Systems Beyond Certainty

Systems Beyond Certainty reconsiders time, nature, and space as ideological concepts that exist as simultaneously real and imagined structures within the natural world. Five artists consider these concepts as metaphor and reality, presenting a contemplative re-evaulation of their surroundings through the aesthetic. Together, the works create a polemical context for reflection and for a consideration of the relationship between structures in the natural world that exist as both definite and imagined.

The exhibition is conceived through several distinct themes: the natural world, the utopian versus the dystopian, the spatial, the psychological, and the futuristic sublime. The work considers abstract representations of the present and future in both the constructed and natural world. These themes lend themselves to further discussion: the status of normalcy versus the pursuit of the ideal, the constructed vs natural world in crisis, imagined representations of the future, or the reduction of the ‘landscape’ to simulacra. Each presents a these concepts in flux: as reduced and reconstructed indefinite structures.


Gillian Lawler's intimate paintings hint at dystopian landscapes with psychologically heightened perspectives that suggest the artist’s own unreliable recollection of futuristic, free-floating, anthropomorphic habitats. Entitled Two, Three, and Four Hours in the Atlantic Ocean (England), Peter Matthews' drawings - made while situated in the Ocean for the indicated amounts of time – are temporal recordings of the power of nature. Russell Leng's abstracted landscapes, entitled Mountain, reduce wintry mountain-scapes into deconstructed (and re-assembled) palimpsest-like paintings. Kevin Cooley's stark photographs suggest the remnants of a deserted past or post-apocalyptic future; in Path, nature is an overwhelming and sublime subject itself. Jordan Tull's angular, metallic sculptures are informed by the imagined, logistical, and intuitive parameters of reality, like minimalist monuments to a future world.

Each of the artist takes an engaged perspective of nature and society through a stance that seems polemically charged yet dispassionately psychological; for each the 'wonders of nature' are reduced and reconstructed as a series of indefinite structures: systems in-flux, uncertain and reduced to conceptual visions of space, time, and existence.


KEVIN COOLEY (b. 1975, USA) has had solo exhibitions throughout the US, including Take Refuge, Kopeikin Gallery, Los Angeles (forthcoming 2012); At Light's Edge, Massimo Audiello, New York (2008); Bateaux Mouches, Ambrosino Gallery, Miami (2005); and most recently and noteably, a public installation above New York's High-Line entitled Remote Nation (2011). His group exhibitions include SHFT NY, New York, (2010); A House Is Not A Home, Caren Golden Fine Art, New York, (2007); Location, Location, Location, Gallery 10G, New York (2006); Think Twice, TH Inside, Milan, Italy (2006); Looking at Los Angeles, ArcLight / Stephen Cohen Gallery, Los Angeles, (2005). His work is included in public collections including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, and the Schwartz Art Collection, Cambridge MA. Most recently he was selected for the prestigious Arctic Circle Expeditionary Residency. He is recipient of the Finishing Fund Grant from The Experimental Television Center (2011); Rema Hort Mann Grant (2005); and an Aaron Siskind Fellowship Grant (2004). He holds an MFA in photography from The School of Visual Arts, New York, NY (2000). He lives and works in the US.

GILLIAN LAWLER (b. 1977, Ireland) has had solo exhibitions with Fenderesky Gallery, Belfast (2010); Cavanacor Gallery, Donegal, The Dock (2009) and Draiocht Arts Centre, Dublin (2007). Lawler's many group exhibitions include Difference Engine, CSV Cultural Centre, New York (2011); Bizarre Baazar, Pallas Contemporary Projects, Dublin (2010); Preponderance of the Small, Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin (2009); No Soul for Sale, X-Initiative, New York, (2009); and Confessions of a Tiger, Brick Lane Gallery, London (2008). She is recipient of Eigse Arts Festival Open Selection (2009); Arts Council of Ireland (2009); Hennessy Craig Award (2007) and various other awards. Her work has been widely reviewed in print, including The Examiner, The Irish Times, The Evening Herald, Sunday Tribune and the Irish Arts Review. She holds a BA from the National College of Art and Design in Ireland (2000). She lives and works in Dublin.

RUSSELL LENG (b. 1986, Canada) has been exhibited throughout North America and Europe, including solo and two person exhibitions Future Findings at Hungryman Gallery, San Francisco and Chicago (2011);Mountains and Mountains, Catalog Gallery, Vancouver, Canada (2011). Noteworthy group exhibitions include Toronto International Art Fair (2011); Parts Gallery, Toronto (2011); Gallery Hijinks, San Francisco (2010); Recoat Gallery, Glasgow, Scotland (2010); Trench Contemporary, Vancouver, Canada (2010); Napa Gallery, Helsinki, Finland (2008). His various awards include First Prize from the Surrey Art Gallery, and a BMO Student Invitational nomination. His work has been featured in numerous online and print publications includingGestaltenChronicle, and the Globe and Mail. He is currently living in Edinburgh, Scotland, where he is pursuing an MFA from Edinburgh College of Art.

PETER MATTHEWS (b. 1978, UK) various solo exhibitions include Continuum, James Cohan Gallery, New York, (2011); and Sea Marks, Mendes Wood Gallery, Sao Paulo, Brazil (2011). His work has been included extensively in exhibitions internationally, including Cosmologies, James Cohan Gallery, New York, NY (2011);Marked Differences, Kentler Gallery, New York (2011); Selections: Spring 2010 Sea Marks, The Drawing Center, New York (2010); ING Discerning Eye Drawing Exhibition, Mall Galleries, London (2010); With/Drawn, Raday Kepshaz Galeria, Budapest, Hungary (2010), and Drawings No. 10, Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien Gallery, Berlin (2009). His awards include the Landscape Instants Film Prize, CDAN Centro de Artes Naturales, Huesca, Spain (2011), an honorarium from the Drawing Center, New York and a British Council Grant for Visual Art, both 2009. Recent published work includes Parsons Journal for Information Mapping, Parsons The New School for Design, New York (2010. Matthews holds a MFA (distinction) from Nottingham Trent University, UK, 2002 - 2003. He currently lives and works in the UK

JORDAN TULL (b. 1980, Germany) has exhibited extensively in the United States, including a forthcoming solo exhibition at PDX Contemporary Art, Portland, Oregon (2012); Untitled, Half/Dozen Gallery and Die Konturen Zeichnen, Waterstone Gallery, both Portland, Oregon, (2010). Selected Group exhibitions include Re/Activatewith Damien Gilley at Wieden + Kennedy, (2011); and Objects of Beauty, Gallery Homeland, Portland, Oregon (2010). His work has been published in Whitewall Magazine 2011. He holds a BFA in sculpture from Kansas City Art Insitute (2003); and is recipient of a Kansas Cultural Trust Grant. He currently lives and works in the US.