Short Version:

Lambert Fine Arts Presents:
Brandon Friend & Jason Douglas Griffin – Identity Crisis
November 11 – December 6th, 2011
Opening Reception: Friday November 11, 7-10pm
57 Stanton Street (at Eldridge) NY, NY 10002

Long Version (for all you readers):
Lambert Fine Arts is pleased to announce the opening reception of Identity Crisis, a collaborative exhibition of mixed media craftsmen Brandon Friend and Jason Douglas Griffin on Friday, November 11th from 7-10pm.

Identity Crisis is an internal conflict of and search for identity. In their coming exhibition, Brandon Friend and Jason Douglas Griffin explore this conflict through individual and collaborative portraits of social uprising and self-determination.

Friend and Griffin use mediated pop culture imagery as the foundation for their iconic characters – depersonalized representations of authority in situations of conflict. Friend’s Defenders and Griffin’s Ninjas question traditional social power structures using familiar characters that challenge viewers to position themselves on multiple sides of an implied conflict. The loosely narrative images offer no conclusions as to which parties actually are the defenders or those being defended, which are battling down and which are unleashed to stealthily fight on the side of truth. However, the reality of a larger cause is essential to this work which asks the public to question the sources, content, and fallout of the barrage of mediated information, and in turn to collectively rise above the desire for immediate satisfaction of individual needs for the good of the collective. Ultimately, the work poses the challenge of the Ninja/Defender – the viewer can choose whether they will collaborate.

This call to collaboration is at the center of the Identity Crisis addressed by both the Ninjas and Defenders Series, which use anonymity as a vehicle for collective engagement. The Defenders present images of concrete moments of faceless opponents in ambiguous conflict, asking the viewers to decide which side is which, and which side they would stand on. The Ninjas are composites, oppressors or the oppressed, created with and determined by viewers who have submitted images of themselves via social media outlets to be used discriminately as subject matter – to be ‘Ninjafied’. Both series’ converge on the moment of action, when decision is necessary, and ask the viewer to rise in response.

A Gentleman’s Game, a large-scale joint piece showing a Ninja and Defender playing a game of chess, seizes the window of Lambert Fine Arts and extends onto the walls, inviting public engagement with Identity Crisis. Inside are Friend’s Defenders, images of riot police created through collage of myriad layers of imprinted material on canvas and board, that reference topography, archaeology, and sculpture as much as traditional painting and drawing. Standing shoulder to shoulder with the Defenders are Griffin’s Ninjas, mixed-media works that bring transfers, stencils, line drawing, gestural and flat areas of abstraction into a spatial face-off. On hand will be an arsenal of collaborative pieces, combining the stratospheric, dream-like intensity of the defenders with the decisive, graphic and linear humor of the ninjas. These collaborations, in dialogue with the individual series’, present the Ninjas and Defenders as icons of a cinematic scope in an epic narrative of opposition.

– Text by Rachel Meuler


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