster excavates technical slippages in the photographic medium and the apparatus of the camera, achieving plastic effects through manipulating and embracing faded emulsion, deteriorated film, defective lenses and chance occurrences in the darkroom. In his serial arrangements of photograms –such as Back to Black (2019) and Hockey Player String Photograms (2022) - Foerster manipulates a set of objects’ incremental movement through space, echoing Muybridge while eschewing shutter speed or documentation of real space. Communication Breakdown (2010 – 2022), created with expired film, depicts an abstract, centripetal rush of fluorescent dots on a black field, creating the impression the viewer is throttling into space. Also on view are traditional photographs such as Night Swans (2004 – 2022), such that the exhibition mingles the incidental with the precise, the playful with the masterful.

Foerster will also present new sculpture, which similarly harnesses the aesthetics of chance and defect. A series of aluminum casts serve as a three-dimensional analogs to the filmic process, underscoring the parallel use of negative space and form by each method. Foerster's body of work is relentlessly self-referential, but rather than as a modernist gesture of cold reflexivity, Foerster’s looping motifs reflect an ethos of preservation and renewal, with compost being a guiding theme both aesthetically and operationally throughout his work. In his sculpture, Foerster employs materials – aluminum and glass – that do not degrade, but rather have infinite potential to be melted down into new forms.

As part of this exhibition, Foerster has also designed a set of benches to be installed permanently in front of Martos Gallery for use by the local community. This is the third bench project Foerster has done for Martos: first in 2012 at Martos' 29th Street space, followed by his 2017 bench for the Elizabeth Street gallery, installed until its wood elements deteriorated in 2021. Both were collaborations with Lukas Geronimas. Foerster began building and designing benches as a pastime in 2010 with his grandfather in Sudbury, Ontario, and has since made them for various sites and exhibitions, with friends or independently. 

Foerster’s Martos exhibition coincides with his solo exhibition at the Harry and Virginia Murray Art Gallery, Southeastern Community College, Iowa, on view through April 15th, entitled Vienna Sausage.

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