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Vital Shift in Central Observer Tao Kulczycki & Ian Swanson

BOSI Contemporary, New York February 18 - March 21, 2015

Writing by: Front Cover: Design:

Dr. Robert Morgan Ian Swanson, Aging6, 2015 (Detail) BOSI Contemporary



Contents 7

doors of Perception: Works by Tao Kulczycki and Ian Swanson


installation shots

Dr. Robert Morgan

23 EXHIBITED WORKS 25 Tao Kulczycki 45 Ian Swanson 73

Artist Biographies



Robert C. Morgan

doors of Perception: Works by Tao Kulczycki and Ian Swanson


The works of the two artists in this exhibition, Tao Kulczycki and Ian Swanson, are introduced with the confounding title “Vital Shift in Central Observer.” The emphasis on the observer suggests a transformed perceptual reality that occurs in the subject’s mind without necessarily bypassing the necessity of representation. Although the two artists know each other and have presumably spoken about their respective works on frequent occasions, their overt styles of representation are clearly different from one another. Still, I would argue there is structural support beneath within their works that lends credibility to the title. In this case, structure usurps style by opening the doors of our perception. In doing so, they take us to another realm of seeing. I employ the phrase, “doors of perception,” borrowed from Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World, to hint at a more total awareness and expansion of our mental processes in relation to our emotional capabilities. They refer to what we see or how we see in relation to what we imagine. Kulczycki is an absolutely confirmed sculptor as Swanson is a truly sublimated and unmitigated painter. Their sense of present reality exceeds the seductive limitations of the text, whatever the text might be. Their works, whether object sculpture (Kulczycki) or personal painting informed by visual metaphors of selfhood (Swanson), raise questions as to forms of reality that might exist beyond illusion. Both artists invigorate their materials with passionate ideas that attest to what is real. They appear disinterested in illegitimate forms borrowed from the derriere-guard. Moreover, they define what they are doing through visual and tactile enunciations. They choose to inhabit worlds of their own, rather than conform to fakery. In other words, they allow the viewer to engage in their processes of seeing, and therefore, allow us to come to terms with what they are attempting to confirm as real. The diversity of materials and ideas, which integrates their reflections on representation, draws us into their world, whether in sculpture or painting. Both are wrought from the flames and tactile rubbing that define a presence in either two or three dimensions. Their forms are mysterious.


They issue a sense of reality parallel to life, but transformed in the process. In each case, their forms are fully imaginative and obsessively ambiguous. This is evident as one looks at a cast walrus scull with other attendant objects by Kulczycki in Arctic Morse Code (2014). It is also present in the tripartite grouping of paintings by Swanson, Man w Knife, pale, neutral, and dark aggressor (also 2014). This series by Swanson depicts a young male toting a knife, positioned upward. In the latter works, the surfaces of the images vary from darkness into light. Both artists appear in the process of breaking-down the problem of the foreground text (endemic to our time) and operating in the realm of the present. They remove their objects and images entirely from any kind of nuance that might suggest an ethereal resonance or romantic intrigue. With Swanson, this happens through swift, yet studied conjugations of oblique “auto-portraits, ” again moving between light and an obsequious darkness. This is shown explicitly in an ongoing series, titled Aging (2014 – 2015). Here the varied light rendered in each of the eight paintings shown from this series virtually encapsulates a human male face in which the dark charcoal marks appear as microscopic organic shapes scattered throughout the surface. The marks suggest symbolic, or rather “auto-symbolic,” values, even as their placement appears without any particular compositional regard. One senses in these inscrutable “paintings, ” where charcoal is rubbed on to and into the surfaces, that the imagined representations of the face, perhaps all being the same face, recall remnants of unequivocal, yet latent emotions as if their signification was being held at a distance in timid abeyance. One would be hard-pressed to designate precisely the kind of emotion being expressed. Rather these oddly marked faces are shown (and possibly seen) as if they emerged over time and now virtually present on some unknown and unknowable horizon of neutrality. With Kulczycki, his objects reach a fascinating level of complexity in works such as Whole and Asymmetric Propulsion (both 2015). In the first, Kulczycki drilled a lateral core through a smooth granite boulder. Upon removing the cored cylinder, the artist then drilled a second vertical core


