--Robert Jackson, “WHAT IS THERE?” AN INTRODUCTION TO OOO AND ART (PART 1)”, Bad At Sports, January 22, 2013
Object Oriented Ontology, also known as “Speculative Realism”, occupies a new philosophical position in logical space, attempting to define a set of theses about all that is. According to proponents of “OOO” (as the cool kids dub the doctrine), objects are all that there is. And there are a lot of them. You’re an object; I’m an object; and all the crap between you and me, both living and nonliving, are objects. Under OOO, the conventional hierarchy of living matter vs. nonliving matter is effectively obliterated. Everything—people, potted plants, potholes, porn star posters, rolls of duct tape, and more—is an object that is scattered across the savannah of existence. All are equal and all are on the same plane, ontologically speaking. This “weird realism” (as the founder of OOO, Graham Harmon terms it) is an apt way of thinking about the “stuff” of the Anthropocene. Much of the matter that is carved up into discrete objects, each with its own epistemological and ontological status, will continue to exist in the post-human, weird world of a radically altered climate long after we’ve managed to render ourselves extinct. By training their lenses on the objects and assemblages of the Anthropocene, photographers Justin Baker and Danny Goodwin offer a glimpse into an alternate, speculative reality of the World of Things.
Baker’s still-life images, made with an ancient 8x10” wooden view camera, invites the viewer not only to stare at the arrangements of quotidian ephemera he’s gathered and presented, but to space out, drift off, and dream. In fact, to test the elasticity of that metaphor, his work more precisely resides in the space between waking and dreaming—whether drifting off or coming to. The paradox of coming to grips with something by letting go more completely is laid bare—diagrammed, in fact. Just follow the easy-assembly instructions and add water.
For Goodwin, the object is currency, part of a systematic staging. His photographs translate our believability of objects into an imitation of, or detour into, what we think we see. Hand-constructed environments and objects impersonate their virtual counterparts and reveal the circular logic that undergirds much of the current popular fascination with 3D printing and the “internet of things.” The familiar checkerboard grid of a transparent layer in Photoshop, which is now more a signifier of empty space than actual empty space, represents more than a passive, benign background and in fact, serves as a segue to an interrogation of veracity, photographic or otherwise.
Saturday January 7th
Danny Goodwin will deliver a talk “ “Beginning the End: Picturing the Anthropocene”” at 7pm
Saturday January 21st
Conversation between Justin Baker and Danny Goodwin 5pm
Closing Reception 6-8
Justin Baker grew up in Greenwich, NY. Justin has an Associate of Applied Science from Sage College of Albany, a BFA from Purchase College and a MFA from SUNY Albany (where he studied with Danny Goodwin). His photographic and video work has been shown in several solo and group shows including Means, Motive, Opportunity, The Front, New Orleans, LA; Howdy Doody, Collar Works Gallery, Troy, NY; Selected Works, BCB Gallery, Hudson, NY; Abstracted Reality, Jeffrey Leder Gallery, LIC, NY; In a Country Without Maps, Collar Works Gallery, Troy, NY; Photographic Being, Jeffrey Leder Gallery, LIC, NY; Family Blood, Yates Gallery, Siena College, Loudonville, NY; VOX IX, Vox Populi, Philadelphia, PA; Trust In Me, Field Projects Gallery, NYC, NY; Faculty Exhibit, Teaching Gallery @ HVCC, Troy, NY; 34th Photo Regional, Opalka Gallery, Albany, NY; Historical Past, Collar Works Gallery, Troy, NY. Justin teaches digital imaging and web art and design at Hudson Valley Community College. He currently lives in Troy, NY with his wife Kyra, daughters Lola and Rona, cats Lulu and Lilly.
Danny Goodwin is a native Texan, living and working in Albany, NY. His photographic, video and installation work has been seen in numerous solo and group exhibitions at Jack the Pelican Presents, Art Resources Transfer, Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, Momenta Art, and the Brooklyn Museum of Art, all in New York City, as well as the New Art Center in Boston, Massachusetts; California Museum of Photography in Riverside, California; Proposition Gallery in Belfast, Ireland; Washington Project for the Arts in Washington, D. C.; Penn State Altoona, Pennsylvania; Cartel Gallery, London, U.K.; Galerie Sans Titre in Brussels, Belgium; UKS in Oslo, Norway; and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. Goodwin is a 2005 Artists' Fellowship recipient of the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA). His publication credits include The Boston Globe, Influence Magazine, Details Magazine, i-D Magazine, Pierogi Press, The Brooklyn Rail, The New York Daily News, The Washington Post, The Seattle Times, The Ft. Worth Star-Telegram and The Albany Times Union. He is Associate Professor of Art and Head of Photography and Related Media in the Department of Art and Art History at the University at Albany, State University of New York. He has previously taught photography and digital imaging at both Purdue University and the Cooper Union School of Art and received an M.F.A. in Combined Media from Hunter College in 1992 and a B.F.A. in Photography from the School of Art at the University of North Texas in 1989.
 Cole, Andrew. Those Obscure Objects of Desire: Andrew Cole on the Uses and Abuses of Object-Oriented Ontology and Speculative Realism, Artforum, Summer 2015, pp. 318-23.
Top: Danny Goodwin, Duct Tape Decoy, 2014, Archival Pigment Print on Paper, ed of 4
Just Above: Justin Baker, Savanah, fern and rug, 2014, Archival Pigment Print on Paper, ed of 4
LABspace was founded and is directed by the artist Susan Jennings. The gallery is dedicated to experiments in curation, exhibiting category-busting and/or materially surprising contemporary art, and hosting performance art, screenings, readings and music that push the boundaries of categorization, participation and/or experience.
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