In his exhibition at Hudson’s Galerie Gris, Brooklyn based artist Ryan Russo continues his examination with film as a tactile source material, opposed to a time-based sequence of images. Utilizing VHS tapes of seminal Hollywood films as well as cassettes of audio tunes, the artist transfers their magnetic oxide coatings containing visual and audial data onto canvas to coordinate abstract geometrical forms. While his current exhibition, entitled Sound and Vision, emphasizes his most recent works, Russo has been practicing with this technique over the years since rapidly changing home entertainment technology swept away VHS and cassette tapes, turning them into tokens of nostalgia.
In contrast to optic and audial stimuli films convey for their audience, Russo’s treatment seems introverted, contemplative yet vibrant. Dystopian punk aesthetic in Blade Runner revives in an earthy-toned background and triangular composition, while Magnolia’s existential angst strikes in horizontal and vertical lines some of which are stuck in between falling and standing in front of a lime-colored base.
Vertigo’s psychedelic nightmare scenes are detectable in the artist’s namesake rhombus-shaped version created upon applying the film’s videotape onto the surface using a gel medium. Planes, Trains and Automobiles, an oblivion Steve Martin-starred comedy from the ‘80s, transforms into a vibrant three-panel work dominated by blue, yellow and grey backgrounds complimenting the stripes imprinting the film.
Transformation of visual and audial surplus into conveyors of abstract narratives both align with and diverge from the essence of moving image. Film, composed of countless shots chronicling human experience, finds its on-canvas reflection in Russo’s flat surfaces that provide space for form, color and meditation. On the flip side, the artist’s open-ended scenarios, cementing abstraction’s core foundation—which is narrative fluidity—deviate from the conclusive and opinionated nature of film.
Sound and Vision will remain on view at Galerie Gris through September 12, 2016.