Artificial by Nature | Benrubi Gallery, New York | May 19 - July 1, 2016
       
     
 Installation view of main exhibition space
       
     
  Installation view of main exhibition space
       
     
 View of Sculpture and multi-panel wall installation   (metallic photographic paper, magnets, inkjet print on Acrylic, painted wood, 2-way mirror)
       
     
 View of Sculpture and multi-panel wall installation   (metallic photographic paper, magnets, inkjet print on Acrylic, painted wood, 2-way mirror)
       
     
 Installation view of  Black Palms  room  (glossy photographic paper, magnets, lights, speakers, soundscape)
       
     
 Installation view detail of  Black Palms  room  (glossy photographic paper, magnets, lights, speakers, soundscape)
       
     
 Installation view detail of  Black Palms  room  (glossy photographic paper, magnets, lights, speakers, soundscape)
       
     
Artificial by Nature | Benrubi Gallery, New York | May 19 - July 1, 2016
       
     
Artificial by Nature | Benrubi Gallery, New York | May 19 - July 1, 2016

Artificial by Nature continues the artist’s long exploration of distorted realities and altered perceptions, resulting in manipulations of light and color as sophisticated as they are seductive. 

The gallery’s main space features selections from Laval’s “Heterotopia,” a series of densely layered photographs of gardens and other manicured “natural” environments. Placing sheets of glass and one- and two-way mirrors in the composition, and employing skewed perspectives and extreme crops, the images in “Heterotopia” are suffused with the luminescence of stained-glass windows while possessing the uncanny charm of movie stills or extraterrestrial landscapes. Tiny stems appear tall as trees, while empty space fills up with clouds of color that swirl with the celestial movement of nebulas. Yet there are often traces of the unmanipulated scene left in the frame, reminding viewers that this is in fact a familiar world, and the only thing that’s changed is the way it’s perceived. Light, which we’re accustomed to think of as the medium we see through, is revealed for what it is: the medium that brings the images to our eyes, and that possesses layers far richer than what we normally see.

On view in the project room are selections from “Black Palms,” a series of images of Los Angeles palm trees, shot from below and solarized, leaving behind vast black fields jaggedly slashed with silver etchings. The zigzag tracings of the palm leaves recall photograms or the stylized manipulations of light in film noir (in which many of these trees once featured), while the inky gloss of the images simultaneously reflects viewers’ gaze and sucks them into an interstellar vastness. But as with the images in “Heterotopia,” the quotidian reality is discernible, leaving viewers with the uneasy yet uplifting suggestion that the world is what we think it is only because of long-held and often-unconscious patterns of association. There is always more to see.

 Installation view of main exhibition space
       
     

Installation view of main exhibition space

  Installation view of main exhibition space
       
     

Installation view of main exhibition space

 View of Sculpture and multi-panel wall installation   (metallic photographic paper, magnets, inkjet print on Acrylic, painted wood, 2-way mirror)
       
     

View of Sculpture and multi-panel wall installation 

(metallic photographic paper, magnets, inkjet print on Acrylic, painted wood, 2-way mirror)

 View of Sculpture and multi-panel wall installation   (metallic photographic paper, magnets, inkjet print on Acrylic, painted wood, 2-way mirror)
       
     

View of Sculpture and multi-panel wall installation 

(metallic photographic paper, magnets, inkjet print on Acrylic, painted wood, 2-way mirror)

 Installation view of  Black Palms  room  (glossy photographic paper, magnets, lights, speakers, soundscape)
       
     

Installation view of Black Palms room

(glossy photographic paper, magnets, lights, speakers, soundscape)

 Installation view detail of  Black Palms  room  (glossy photographic paper, magnets, lights, speakers, soundscape)
       
     

Installation view detail of Black Palms room

(glossy photographic paper, magnets, lights, speakers, soundscape)

 Installation view detail of  Black Palms  room  (glossy photographic paper, magnets, lights, speakers, soundscape)
       
     

Installation view detail of Black Palms room

(glossy photographic paper, magnets, lights, speakers, soundscape)