AN IMPERFECT RECORD
 
On view through January 29, An Imperfect Record merges two concepts around the “imperfect”: as a verb tense reflecting habitual actions, states of being, physical or emotional descriptions, and unspecified duration; and the way in which memory serves imperfectly. Rodney Dickson, Boukje Janssen, and Svay Ken all work with painting to depict personally altered political moments spanning the Vietnam War to present day news media.

As a painter, Rodney Dickson’s artwork mediates conflict through aesthetics. Of his upbringing, the artist writes, “Having grown up in Northern Ireland during the troubled years of the 1970s. I found that a natural offshoot of my early experience was to consider the futility of war in an aesthetic manner. Having researched extensively in Vietnam and Cambodia, I witnessed the aftermath of conflict in its indiscriminately brutal form: it is from this point that my artwork proceeds.” Dickson studied at Liverpool Art College and has lived in Brooklyn since 1997. His work has been exhibited throughout Europe, the United States, Vietnam, Korea, and Japan. In 2003 Dickson initiated the first art residency program for contemporary Vietnamese artists in New York under the auspices of the Ford Foundation. Dickson’s solo exhibition “Let Buddha Sort it Out,” is on view at M.Y. Art Prospects from January 12 through February 18, 2006, www.myartprospects.com.

Boukje Jannsen was born in Eindhoven in The Netherlands lives and works in Amsterdam. She studied at The Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam, NL; The Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem, IL and the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunst in Amsterdam, NL. Her work has been exhibited internationally, in Europe, the United States, and the Middle East. Of her work on view in this exhibition, Janssen describes it in this way, “As a basis for this series I used photos from newspapers, depicting different kinds of disasters, such as of individuals, places, or nations, with which the media is constantly overloading its consumers. The amount of images, which carry an extremely heavy emotional weight in the media is so inconceivable – it fades away in the collective subconscious, which inevitably becomes more and more resistant to horrors.”

Svay Ken was born in the Takeo Province, Cambodia. He became a novice monk at the age of 14, but left the order in 1952 in order to help his family by working in the fields. In 1955, he ventured to Phnom Penh in search of work, and became a waiter and a handyman at the Hotel le Royal. In 1975 the Pol Pot regime forced Svay Ken and his wife and children to flee the city and return to Takeo Province. Four years later, he and his family returned to Phnom Penh and Svay Ken resumed working at the hotel until he retired in 1994. It was during his later years of working at the hotel that he began drawing and painting vivid scenes of everyday Cambodian life, scenes depicting Cambodia's civil war (1970-75), and the terror of the Khmer Rouge (1975-78). Svay Ken intends for his works to remind future generations of the events of the past and his work has garnered international attention. He was recently chosen as Cambodia's entry in the Fukuoka Art Trienniale and his works have appeared in Asian Art News, Vietnam Times, and The New York Times.

This exhibition has been funded by the Golden Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the Friends of PS122 Gallery. Special thanks to LMAKprojects and M.Y. Art Prospects. An Imperfect Record will be followed by a two-person exhibition of paintings and related works by Ryan Humphrey and Rachel Urkowitz, scheduled to open on February 4, 2006.