through the top of the stone at a slight angle, this time using a larger bit with a wider diameter. Upon removing the second cored cylinder, Kulczycki assembled the two parts together by fitting the horizontal granite core into the larger vertical core. Finally, the original boulder (from which the cores were removed) was placed beside Kulczycki’s construction directly on the floor. The resulting bifurcated form constitutes nothing less than a visual paradox in which the negative space removed from the stone becomes a positive form, as the remaining positive space of the granite can be read as negative. In the process, the granite boulder appears transformed into a paradoxical nature/culture paradigm, suggesting the origins of civilization at the outset when Paleolithic humans recognized the validity of technology and art as processes in the advent of economic growth. By comparison, the process involved in making Kulczycki’s second piece, titled Asymmetric Propulsion, is simpler, but equally as compelling. The casting of a kayak paddle is made formally coherent by removing half of the paddle on one side while keeping the opposite side intact. By casting the altered readymade in bronze and leaning it inadvertently against the wall, the paddle is suddenly transformed. Without a clear ability to function, the former paddle is isolated as a remnant of the past, yet inscribed as a relic in the present, similar to the way we might examine a hair-comb with missing teeth from ancient Egypt in a museum vitrine, where it signifies a work of art. My deferred summary of this exhibition of objects by Kulczycki and paintings by Swanson is somewhere between metaphysics and romanticism. These designations, of course, are temporal, in that the works of neither artist have not been fully substantiated. My immediate response is to imply a spectrum of traits that identify whereby the works discussed in this brief essay point in the direction of an unfinished overview, a discourse on ideas and motifs from the pre-modern past now coming back after postmodernism. In either case, their works bring us forward in the realm of art and into


the reality of life. Both Kulczycki and Swanson have opened the doors of perception to new possibilities of understanding how art is made. As their works begin to take hold, viewing audiences will decide how to unravel the depth of their vision and the process of contextualizing their meaning. At the moment these works would seem to be reinventing the terms of metaphysics by way of reality-based perceptions and romantic conflict. At the same time, they are striving to look ahead. There are moments when their works evoke wholeness through fragmentation. This is always the paradox of beginning and the evolution whereby discrete vocabularies depend on the formations of ideals made possible through intelligence that envision the admixture of the present in relation to the origin of things.














Tao Kulczycki


resonance 2015

cast aluminum (original eucalyptus Didgeridoo), engine stand, strap 60 1/2 x 53 x 14 in



wheel-barrow of life (bhavacakra, cyclic existence) 2014

cast bronze (wheel-barrow tire, ear-aids), green patina, steel (modified air tank), air hose and valve 20 1/2 x 12 x 56 in



dualism 2014

cast concrete (modified arbor press), steel, automotive paint 70 x 12 x 19 in



arctic morse code 2014

cast aluminum (walrus skull, air horns) 34 x 15 x 10 1/2 in



whole 2015

rock and assembled core (core drilled) rock: 28 (L) x 15 1/2 (H) x 16 1/2(W) in core: 28 (L) x 15 (H) x 8 (W) in



asymmetric propulsion 2015 cast bronze (modified paddle), patina 53 1/2 x 1 1/4 x 7 1/2 in



organism 2015

cast bronze (modified banana leaf / electronic cigarettes), patina 15 1/2 x 26 1/2 x 67 in



caution, arid mopping 2015

cast aluminum (modified caution sign), cast concrete (modified mooring buoy) 24 x 14 1/2 x 67 1/2 in



filtering 2015

cast aluminum (olive oil filters made of coconut fiber), modified and cast bronze router, machined bronze rods 66 x 6 x 49 in




