synthetic zero


September 10 - October 9, 2010

Bronx River Art Center presents About Me at BronxArtSpace:

A group exhibtion featuring Colby Bird, Carla Edwards, Naomi Miller, Maia Palileo, Carlos Reyes, and Jim Zeske

Curated by Nora Lawrence

Opening Reception: Friday, September 10, 6-9pm

Bronx Culture Trolley: Wednesday, October 6, 5-9pm

GALLERY HOURS Wednesday–Friday 3pm–6:30pm / Saturday 12pm– 5pm

About Me: explores different ways in which contemporary artists are making use of the trope of autobiography in their work. The artists exhibited make reference to themselves— at times sincerely, subtly, ironically—and in so doing, ask us to question the relationship between personal history and memory, as well as the veracity of self- presentation.

Bringing the "self" to bear on an interpretation of a work of art has long been controversial. In 1967, Roland Barthes called on theorists and historians to move beyond biography, saying that to concentrate on an artist’s biography was to limit the interpretations possible for a work. However, feminist theorists and others have emphasized the continued importance of biography, arguing that all of our multiple and varied experiences have helped mold the art that we have produced, as well as our ability to interpret it. Artists, moreover, be they painters, novelists, or filmmakers, often pass seamlessly between their own life experiences and something imagined, often not committing or admitting to one over the other. For audiences, the question becomes: what stock do we take in the personal? How much of it guides us as viewers, and how much can we invest in it?

This exhibition will include work in various media by six artists, each of whom approach the idea of the personal in a different, provocative manner. Colby Bird uses a beautiful sky and city skyline as the backdrop for his video, F Books, and allows its sublimity to strip audience members of a healthy skepticism that they may well wish they had maintained. Carla Edwards points the camera onto herself in video work that communicates through hard-worn cultural symbolism, but obfuscates her motivations by remaining silent. Naomi Miller uses herself and her family as subjects of her art, drawing intimate, familial moments onto the stage of high art. Maia Palileo has created an ongoing suite of drawings that revisit formative memories with such a great level of detail that they slip into fiction. Carlos Reyes has created a body of sculpture that asks the viewer to question the truth- value of personal photographs and mementoes, while also calling upon the viewer to become part of the work of art. James Zeske’s mixed- media installations create a personal symbolism by making use of idiosyncratic souvenirs of lived experiences: in this case, an extended stay in Argentina.

Visual art is able to communicate information indirectly, unlike the written word. In this exhibition, some artists begin from a personal event and work through it until it morphs from the biographical to the imaginative; others take their history as a starting point for free exploration; still others question the very idea of the “authenticity” of the artist’s presentation of him or herself. All weave in and out of the space of the self, creating works that variously intersect with their personal journeys.


Nora Lawrence is a Curatorial Assistant in the Department of Painting and Sculpture at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. She has helped organize several exhibitions at MoMA, most recently as co-curator of Ernesto Neto: Navedenga (2010). She has co-authored and contributed texts to several MoMA publications, including Modern Women (2010), Monet’s Water Lilies (2009), Color Chart: Reinventing Color, 1950 to Today (2008) and Armando Reverón (2007). She has previously worked at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in Queens. She is currently a PhD candidate at the Graduate Center, CUNY, where she earned her MPhil degree, and holds a MA from the University of Southern California, and a BA with honors from Pomona College. She is an adjunct faculty member at the School of Visual Arts, New York, and has also taught for MoMA Courses and at USC.

Bronx River Art Center will be presenting several upcoming shows here, alternating with shows organized by BronxArtSpace, while their facility on East Tremont Avenue is being renovated.

BronxArtSpace started this year: Linda Cunningham, Mitsu Hadeishi, and a group of artists, curators and arts organizations are collaborating to create a series of events, art shows, experimental film, performance, music, readings, and classes.

If you'd like to suggest a future event, would like to curate a show or submit visual art, video, film, music or a performance, please email us at art at bronxartspace dot com; if it's a video you'd like to submit to a Synthetic Zero event, you can send a DVD or Blu-Ray disc to:

Mitsu Hadeishi / Synthetic Zero
305 E 140th St #1A
Bronx, NY 10454
718 772-4961

Preferred formats for video are DVD (NTSC or PAL) or Blu-Ray disc.


The art space is at 305 E. 140th St., #1A, Bronx NY 10454.

We're about 20 minutes from Union Square. From Manhattan, 4-5 train to 125th, transfer to 6, one stop to 3rd Ave/138th St, it's 2 blocks from there. Note there are two exits at 3rd Ave/138th, one at Alexander Ave and one at 3rd Ave. Ring 3A if 1A does not answer.

Upcoming events and shows:

Show curated by Doris Cacoilo

Sat Oct 23, 6-9pm, opening reception
Wed Nov 3, 5-9pm, Bronx Culture Trolley

IIBienal de Arte photo exhibition by Alex Mendoza and Luis Stephenberg

Sat Nov 6 - Nov 30

Bronx River Art Center presents "Acting Out", curated by Erin Riley-Lopez

Fri Dec 3, 6-9pm, Opening

Show open to the public December 3 - January 14


Note: These events are made possible in part with public funds from the Bronx Council on the Arts through the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs Greater New York Arts Development Fund Regrants Program, Bronx Borough President Aldolfo Carrion and the Bronx delegation of the City Council.