The Space Between, an exhibition of new work by the artist, will be on view at ClampArt from April 3 through May 17, 2014. Yankus’ fourth solo show at the gallery, the exhibition of more than 20 works explores the fine line between urban reality and architectural fiction though surreal portraits of buildings.
Living in a mutable, fast paced city like New York is, in itself, a surreal experience. At times, the world passes us by in soft focus, where details fall to the wayside and the overall tone of our environment is what characterizes our experience of the city. At other times, we find ourselves raptured by specific details, when we focus intently and intensely on the object of our affection and interest. My work attempts to capture this variation in experience, by bringing to the forefront the altered reality in which we live. Through my surrealistic works of art, I create portraits of New York by focusing on its details. My goal is to catalyze my audience’s experience of New York’s cityscape through its details, allowing them to feel the texture of the buildings, the play of darkness and light – to create an intimate connection to the essence of architecture as I see it.
I’m drawn to the majestic details and materials of classical historical buildings, many of which are hidden from view, tucked behind new architecture. In these instances, a mere sliver of the old, of history, is there to be photographed, leaving me to recreate the rest of the building to make it whole again. In my mind’s eye, I’m rebuilding my own imagined vision of the city, in which historical buildings exist as living presences, adding to the experience of New York.
This is a night shot, through my friend’s window you could see this monster of a building been built. The soft focus in this image captures the blurry, surreal light in New York. It’s as though the buildings were made of round eucalyptus, disks of light.
Before the Meat Market in downtown NYC was developed in the late 90’s I took a bike ride with my camera strapped around my neck. A drive by shooting.
This building, shot at night, was fascinating to me because of its shape and color. The idea that it had absorbed the heat from the sun and was glowing and emanating energy through light was my first thought as I looked upon it. The angular appearance also adds to the strength it conveys.
The group of buildings in Sheridan Square, near my home, have always had a literary quality to me – the texture of the trees and buildings speaks to me like a story from a book. Playing on textures of brick, trees and a modified sky that enhances the synesthesia it is meant to inspire.
This cluster of buildings was one that particularly fascinated me. The way the buildings seemed so similar, yet contrasted by their inhabitants – it almost felt like it was a family of buildings that lived close by but had developed into individuals.
The San Remo building has long been a symbol of New York’s older architecture. In this image, I drew upon the whimsical and ethereal air that surrounds it, to represent it as a castle from the view in Central Park. It is a testament to the diversity of New York’s architecture that this almost medieval scene can be found in our metropolitan city.
This image was created using a photo taken from a rooftop during a rather intense snowstorm. The mixture of steam and snow created a mysterious, beautiful fog-like quality in the view, which enveloped the scene in a whimsy and a romance that is so characteristic of a typical New York morning.
This piece is one that very clearly demonstrates the name of my latest show, The Space Between. The small space between the windows of the building gave such an aura of mystery, of a community tucked between the two conjoined towers.
When I looked at the profile of the cityscape in Tribeca, this building stood out like a beautiful monolith that overshadowed the buildings around it. I modified the scene to bring it to the attention of the observer, allowing it to exude the power I felt it possessed.
This image was reconstructed from a mere sliver of a building visible in a larger shot from a rooftop somewhere in the west 30s. I re-imagined the building as I thought it must look in its entirety – and was surprised and amused by the starkly different reality when I walked past it a few months after creating this piece.
All images © of the artist