Oct 14 - Nov 12, 2005
Press release for exhibition Monitor Street
Jessica Rohrer has always painted the places in which she has lived. In her first solo show at P·P·O·W Gallery, she has expanded from painting a history of her dwelling spaces to painting the neighborhood in which she currently inhabits. In this exhibition, Rohrer has precisely painted the entirety of Monitor Street, Brooklyn miniaturizing it in a style that takes its influences from Sienese painting to photorealism. Rohrer, in the past, has painted her surroundings as a means to explore her own history and identity. By painting her neighborhood, she is not only painting a portrait of herself but that of an identity connected to a larger community with its own sense of social history.
Rohrer's paintings straddle a line between the geometric flatness of minimalism and the absurd acute detail of photorealism. Each painting is a Monitor Street redux, block by block, depicting its street-level brick and aluminum-sided facades from side to side of each taut panel. Like that of an early Alex Katz, Rohrer's subject is surrounded by a stark white background that inhibits depth and flattens the picture plane. She then breaks this flatness by reflecting the other side of the street in the windows dotted along the colder browns and grays of the apartment buildings, often painting colorful atmospheres that lay outside in double and triple warped reflections. These windows act as squares of color and movement in the static façade. Rohrer separates her street scene with an addition of Greenpoint's McGolrick Park, adding the city's idealization of nature in her depiction of an idealized city.