Jonathan VanDyke: "With One Hand Between Us"

A Performa 11 program.

Performance dates: Wednesday - Sunday, November 2 - 6, 2011 11:30am - 7pm

As part of Performa 11, Scaramouche is pleased to present a durational performance and installation by New York-based artist Jonathan VanDyke. "With One Hand Between Us" unfolds for forty hours over five days, from 11:30am-7:00pm each day, as three actors improvise a sexually-charged, silent psychodrama within an architectural framework of wall partitions and burlap scrims. Three sculptures punctuate the space, and perform the action of painting through a system of pipes and orifices that slowly drip paint onto the floor and actors.

These wall-based works dramatically re-orient domestic surfaces, as patterns derived from chair seats and wood flooring become strangely optical. The first sculpture is partially covered by a black rubber sheath, folded back to reveal a complex woven surface that re-articulates a 19th century "spider weave" chair back pattern. A second sculpture, woven from the inner bark of an ash tree, references Shaker seating. The third sculpture in the series abstracts wooden flooring with diagonal planks of green MDF. Over time, each sculpture (and the floor beneath it) becomes intensely stained and streaked by paint, their slow accumulations of color disorienting both surface and substrate in a manner that upends the dynamics of New York school abstract painting.

"With One Hand Between Us" elaborates upon VanDyke's recent performance at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, for which the artist stood in silent opposition to Pollock's seminal painting Convergence for one workweek, a nod to traditional labor practices. At Scaramouche, a space of goods and services is exchanged for a space of relations, as three performers - David Rafael Botana, Laryssa Husiak, and Anthony Wills Jr. - engage both with the sculptures and each other. Inspired in part by the films of Werner Fassbinder, where the hierarchies of power and gender are constantly in flux, the actors' performance is marked by protracted glances, fraught eroticism, and shifting relations, as verbal communication is exchanged for an almost illegible syntax of glances, gestures, and actions. Waves, head turns, and other prosaic movements become ambiguous signifiers, while relationships–familial, erotic, or otherwise–are formed, broken, and unpredictably displaced. Like the sculptures' changing surfaces, nothing is fixed. Rather, "With One Hand Between Us" sets up an order disrupted moment by moment, the mise-en-scène becoming marked by profane accumulations. Curated by David Everitt Howe.

Jonathan VanDyke is a visual artist based in New York City. His solo performance The Long Glance appeared at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York, in June of this year. In December he will mount a new performance and installation at The Power Plant in Toronto as part of the exhibition Coming After. VanDyke received an MFA in Sculpture from Bard College in 2005, and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2008. Recent solo shows include Scaramouche, NYC, and HQ, Brooklyn, both in 2009; fivesevendelle, Boston, in 2010; Pocket Utopia, Brooklyn, and University of Rochester, NY, in 2007. Selected group exhibitions include Socrates Sculpture Park, NY, and Islip Art Museum, NY, in 2005, and Exile Gallery, Berlin, in 2009. His work has been reviewed in Artforum, Time Out New York, White Hot, and Artslant; a major profile appeared in Modern Painters in April 2009.