Exhibition: Edifying Lines for Sensitive Readers

JM Howey Edifying Lines for Sensitive Readers September 10 - October 23 2016

Just in time for school, Bureau presents “Edifying Lines for Sensitive Readers”, JM Howey’s second solo exhibition at the gallery featuring a new series of paintings and a group of new wooden and textile sculptures.

In a witty twist of self-appropriation Howey’s new paintings painstakingly scale-up the typewritten pages of syllabi distributed at the beginning of each semester. Like earlier series, these works invite a critical reading and are proportionally scaled to that of a page of paper. Using the readymade paint Torrit Grey, the paintings offer one-to-one renderings of the absurdly prescriptive language used to teach art in an academic setting. The syllabus paintings depict a systematized standard for the production of “satisfactory” artworks while allowing their bureaucratic format to become an end unto itself - containing both impetus and possible outcome within the same work. The paintings suggest improbably humorous and approximate answers to the impossible questions of what to paint, how to paint, why to paint and how a painting represents the artist.

This order and circular logic is echoed in the artist’s new bench sculptures, which offer a colorful counterpoint to the stark rendering of grey on white text. Howey’s use of contrasting textile and pattern introduce formal complexities and raise questions of taste while underscoring the artist’s attention to matters of composition and utilitarianism. The precisely proportioned layers of cushions stack and fill the benches to the point of oversaturation. Myriad patterns offer personalized zones of comfort and respite, however the crowded volumes of fabric deflect and complicate the negotiation of personal versus collective space.

JM Howey (b. 1973, lives and works in Brooklyn) received his MFA from Columbia University and his BFA from the School of the MFA, Boston. Recent solo exhibitions include: Stay in Bed, Standard (Oslo), 2015; Note to Self, Bureau, 2014; No One’s No-No, Taxter & Spengemann, New York, and The In Acts Out, Marginal Utility, Philadelphia, both 2010. Howey has exhibited at numerous other venues including: The Kitchen, New York; Team Gallery, New York; Night Gallery, Los Angeles. Howey will be a Chinati Foundation Artist in Residence in Marfa, TX in 2017. Download the artist's diagram for the show.