three carbon tons

Zeitgeist Gallery is pleased to announce three carbon tons, a two-person show with Jered Sprecher and Michael Jones McKean. Sprecher’s paintings and McKean’s sculptures both assume time as an elastic and cyclical entity. In both artist’s work, out-of-time and present day technologies intertwine in alchemic transmutations of images and forms, cycling through combustion, exchange, conductivity. Forms and images degrade to re-materialize as others, congealing momentarily as only the latest composition of energy matter generated by geologic, evolutionary, or human-made processes.

McKean presents a triptych composed of large, wall-mounted solar panels fixed with images of black objects each printed on perforated UV-resistant window vinyl. The objects ranging in form, time-scale and function are each haloed with a hand-painted border of fluorescent SeaMarker rescue dye. Nearby, rests four floor sculptures, each a meticulously carved laptop computer of varying vintage. Each computer is seeded with wood from ancient bristlecone pine trees - an object among the oldest living things on the planet resulting in a two-way sculptural gene splice. In another work, a classic Hudson’s Bay blanket carved from thermal insulation embeds a ubiquitous laptop computer charger; hidden inside the blanket’s core, 200 grams of silver provides the work's amniotic center. The blanket is literally folded, and folding together two technologies - one modern, designed to transmit and transmute energy; and one ancient, designed to trap and transfer heat - to form an intra-generational battery, both harnessing and storing potential energies and commercial branding. In these works, energy and matter don’t begin or end, but reconfigure.  

Sprecher sites combustion as both the beginning and end simultaneously: the catalyst for the transfer of energy from one entity to the next. Photomechanical images of nature and natural phenomena are the starting point for the body of work present in this exhibition. In the paintings, Way and Ember, a single stock photo of two nesting seagulls and a young chick are the source material from which each painting begins. Through the process of painting, this photo is merged with optical patterning, digital color, haptic gestures, and dissolving transparencies. As a result, the image both is and is no more; now and not yet. Works in the exhibition derive from photos of seagulls, fires, diamonds, moths, and trees. This source material is present at the beginning of a painting and then transmuted in the “combustion” of the image. The paintings on view act as a frozen frame, catching a still moment within a process of perpetual metamorphosis and exchange.

Michael Jones McKean (b. 1976, Micronesia) is an artist based in New York and an Associate Professor of Sculpture and Extended Media at Virginia Commonwealth University. He is the recipient of numerous awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Nancy Graves Foundation Award and an Artadia Award. McKean has been awarded fellowships and residencies at The Core Program at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The International Studio and Curatorial Program in New York City, The Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, The Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts and The MacDowell Colony. Recent exhibitions include The Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston; Inman Gallery, Houston, TX; Emerson Dorsch, Miami, FL; Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard, Annandale-On-Hudson, NY; Horton Gallery, New York, NY; Manifestation Internationale d’art de Quebec Biennale; Gentili Apri, Berlin, Germany; The Art Foundation, Athens, Greece; Parisian Laundry, Montreal, Canada; and Shenkar University, Tel Aviv, Israel.

Jered Sprecher (b. 1976, Nebraska) is an artist living and working in Knoxville, TN. He is an Associate Professor of Painting and Drawing at The University of Tennessee. Sprecher’s awards include the Guggenheim Fellowship as well as residencies at The Chinati Foundation, Marfa, TX; The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; and The Marie Walsh Sharpe Foundation, New York, NY.  His work has been exhibited at The Drawing Center, New York; Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York; Espai d'art Contemporani de Castelló, Spain; Urban Institute for Contemporary Art, Grand Rapids, MI; The Chinati Foundation, Marfa, TX; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, KS; Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, IA; Hunter Museum of American Art, Chattanooga, TN; Jeff Bailey Gallery, New York; Steven Zevitas Gallery, Boston; Gallery 16, San Francisco; Kinkead Contemporary, Los Angeles; Rasche Ripken, Berlin; and Devening Projects, Chicago. 


Nov 7 - Dec 19, 2015

opening Nov 7, 6-9pm

reception Dec 5, 6-9pm


Michael Jones McKean

Jered Sprecher