Martin Wilner

Making History 2010 - 2011
5 April - 28 April 2012
Sperone Westwater, New York
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Press release

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New York, NY: 17 March 2012: Sperone Westwater is pleased to present an exhibition of recent pen, ink, and graphite drawings by Martin Wilner, the artist’s second solo show at the gallery. In his now decade-long body of work, Making History, Wilner creates highly-detailed diaristic drawings based on the monthly calendar. On the verso of each drawing are descriptive texts or images that are integral to the work. Wilner blends elements of cartoon, cartography, text, micrography, and music in an evolving process that transforms news events of compelling personal interest into drawing. Each work coalesces into its own mysterious narrative of the artist’s daily life.

 

Making History 2010 consists of a suite of 12 double-sided drawings focused on the visual dimension of music in concert with text, cartography and representational drawing. The drawings proceed through a series of single step variations from one month to the next. Using media sources selected daily, Wilner developed systems of encoding narrative into musical scores. The results are visual nocturnes based on everyday events that transcend their mundane and often troubling sources in the pursuit of something more lyrical.

 

Making History 2011 consists of 12 double-sided drawings that conclude the first decade of this project. Each work consists of three concentric drawing elements from Wilner’s visual vocabulary, which each share the element of micrographic writing. The drawings vary by rotation from month to month with the last month, December, produced by the results of a children’s game of chance.

 

In describing his rule-based process Wilner notes:

 

"The seeming restrictiveness of limits thus allows in an apparently counterintuitive way for evolving creativity. Work becomes play and vice versa. For some, yesterday’s news is tomorrow’s fish-&-chips paper. I prefer a more alchemical solution in which yesterday’s coal can become tomorrow’s diamond. Through this endless process of limits and transformations, perhaps that is possible. That is the wager of my daily work." (Cartin and Wilner, “The Wager of My Daily Work,” 2012)

 

In April 2011, Wilner incorporates text, portraits and music in a work focused on justice and its miscarriages. In following this thematic thread Wilner taps into a larger zeitgeist, confirmed uncannily by the May 1, 2011 assassination of Osama Bin Laden, an act of justice laden with uncertainty.

 

Also presented are recent works from Wilner’s other ongoing project, Journal of Evidence Weekly, an observational documentation of every trip the artist has made on the subways of New York since 1998. In contract to the classically composed Making History series, Journal of Evidence Weekly comes across more like improvisational jazz. In Making History vs. Journal of Evidence Weekly, focusing on the months of August and September 2010, the formal structures of the lunar calendar in the former work, meet the free form subterranean antics in the latter.

 

Martin Wilner was born in 1959 and resides in New York City. His work has been exhibited in numerous institutions, including the University Art Museum at Albany (2007), the DeCordova Museum (2008), and the Jewish Museum (2009). His work will also be exhibited at The Morgan Library and Museum in New York in the summer of 2012. Wilner’s work is in many important collections including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Morgan Library and Museum, the Jewish Museum, and the Vassar Art Library.

Artists in this Exhibition

Exhibition publications

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Martin Wilner
Making History 2010-2011
2012

Exhibition press

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How to Ride a Subway: The Magical Mystery of Martin Wilner
by Alexander Adler
April 2012
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Martin Wilner: The Jew Manuscripts
by Mickey Cartin
April 2012