Greg Haberny: Rise Then Shine
Angell Gallery is pleased to present Rise Then Shine, an exhibition by New York-based Greg Haberny featuring new wall-mounted assemblages and ceramic works. This is Haberny’s second solo exhibition at Angell Gallery, with an opening reception on September 8th, and on view through October 7th.
“Breaking things down in a quest to build something new,” is how Greg Haberny describes his approach to art making. His is a process of re-assemblage, repurposing materials and previous works that are chopped up and recombined into new pieces, imparting a gritty, witty, and spontaneous feel, but presenting their own internal logic. The phrase ‘controlled chaos’ comes to mind when viewing his installations.
Haberny’s current exhibition has been inspired by his recent time working on ceramics and painting in Bombay Beach, California, a desolate desert town 30 miles from Mexico. Ceramics have seen a resurgence in the past decade, with artists like Arlene Shechet, Sterling Ruby and Aaron Angell pushing its limits. Like these artists, Haberny messes with art-historical forms and materials, combining elements of Arte Povera, CoBrA, Abstract Expressionism and Pop. Shards of porcelain, the ashes of his own burned paintings, and twists of wire combine with salvaged objects—the detritus of popular culture and the street – and spray paint, oils and acrylics in works that reflect anxiety around the unsustainability of mass consumer society.
Working with ceramics means Haberny must leave elements to chance. At times, the challenges of working with clay have made him feel “ridiculously” emotional. “But, you learn to let go; the laws of nature take over in the kilns and they’ll do what they do,” he says. “I love working with my hands, and the pushing and pulling and throwing of clay provides an immediate satisfaction. It’s physical and magical, and requires great concentration. It’s been unbelievably gratifying.”
Haberny is also interested in the psychological impact experiencing an object in a space has on a viewer, creating works that seem to defy the confines of the surrounding physical space. “There is a psychology behind the breaking down and rebuilding in my work,” he explains. “It’s not done in anger, but as a search for something more – a different angle, a different perspective. Sometimes art can feel narcissistic; in painting, the artist can control what the audience sees. So, to work without this safety net is incredibly freeing.”
Greg Haberny graduated from the University of Connecticut and received his Master’s degree in Media Studies/Film from Sacred Heart University. His work is in notable international private collections, and has been exhibited internationally, with shows in London and New York, as well as being included in Banksy’s Dismaland installation in 2015 in the UK. Haberny is represented in New York by Catinca Tabacaru.
Photos: Glen Biltz