April 2017: Galen Gibson-Cornell

In Blog, Photography, Reviews By by Colette Mihocik On May 31, 2017




Galen Gibson-Cornell, Installation Shot, 2017



Galen Gibson-Cornell explores cities in Europe in order to decipher the visual literacy posted around places such as Berlin, Budapest, Venice and Novi Sad. Using the urban landscape as his inspiration, he reinterprets the posters and flyers that coat the walls of outdoor public spaces, taking every measure to personally investigate their life from creation to their showcasing, and inevitable destruction as a piece of ephemera exposed to the elements. Upon entering the installation, the viewer is confronted with overwhelmingly large imagery constructed through an act of repetition that at once both mimics and distorts the imagery discovered on the surface of a city. This tedious and methodical practice is Gibson-Cornell’s way of unpacking and reforming the results of his investigations. A closer inspection reveals the rawness of his materials; one can see the fishing line ties sticking out from the conglomerated image like little hair strands, further engrossing the larger-than-life scale of the environment from which the inspiration originated.








Galen Gibson-Cornell, Kick Your Friends (1) (side view), installation view, 2017







Galen Gibson-Cornell, Kick Your Friends (1), 2017




Gibson-Cornell uses old European cities as a template to satiate his fascination with history and the role the historian plays in an evolving culture. The duality of old world culture and contemporary society sets the stage for him to peel back the layers, and ultimately the history, of thesis urban environments. The manipulation of the materials aims to investigate the ever evolving relationship of contemporary society within the historically rich European cities. He regards his practice as an interface with the fleeting nature of these environments as a “contemplative preservation”, collecting many materials on site by photography and/or actual removal of the material from the site. The final result of being woven acts as a symbol of solidifying and stabilizing these witnessed moments.






 Galen Gibson-Cornell, Kick Your Friends (8), 2017







Kick Your Friends (8), detail




The subjects of this series come from posters of pop singer Mark Forster and posters of Italian soccer players. Gibson-Cornell patternizes and expands upon the display of his subjects, distorting their identities within a composition of repeating pixels. In Kick Your Friends (1) and Kick Your Friends (8), the result is a portrait compiled in a new perspective, one that renders the context of the player’s individuality into anonymity. This is reflective of the moments in time and space where the posters originally existed, and how it’s quickly evolving environment tends towards disappearance as it is swallowed up by an instantaneous, contemporary society. The largest piece, Mark Forster, hangs like a flag the ceiling down onto the floor. The distorted image of the pop singer is recreated by 48 individual posters, grids made up from even smaller photographic squares in a complimentary composition of blue and orange. The features of the face – eyes, glasses, mouth – are repeated and overlapped within the grid in a way that suggests an instant moment of a shutter in movement. Gibson-Cornell uses his language to manipulate the materials in order to create work like a scientist collecting and presenting data of a very specific moment in modern history.






 Galen Gibson-Cornell,  Mark Forster, 2017







Mark Forster (detail)






Mark Forster (detail)