Norma Markley “paved X and leisurely looping Z”

Y Gallery (319 Grand St.)

poster for Norma Markley “paved X and leisurely looping Z”

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Y Gallery presents Norma Markley’s solo exhibition, paved X and leisurely looping Z. Markley’s reflection on cinema, and especially film noir, provides a thoroughfare to experiencing her portmanteau, her spread of souvenirs from a trip through American culture. Her current expansion on this theme—in cut paper collages, photographs, and neon—promises a captivating ride. From collages described as “wonderfully quiet and quirky” Markley deepens her reformatting of cinematic themes while responding to real-life violent stories.

Film noir allows us to tiptoe through the dark side of human nature. In her current show, Markley uses imagery from Touch of Evil, Blood Simple, Brown Bunny, and Lost Highway—along with inspiration from media coverage of violence and the detective novels that quickened her daily subway ride. She continues the filmmakers’ line of exploration into the “aesthetics of crime” that interested, notably, artists and intellectuals Karl Marx, Dostoyevsky, Thomas de Quincey, and Walter Benjamin.

Markley refers to film dialogue in blaring neon that refuses dismissal. She captures the suspense in before-or-after images of blank drive-in screens. Her photographs, strategically assembled, are like still traces in a crime scene. The total creates a loose narrative that modulates in tone. It appeals, in part, thanks to cute, somewhat ridiculous animal images, and out-of-context movie clips. They add necessary comic relief and counterintuitive poetic mystery to a timely, traumatic, yet all too quotidian, subject. The neon sign murdered remains as Markley’s own outrage to the murder of Trayvon Martin three years ago, for example. In movies, the perpetrators run, hence the highway scenes in paved X… But does this solve the chaos?

paved X and leisurely looping Z pits crime and art against each other as in film noir and detective stories. At Y Gallery, Markley has reenacted the crazy adventures in a visual narrative of her own making, in pursuit of a reassuring fixed point.

Norma Markley lives and works in New York. She received her BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art (1983) and her MFA from Columbia University (1985). Internationally, she has exhibited with one-person shows in the Netherlands, Belgium, and the US. She has participating in numerous group shows, among them: Queens International 2006, the Queens Museum Biennial; Art on Paper, Weatherspoon Art Museum 2006, and NextNext Art at the Brooklyn Academy of Music 2002. In 2003, she was the recipient of a NYFA New York Foundation of the Arts grant in Drawing.



from January 06, 2016 to February 05, 2016

Opening Reception on 2016-01-08 from 18:00 to 21:00


Norma Markley

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