Exhaustion is the debut exhibition by 2J, a new collaborative venture between sculptor Justin Beal and painter Jesse Willenbring. Building on Beal’s background as an architect and Willenbring’s background as a graphic designer, 2J is a hybridized approach to object-making based on refined geometries and extreme surface treatments. Images culled from both artists’ archives of source material are printed and painted directly on glass with varying degrees of transparency and arranged in space like so many layers of a photoshop files rendered at an architectural scale. Treating images with a sculptural sensibility, 2J produces furniture, objects and installations that collapse the boundary between surface and support and undermine the conventional binaries of repression and expression that so often divide the realms of design and art.
Exhaustion is a site-specific installation designed to address both Locust Project’s interior architecture and its location at the center of Miami’s Design District. The exhibition includes tables and walls made from steel and glass and layered with imagery from a variety of sources, including Marco Zanini’s designs for Memphis Milano, pre-digital print advertisements for Hilti Tools, Geoffrey Beene and Herman Miller and scans from Egon von Furstenberg’s seminal book Decorating for Men: The Power Look at Home. The tables and walls throughout the gallery support a series of vertical and horizontal glass planes that divide the space into layers of superimposed and overlapping imagery. Each glass panel is printed with a direct-to-substrate digital printing method more commonly associated with commercial signage and advertising. The images in the exhibition, many of which have previously appeared both in print and in Willenbring and Beal’s work, have been recycled, repeated and manipulated to the point of exhaustion and then redeployed as part of 2J’s visual language. As a final gesture, a selection of works by Beal and Willenbring will hang on and amidst the walls.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Justin Beal received a BA in Architecture from Yale and an MFA from the University of Southern California. He also attended the Whitney Independent Studio Program. He has had recent solo exhibitions at Bortolami and ACME Los Angeles and LA>< ART. His work has been included in group exhibitions at Esther Schipper in Berlin, The Modern Institute in Glasgow as well as Casey Kaplan Gallery, Tanya Bonakdar Gallery and Sculpture Center in New York. Beal lives and works in Los Angeles and New York.
Jesse Willenbring received an MFA from Hunter College in 2010 and has recent solo exhibitions at Thomas Duncan Gallery and Laurel Gitlen Gallery. His work has been included in group exhibitions at Gavin Brown’s enterprise, Lehmann Maupin, and Rivington Arms. Willenbring was the co-curator of Don’t Perish at Leo Koenig Projekte, Rose Colored Glasses at GBE @ Passerby, and is the co-editor (with Carter Mull and Aram Moshayedi) of P & Co., a biannual newspaper. Willenbring lives and works in Los Angeles.