Photographs courtesy of Sarah Kjelleren.
BOCKTROPOLIS - An Offense to the Senses
As the world continues to degenerate around us, our artist sinks deeper into fantasy- ‘BOCKTROPOLIS’ is part escapism and part instrument of inquiry. An exploration not of black and white; right or wrong- but instead the grey spaces in-between. Utilizing found objects as well as fabrications of his own design, Bock delineates an urban dystopia mirroring our own world.
The found objects themselves become a testament to migration of peoples, religious ramifications and capitalist consequences on every day life. These articles are both ordinary and uncanny- objects we may recognize from our own lives- having at one point been owned by individuals or families- but now abandoned and cast away. Many are worn in by use and time, making them precious with inherent histories one can only guess at. The objects linger on physically, but the invisible significance, denominations and functionality we bestow upon them are fragile and fleeting. Through Bock’s process of painting and modification- he begins to break down and in turn shed light, on the inherent capitalist traces left behind. In doing so these objects become personified- while the subjects depicted in Bock's work correspondingly become effected, even objectified in an exchange that leaves the viewer unsure where one begins and the other ends.
While still focusing on painting, Bock has begun to play with sculpture, installation, new media/moving image and even performance to better navigate his reverie. In BOCKTROPOLIS the shattered angles and perspectives, so prevalent in Bock's work, force themselves beyond the confines of two- dimensional configurations and begin to bleed out into physical space and time. Real world understanding of optics and physics are threatened, while the emphasis on light and shadow through flat shade clash with protruding or recessed surfaces. Both found and produced objects showcase a keen sense of observation but also a willingness to embrace and satirize the absurdity of the environment around us. They teeter- one foot set firmly and unapologetically in representation while the other foot finds itself somewhere surreal and as yet, undefined.
BOCKTROPOLIS includes a live, one night only, theatrical sock puppet performance entitled ‘An Offense to the Senses’ in four acts- starring Mr. Doingtoomuch and Nas Leber. The show will include animation/projection work by new media artist Alex Halbert, as well as musical and sound accompaniment by Sam Mewton. The performance aims to highlight humanity’s oneness through the nonsensical arguing of neighbors- as they offend each others senses one by one.
Over all, BOCKTROPOLIS becomes more of an experiential theme park than an exhibition. A place that encourages fun and exploration -A place where one can evade dreary every day life, if only for a short time. However, after that time has elapsed, one might see the theme park for what it is: a distraction. Specifically designed in a poor attempt to contain a chaotic reality ripping at the seams of an indefensible childlike imagination which continues to cling for dear life.
Ryan Bock Was born in San Francisco in 1989. He has a BFA from The Art Institute of Chicago. Currently he lives and works in New York City.
Bock's work includes painting, drawing, puppetry, animation and experimental film methods. Preferring a hand crafted aesthetic, and feeling as if the use of computers diminishes the presence of his artistic hand- the majority of Bock’s work is devoid of digital mediums, opting instead for time tested analog methods. At the root of Bock’s practice is a need for narrative structure. Resting somewhere between mythology and nightmare Bock depicts mise en scène riddled with symbology and allusions both cinematic and painterly in nature.
Founded in 2012 by brothers Sei and Ki Smith, Apostrophe NYC began as a renegade art gallery and underground music venue in Bushwick, Brooklyn. After a year of hosting and stimulating New York City’s emerging artists, musicians, and culture rats, Apostrophe NYC was forcibly shuttered by New York’s Finest. Without an address, Apostrophe NYC continues to throw pop-up events and art shows that push the boundaries of expected experiences. Currently, Apostrophe NYC and their Base 12 artists have a 9,000 sq.ft. gallery and studio space through a year long residency program at Mana Contemporary.
Since 2016 Apostrophe NYC's main focus has been their Base 12 project, a 2-year global art project featuring 12 emerging artists through a series of site specific pop-ups and exhibitions. The goal is to showcase these 12 artists while simultaneously exploring the effect of site and context on the art experience.