On view at Rivalry Projects, Homecoming: Joerg Dressler + Billy Frolov brings together two artists with expatriate ties to Western New York. Their individual art practices seek to define location, lineage, and inheritance through altered landscapes, and objects recalled from memory. This exhibition is on view in tandem with Dylan Nelson: Fake a Practical from November 4-December 23, 2022, with an Opening Reception on First Friday, November 4, 2022, from 5:00-9:00 PM.
The artwork within this exhibition includes paintings which communicate and mutate around naturalistic space, with specific visual emphasis given to Niagara Falls. The inclusion of the world-famous waterfall allows each artist an inlet to speak through biographical narratives tied to our region, while also emphasizing the importance of geography and human interventions as keys to understanding the constructed-ness of our world.
Joerg Dressler’s artwork in Homecoming uses flora and geographic landmarks such as Niagara Falls to pin a specificity of place to the landscapes he alters through painting and dimensional interventions. Dressler’s artwork operates in the direct lineage of landscape and plein air painting and is tied largely to a Hudson River School tradition. His landscapes, specifically from the “Nature Interrupted” and “Untold Stories” series within this exhibit, pair meticulously rendered slices of landscape and paragraphs of color with blips of painting to the effect of displaced or dislocated space, held aloft and removed from the rigors of our climate collapse. Additional work within Homecoming is drawn from his “Hybrids” body of work which bridges two and three-dimensional space, moving the landscape from a hypothetical dislocation into a realized interruption of how landscape is communicated and mutated within a fine art reading.
Billy Frolov’s artwork within Homecoming revolves around the conceits of kitsch and play as a means toward recovering memories and familial narratives tied to Western New York. Her work, often taking the form of painting, assemblage, collage, and small-scale interventions speaks through an economy of visual vocabulary and a diminutive scale to explore the layering, dislocation, affect and construction of memory both as an individual affect and a communal bedrock. Frolov characterizes her work as a “celebration of life”, drawing upon childhood memories of Western New York and familial linkages to migration to understand her past. As it relates to place, Frolov uses Western New York as a psychic and physical locus upon which new narratives and material connections are forged within her practice. Her work within Homecoming scaffolds outward, inviting viewers to interpolate the work while also slowing down their reading of pieces long enough to register the delicacy and degradation of materials within the finished artwork. Much as a tool of memory, Frolov’s artwork highlights its own instability within the face of an ineffable future.