Ratio 3 is pleased to announce the fifth phase of our current exhibition, The Present Tense. On Saturday, June 3, The Present Tense will transition from a two-artist exhibition of works by Ben Peterson and Zach Bruder to a new two-artist exhibition, featuring a portfolio of drypoint etchings by Louise Bourgeois alongside recent paintings by Brooklyn-based Zach Bruder.
This phase of The Present Tense features an intergenerational pairing of artists who, despite working decades apart, both offer a blend of humor and earnest representation through illustrative mark-making. Both artists’ works are simultaneously figurative and darkly comical, finding new metaphors in familiar subjects and objects. Where Bruder’s images explore how imagery from existing myths and folklore can embody new narratives, Louise Bourgeois finds allegory through her imaginative representation of the human body.
Throughout the eleven prints comprising the Anatomy series, Louise Bourgeois’s distinctive and understated lines depict the human body as much more than a strictly biological subject. Bourgeois’s bodies are fragmented objects and emotive beings. Though each image is legible and recognizably related to the human form, none is anatomical in the usual descriptive sense; instead Bourgeois emphasizes the ways in which our anatomy is architectural, alien, and cosmic.
By reinterpreting familiar subjects, whether drawn from well-known iconography or from the universally familiar human form, both Bruder’s paintings and Bourgeois’s etchings offer personal interpretations of how we inhabit the world and our bodies. Each artist produces work that reflects their fascination with, and alienation by, inherited culture and mythologies.
The Present Tense emphasizes the perpetual nature of artistic thought and production. It is a platform to introduce new practices, reinterpret familiar bodies of work, and respond immediately to artists in an urgent moment. The Present Tense is a group exhibition drawn across time, a series of two-artist conversations, a continuous rotation surveying several artists’ practices, and an invitation for discourse.