Charles Bank Gallery, New York
In Interiors, Garrett Pruter’s second solo exhibition with Charles Bank Gallery, the artist introduces a new body of work focused on the repurposing of found 20th-century film negatives into new contexts through various subtractive processes.
Continuing his exploration of nostalgia, entropy, and mnenomic frailty, Pruter investigates images of interior space through three separate lenses: as a constructed personal and reflective realm, as a negative space enclosed within an exterior, and as the photograph's surface and internal structure. This expanded definition becomes important to Pruter’s process, as he employs various subtractive techniques through a range of mediums that all work to give new life to these domestic scenes through the erasure and deconstruction of the various layers of the photographs themselves.
Images of floral arrangements, cats, patterned tapestries, and birthday cakes are reproduced, broken down, and reassembled. These vernacular photographs, which Pruter expands upon as he repeats the forms and shapes commonly found within these scenes of domestic comfort, exist as evidence of their own ephemerality. The since-wilted (yet always-in-bloom) floral arrangements are used as compositional devices in the same way that the photographic scratches and smudges--marks of time that are indigenous to the aged photographs--are expanded upon.
The photographs' interiors are cut, bleached, and disintegrated to various levels in a body of work that ranges from collage to drawing to painting to installation. This range of mediums demonstrates photography’s transformative potential between the exterior and the interior as it is developed from negative into positive and ultimately, in this series of work, back into the ambiguous space between.
In the artist’s collages, reprinted archival inkjet prints of these same found images are cut and layered into compositions of subtractive elements. Mylar is incorporated into some of the works, bringing the reflection of the gallery's own interior into play. In other work, prints are selectively erased with household bleach, highlighting negative space and injecting new life through erasure.A series of paintings are formed through further deconstruction as these same photographs are reproduced in bulk and scraped at the surface to extract pigment. When soaked in a mixture of solvents and painting mediums, muted hues of domestic bliss bleed out of the pigment to create the batches of paint used. Through the complete destruction of the photographic material, the ephemeral becomes reborn as ethereal.
Finally, a 35mm slide projector (filled with the original found slides) is projected into a single sheet of curved mylar, distorting the images into horizontal stripes of color that become stretched as they are reflected across the surrounding interiors of the gallery.