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Emily Roysdon

Exhibition: Emily Roysdon
Dates: October 18 – November 19, 2016
Opening: October 18, 2016, 6 – 8 pm

Higher Pictures is pleased to present the work of Emily Roysdon. This is Roysdon’s first exhibition with Higher Pictures and marks the first time she is showing her work in a commercial gallery context after nearly a decade of exhibiting internationally.

Roysdon’s interdisciplinary practice spans photography, performance, video, printmaking, costume design, text, song writing, and curating. Her work has been anchored by a persistent and evolving inquiry into movement in all of its senses – social, experimental, political, and aesthetic; an exploration of the frames and margins that describe and inscribe space and image.

At Higher Pictures Roysdon presents a salon-style hang of her photographic projects made over the last decade, distilling her variform thinking and production into an engagement with the specific visual language of photography – its sitedness, its relationship to abstraction, and the translation of physical actions (in the darkroom) into a static image. She takes a willfully undisciplined approach to photography, combining multiple negatives onto a page, cutting and sewing gelatin silver prints, and screen-printing onto the photographic image.

Included here are the twelve gelatin silver prints that comprise Roysdon’s earliest body of work, Untitled (David Wojnarowicz project) (2001–07), in which she recasts Wojnarowicz’s series Rimbaud in New York (1978–79), bridging a historical and contemporary dialogue of gender and identity. The Piers Untitled (2010) takes aim at New York’s Christopher Street Piers, a historically rich site of culture and activism for the queer community in the city. Roysdon both presents the unpopulated cityscape as memorial and interjects into it with collage to question the latent meaning of unmarked historical sites and suggest the subversive potential of marginalized, counter-cultural space.

In recent years, Roysdon has been working with photograms, one of the earliest and most persistent experimental forms in the history of the medium. Her two photogram series Calendar and Discompose (both 2014 and ongoing) feature various objects arranged in the darkroom, each print a record of up to 25 individual exposures. Both were originally conceived as part of the visual lexicon of Uncounted, a larger project about time, light, and performativity. For the Calendar series Roysdon uses an object like a sundial underneath the enlarger lens to cast a shadow that resembles a lightbulb or phases of the moon, visually imprinting time. In the Discompose series waveforms, lines, and circles form a visual score, somewhere between image and form, sound and rhythm. Roysdon’s photograms are an exercise in abstraction as she composes and discomposes with an inescapable, joyful element of chance in the process.

Emily Roysdon (b. 1977) earned her MFA from UCLA in 2006. She is the cofounder and editor of the journal LTTR, is the author of the influential essay “Ecstatic Resistance,” and has collaborated with the bands Le Tigre, MEN, and The Knife. Recent projects have been commissioned by Secession, Vienna (2015); PARTICIPANT INC, New York (2015); Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (2014) and Tate Modern (2012). Her work has been included in recent editions of the Gwangju Biennale, Sydney Biennale, the Whitney Biennial, New Museum Triennial, MoMA PS1’s Greater New York, and Manifesta. Her work is held in the public collections of The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the New York Public Library; and Moderna Museet, Stockholm. Roysdon is Professor of Art at Konstfack University College of Arts, Crafts, and Design in Stockholm, Sweden.

For more information contact Kathryn McElroy at 212-249-6100.