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Alexis Granwell - Wax and Wane | Michael Berryhill - Fear of a Flat Planet

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press release

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CTRL gallery is pleased to present new works by artists Alexis Granwell and Michael Berryhill.

Alexis Granwell is returning to CTRL gallery with Wax and Wane, a solo exhibition of new work including monoprint etchings, wall-based sculpture and a large-scale freestanding sculptural work.
There is a strong celestial character to Granwell's etchings. They have a rare and ancient quality and could almost pass as antediluvian renderings of prophetic visions or metaphysical depictions of the various shapes of the soul. Though at the same time, these works on paper have a distinctly utilitarian feel, like documents or plans of some sort. They are both diagrammatic and soulful, graphic yet mysterious.
Her sculptures on the other hand are of the earth. For these sculptures, Granwell collects most of her materials from the streets around her Philadelphia studio. Everything is organized and catalogued according to color, size, etc. Some of these items are then cast in paper, some are bound in waxed thread, and some are painted before they are carefully composed to form delicate sculptural wall collages. They are however only delicate in the way the human spirit is delicate; sure they could be crushed, but it's almost certain that they would quickly re-form and be even stronger for it.

Alexis Granwell has exhibited internationally including a 2005 solo exhibition at the Europos Parkas Museum, Vilinius, Lithuania. Other venues include exhibitions at the Delaware Center for Contemporary Art, The Print Center, Ontario, CA and a solo show at the Arlington Center for the Arts, Arlington, VA. Granwell received her MFA (2007) at the University of Pennsylvania. She lives and works in Philadelphia and is represented by CTRL gallery, Houston.

Michael Berryhill was recently included in the CTRL group exhibition Precarity and the Butter Tower and now he's coming back for more with his first Houston solo exhibition, Fear of a Flat Planet.
Berryhill's show title has multiple meanings in terms of his practice and how he approaches and understands painting. For those familiar with 1990's hip-hop, Fear of a Flat Planet will ring a bell. It is the painter's take on Public Enemy's album title, Fear of a Black Planet, a recording that has been described as a "sonic wall" of sampled sounds, collaged together from various musical sources.
Berryhill's paintings also sample from other sources. In the show's largest painting, A Little Less Piero in My Monitor, a huge pile of Picasso shares the stage with the early renaissance perspective and angels of Italian artist Piero della Francesca. This brings us to the second meaning of the show's title, the 'Flat Planet' part.
Just like all of those painters who have gone before, Berryhill is necessarily aware of the challenge of depicting (or not depicting) real space and volume on a flat surface. This struggle is played out in real time across the surfaces of the canvases in this show.
A third meaning has to do with Berryhill's desire to create non-ideological paintings, works that could be viewed and appreciated on their own terms, with inherent meaning apart from any particular worldview, experience or life perspective. Perhaps one of the most distinct and sensational worldviews currently out there is held by the members of the Flat Earth Society, just the sort of people Berryhill aims to avoid, if people were paintings.

Michael Berryhill was born in El Paso, Texas. He earned his B.F.A. at the University of Texas at Austin in 1994 and his M.F.A. from Columbia University in 2009. He has shown work in New York, Chicago, Houston, Berlin, Portland, and Austin. In 2007 he completed a residency at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Last year Michael was selected for the space program by the Marie Walsh Sharpe Foundation, a program that awards year-long studios in Brooklyn, NY.