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5 Rooms
13 June - 3 August, 2013

Robert Miller is pleased to present 5 Rooms, distinct projects featuring Justin Allen, Joan Banach, Mark Fox, Yayoi Kusama and C.K. Rajan.


Justin Allen’s paintings acknowledge and unravel otherwise commonplace objects by isolating and rendering them in fine detail. He implements Old Master painting techniques that require multiple layers of drawing and color, resulting in works that can take up to two years to complete. While Allen is not attempting to achieve photorealism, he invests close attention to the lining of objects and to the shadows and planes so that the ordinary objects are contemplated instead of overlooked. Working in a small scale format, Allen’s paintings are dense with conceptual meaning and subtle tension that invites the viewer to closely examine his pieces with a heightened sense of the personal.


Justin Allen was born in Jefferson City, Missouri in 1976, received his B.A. from Webster University in St. Louis in 1999, and his M.F.A. from Hunter College in 2007. Robert Miller Gallery has featured Allen in a one-person booth in the NEXT Fair during Art Chicago in 2008, as well as exhibited Allen’s work at the gallery in 2009 and 2010. A Pollock-Krasner 2012 award winner, Allen has exhibited at the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art in Peekskill, NY; J. Johnson Gallery in Jacksonville, FL; the Knoxville Museum of Art in Tennessee; the Eleven Gallery in London; the Sam Lee Gallery in Los Angeles; and at Scheubbe Projects in Dusseldorf Germany. 


Brooklyn-born artist Joan Banach conceives and stages her matte paintings speculatively as scenic expanses. Conceived and built as a singularity, each dark, nearly monochromatic hard-edged abstract image has neither source nor end. Inspired by Flemish Master painters and matte scenography painters for film, Banach seeks to create paintings that are “dark on dark compilations.” While Banach has adapted simple and traditional materials, they give her agency to realize complex visual objectives. Working with extremes, she is able to explore the originality of her ideas and to innovate and achieve an ambitious result. Working back from that result, she attempts to discover some kind of truth about what she is doing.


Joan Banach attended Brooklyn College where she studied with Lee Bontecou, Harry Holtzman, and Sylvia Stone. She received the prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship for Painting in 2000 and has artworks in the collections of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, New York; Collezione Marimotti, Italy; The High Museum of Art, Atlanta; the David Mirvish Collection, Toronto; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. Banach participated in three exhibitions at the Stedelijk Museum, one of which featured 23 of her drawings and were showcased along with works by Robert Wilson. Her work has been reviewed by NYTimes Karen Rosenberg as a result of her participation in The Kitchen’s 2008 exhibition titled Future as Disruption, and by Tom Michelli of Brooklyn Rail when she was honored with a solo exhibition at Small A Projects. Banach has participated in numerous presentations and talks such as 5 x 20 x 20, A Talk at the Museum of Modern Art, which was moderated by Christian Rattemayer in conjunction with an exhibition of the Judith Rothschild Foundation Contemporary Drawings Collection. 


When making drawings, Mark Fox incorporate stains, spills, doodles and text fragments that accrue on the paper in his studio. His drawings and sculptures represent a collaboration between the accidental and the intentional. The original image is obscured as they are cut and reassembled into formal constructions. New meanings and associations emerge from the random juxtaposition of these components. Mark Fox received his MFA from Stanford University and his BFA from Washington University. He has had solo exhibitions at the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum, the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Detroit Institute of Arts, Rice University Art Gallery, the Herbert F. Johnson Museum and the Fabric Workshop and Museum. His work was recently acquired and exhibited by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He is also included in the collections of MoMA and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among other institutions. Recent articles on Fox have appeared in ART + AUCTION, ARTnews, The New York Times, The Brooklyn Rail, and The New Yorker.


This exhibition includes of a selection of small works by Yayoi Kusama, a tenaciously creative and obsessive established artist who continues to create artworks wrested from her stream of consciousness. As a child, Kusama suffered from hallucinations of nets, dots and flowers that appeared to cover every inch of space and threatened to obliterate her. The hallucinations left an indelible impact on the artist, the imagery of which still manifests itself in her work. Essentially self-taught and fiercely determined to be an artist since childhood, Kusama arrived in the United States in 1957 at the age of 28. She rapidly established herself among the New York avant-garde and gained international attention during the 1960s with her paintings, sculpture, installations, poems and novels, performances and film.  Her powerful presence during this period has been an influence and inspiration for subsequent generations of artists. She has exhibited in hundreds of galleries and museums around the world during her extraordinary career.  Her works are included in private, public and museum collections worldwide.  


C.K. Rajan extracts clippings from newspapers and magazines that combined produce surreal worlds. In the avant-garde tradition of collage, they function as an incisive tool for political commentary, oftentimes conveying the disruptions caused by rapid urbanization of Indian cities and the tumultuous nation’s economy. On view will be works made between 1992 and 1996, which allude to the changes that occurred in India during the earlier years of its economic liberalization. Rajan responds to a visual world that seems to have become incomprehensible, one in which pre-industrial, industrial, and post-industrial co-exist, producing alarming and sometimes uncomfortable juxtapositions. In a sense, his collages visually translate a language of radical critique characteristic of the Kerala Radical Group, of which Rajan had been a member during its active years in the mid to late 1980s.


Born in 1960 in Kerala, India, C.K. Rajan is currently based in Hyderabad, India, where he received his Master’s in painting. This will be the artist’s U.S. debut. Rajan has participated in international group exhibitions such as Documenta XII, Kassell, Germany; Inter(RE)ferences at Grande Galerie, Rouen, France; Santhal Family – Positions around an Indian Sculpture, curated by Grant Watson at MuHKA, Antwerp, Belgium. He has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions in India. 

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