Recommended Bushwick Open Studio: Max Warsh

by Whitney Kimball on May 30, 2012 AFC Goes To Bushwick

Max Warsh (Studio View #1)

NAME: Max Warsh
MEDIUM: Photography, Collage, Painting
STUDIO LOCATION: 1717 Troutman St #327 Queens, NY 11385
BUSHWICK OPEN STUDIO HOURS: Saturday June 2nd, 2012, 12pm-7pm, Sunday June 3rd, 2012, 12pm-7pm
Yes, share with two other artists: April Childers and Siebren Versteeg.

[Editor’s note: Over the next three days we’ll be recommending artist studios we think readers should visit during Bushwick Open Studios this weekend, providing interviews with selected artists and compiling it into handy AFC maps you all can use to get around. We know the size of this event can be a little overwhelming. Hopefully, our work will make navigating the Bushwick terrain a little easier.]

Max Warsh’s collages are so fluidly integrated that the result seems to be a liquid, or a fine mesh. Architectural grids and gates are often woven with torn chunks of stone walls, or cut shapes are dispersed on paper like a floating puzzle. Warsh brings that sensibility to architectural photographs, as well; a brick staircase, or a cropped photo of a tree trunk next to a wall, are almost indistinguishable from collage.

How did you arrive at the collages? How long have you been making them?

Since about 2000, I’ve been looking at architecture and how the perceptions of buildings along with the materials that support them are constantly in flux. This has resulted in collages, videos and photomontages that incorporate multiple images in order to reflect the movement and dynamism that I find inherent to architecture and its image-consciousness. The group of collages I’m currently working on relates to an architectonic shift. While buildings have long been likened to images, now we are facing a moment where images are becoming more and more like buildings—the large field of images that we live within is becoming a more solidified structure that frames the way we read the landscape, while in turn buildings are becoming more permeable.

Is your work purely about visual process for you?

In this particular group of collages I am using photographs as a point of entry, but ultimately, the overall composition winds up denying access to the subjects in the photographs themselves. While a viewer can easily read what is in the photographs—cast tiles, bricks, ornamentation—there is a moment where you have to leave that all behind as the eye gets drawn through the space of the collage. Looking at the repetitive nature of building materials and processes has become a potent way to convey this as it correlates so directly to the visual tactics of image production.

Max Warsh, Jersey Barrier

Do titles like “Jersey Barrier” and “Interstate 09” refer to the final composition, or the source photos?

These titles always refer to the final composition, or at least to the experience of making or looking at the final composition. A Jersey Barrier is a movable concrete barrier that is often used to control traffic patterns or for security to prevent vehicles from entering a certain area. It happens to have been invented in New Jersey, but the source photos have nothing to do with Jersey, the place. As I was making this work, I encountered the name and liked the duplicity of this thing that is at once such a solid sturctural mass but also has the potential to be picked up and moved at any moment. Both of these titles also refer to the delineation (Jersey Barrier) or connection (Interstate) of one autonomous zone from or to another, which is also closely linked with the process of making these collages.

Are you still co-curating at Regina Rex? If yes, what’s a recent show you curated there?

Yes, I worked closely with Regina Rex co-curator Jeff DeGolier on the recent John Almanza and Dave Hardy exhibition, and I’m very excited about a three-person exhibition I am working on for September.

Max Warsh (Studio View #2)

What music do you listen to in the studio?

Currently, I’m really into the the new Black Dice album Mr. Impossible. It is the perfect concoction of energizing yet repetitively jarring rhythms that keep me going in the studio.

Would you rather: Lower East Side or Chelsea?

I grew up in the Lower East Side, so that’s easy. Ridgewood.

[Art Fag City Bushwick Open Studios coverage is generously supported by the Brooklyn Arts Council and reader donations.] 

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