Rachel Uffner Gallery is pleased to present a show of new work by Sara Greenberger Rafferty. For her second solo outing at the gallery, Rafferty will exhibit photographic portraits as well as larger scale works on acetate and Plexiglas. While in the past Rafferty used the subject of mid to late 20th century comedy as an immediate reference point, her new pieces employ images of comedians and entertainers in a rather more open-ended way. With the “waterlogging” technique she developed for her gallery show in 2009 – with which she works liquid into inket just printed extant images, then rephotographs and digitally manipulates the mottled, apparently damaged results – Rafferty suggests not only the destruction and bifurcation experienced by individual bodies, but also the fascination with which our culture gazes at such images of harm.
In a series of portraits that are arranged on a wall built at an angle within the gallery space, Rafferty presents worked-upon photographs of stills captured from disparate moving image sources, such as Steve Guttenberg in Police Academy or Gilda Radner from an uploaded YouTube performance clip, in addition to contemporary television characters. Rafferty crucially renames them using gender-neutral monikers (such as Sam or Pat), to suggest the portraits’ detachment from their original subjects. This gesture towards interchangeability or shape-shifting chimes with the often abstract form the portraits take, where once-particular human faces devolve into bruise-like blurs of red and purple, or swampish green and yellow lacunae, suggesting the body’s half-disturbing, half-striking destruction. The portraits’ uniform installation and sometimes repetitive source images are reminiscent of the now almost quaint arrangement of a TV store window, or even the more au courant, scrollable interfaces of a webpage or iPhone
The aggression inherent to the act of surveillance is further mined in the show’s larger scale work. In the life sized Fig pieces, the performing body’s vulnerability to the gaze is both emphasized through the water damage the images incur, and made more palatable by their sleek printing on acetate. Legs III’s empty nylons, hung high on the wall, can be seen as shriveled stand-ins for the reduced human body, while in Window Piece, fluid-blurred kitchen knives are directed at a cut-out figure of an entertainer, suggesting violence, albeit one tinged with absurdity.
In conjunction with the exhibition, the gallery is publishing a catalogue with a text by Claire Barliant.
Sara Greenberger Rafferty has exhibited solo projects at The Kitchen, New York, MoMA PS1, New York, and The Suburban, Illinois. She has participated in many group shows at venues such as the Aspen Art Museum, Colorado, Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, Gagosian Gallery, New York, and the Jewish Museum, New York. She received her MFA from Columbia University, and lives and works in Brooklyn.