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WEDNESDAY, SEP 09 2015 - SUNDAY, OCT 18 2015

OPENING: Wednesday, September 9, 06:00 PM - 08:00 PM


For his third solo exhibition at Louis B. James, Martin Roth presents a new installation, untitled (debris). Entering the main space, viewers encounter a desolate landscape of crumbling masonry and sand, partially brought to New York from a destroyed building from the conflict in Syria. The scene is unsettling yet familiar; it resembles any number of conflict zones we are accustomed to viewing on the nightly news. Yet the space houses unlikely occupants: colorful parakeets that roost on the pipes and ducts of the gallery's bright ceiling, using the debris as their litter. As in prior works, Roth has introduced elements that build upon and disrupt our understanding of the staged environment.

Characteristically, Roth sets up a situation and then removes himself, giving weight to the formal and psychological implications of the incidents that are set in motion. Here, the parakeet - the most domestic of birds - exacerbates the contrast between the deep familiarity we nurture with pets and the remove at which global conflicts unfold over mass media. Detached from fixed reference and dislocated, viewers move from this space to yet another incongruous environment on the gallery's lower level. A landscape of ruin, activated by the birds' constant motion, is met with stillness, an endpoint.

Living things do not merely animate Roth's work; they drive its form, its pacing, and its intimate relation to the viewer. Domesticated animals (rescued parakeets, fogs raised for biological supply) manifest a complex web of social relations; they also operate under their own agency. In prior works, Roth has used organisms shaped by cultivation (bonsai, zebra finches, goldfish) to explore the interrelationship of nature and culture, plants and animals. In this exhibition, for the first time, viewers are inserted into Roth's organic system, tracing their own paths through the dust of destruction.


Martin Roth (b. 1977, Graz Austria, lives and works in NY). His work has recently been shown at Reinisch Contemporary (solo), Graz; The Hessel Museum of Art, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY; Vohn Gallery, NY; mumok (museum moderner kunst), Vienna; Museum of Natural History, Graz; The Artists Institute, NY, among others. In 2014 he was named one of "24 Artists to Watch" in Modern Painters.

Louis B. James Gallery
143b Orchard Street NY, NY 10002
(212) 533 4670