Ian Swanson


aging2 2014

airbrushed acrylic, graphite on rayon 62 x 46 in



aging3 2014

airbrushed acrylic, graphite on rayon 62 x 46 in



aging4 2014

airbrushed acrylic, graphite on rayon 62 x 46 in



aging5 2014

airbrushed acrylic, graphite on rayon 62 x 46 in



aging6 2015

airbrushed acrylic, graphite on rayon 62 x 46 in



aging7 2015

airbrushed acrylic, graphite on rayon 62 x 46 in



aging8 2015

airbrushed acrylic, graphite on rayon 62 x 46 in



man w knife (pale aggressor) 2014 acrylic on canvas 44 x 34 in



man w knife (neutral aggresor) 2014 acrylic on canvas 44 x 34 in



man w knife (dark aggressor) 2014 acrylic on canvas 44 x 34 in



an approach (pale pair) 2015 acrylic on canvas 44 x 34 in



an approach (neutral pair) 2015 acrylic on canvas 44 x 34 in



an approach (dark pair) 2015 acrylic on canvas 44 x 34 in



Artist biographies Tao Kulczycki (b. 1987, France) is an Italian artist. He earned a Master of Fine Arts in sculpture from Pratt institute in 2013. Before coming to New York he attended Kingston University in the UK (London) and earned a BFA in Live Art (Art, Performance and Digital Media). His work has been mentioned in the New York Times, La Voce di New York and I-italy. His recent shows include a solo show at Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimo (NYU) and the Mykonos Biennale in Greece. Ian Swanson (b. 1983, Detroit, MI) is a visual artist living in Brooklyn, NY. He has had solo or collaborative exhibitions throughout the US and abroad, most recently at D&F in New York, Free Paarking in St. Louis, David Shelton Gallery in Houston, WAKE Gallery in Detroit, Welcome Screen in London, and Re:View Gallery in Detroit. He was born in Detroit, where he received a BFA from Wayne State University, before moving to New York and attending Pratt Institute for his MFA. Swanson co-founded artist-run galleries ORG in Detroit in 2009, and in NY in 2012. He currently operates, a media label and curatorial initiative collaborating between visual artists and audio artists, and, an esoteric art and information store with Wendy Ross.


COntributors Dr. Robert Morgan Robert C. Morgan is a writer, art critic, curator, and artist. Author of numerous books and monographs, and New York Editor of Asian Art News and World Sculpture News, he writes and lectures extensively on issues confronting artists in the global environment, now translated into twenty languages. In 2011, he was inducted into the European Academy of Sciences and Arts in Salzburg.


BoSI Contemporary specializes in Contemporary and Post-War art as well as primary and secondary market work. It focuses on creating a space that will nurture a creative discourse between different facets of art and contemporary culture. International in scope, the gallery exhibits and communicates the work of both emerging and established artists, selected for their unique aesthetic language and fascinating vision. Our objective is to present an ambitious annual program that comprises at least six exhibitions, accompanied by publications and catalogues, an annual museumquality exhibition devoted to a historic or established artist, as well as partnerships which reinforce the influence of art on contemporary culture. Our central concern is to showcase, through our roster of artists as well as exhibitions, how international artists relate to one another at the root of their discipline through visual narratives amid various mediums and techniques. The gallery’s approximate 2,000 sq. ft. location at 48 Orchard Street (between Grand and Hester) in the heart of Lower East Side allows the gallery to be a dynamic space for artists as well as a venue for contemporary culture within our community.

Published by BOSI Contemporary on the occasion of the exhibition Vital Shift in Central Observer on view from February 18 to March 21, 2015


BOSI Contemporary 48 Orchard Street New York, NY 10002

Copyright © 2015 BOSI Contemporary. All rights reserved. Text Copyright © 2015 BOSI Contemporary. Every effort has been made to contact copyright holders prior to publication. The publisher apologizes for any errors and omissions and welcomes corrections for future issues of this publications.

Vital Shift in Central Observer  

Exhibition Catalogue published on the occasion of the exhibition "Vital Shift in Central Observer" (February 18 - March 21, 2015), a two-per...

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