Jack Henry, Matthew Colaizzo, Rebecca Simon Miller

Built/Building Environment, July 2019

Opening Reception: Friday July 12, 6-10pm
Runs: Saturday, July 6–Sunday, July 28
Press Contact: 2xgrizzly@gmail.com

This July, Grizzly Grizzly is proud to present Built/Building Environment, a group exhibition by Matthew Colaizzo, Jack Henry, and Rebecca Simon Miller.

Colaizzo, Henry, and Miller’s drawing, sculpture, and painting explore the intersection between the built and natural environments and the territory that is obscured and ordered by human and industrial forces. Their work examines the way this human/industrial control shapes our understanding of the environment as observers and as participants. Each artist’s unique material approach functions to edit these spaces, further curating their accessibility to viewers. Matthew Colaizzo’s drawings exist behind imposing, hyper-color barricades, obscuring our understanding of the landscape, while Jack Henry’s sculptures call into question the natural and industrial sources from which they originated, and Rebecca Simon Miller’s carefully painted and arranged panels truncate our view of the broader environment.

Matthew Colaizzo’s drawings explore our relationship with boundaries, land organization, accessibility, and private property. The inspiration for his drawings comes from small-scale and industrial land management sites. Colaizzo focuses on areas where restricted access (roadwork, mining, quarrying) limits the viewer’s understanding of where the natural ends and human intervention begins. He obfuscates our view of these mysterious, manicured environments with artificial boundaries and fences. The dirt pile, a common sight in these places, appears frequently in Colaizzo’s work. It serves as a metaphor for the bridge between the built and the natural, reimagined as a shrine through collage, artificial color, and shifted scale.

Jack Henry utilizes discarded objects and plant life collected from his surroundings in his sculptures. He embeds found material between layers of gypsum cement and creates replicas of objects to cast as pieces for assemblage. His processes position him as an objective observer of the collision and synergy between the industrial and the natural. Industrial expansion and natural growth are of equal importance in Henry’s work, tangled together in a new reality shaped by their opposing forces. His objects and their relationships seem personally significant, at times hidden and at others exposed, woven together as archaeological samples from his engineered environment.

Rebecca Simon Miller’s New Forest is a collection of panels inspired by her walks through the forest and city. Her project began in 2009 and is ongoing. The concept of the walk invokes childhood, fantasy, and discovery for Miller. Her zoom and focus on objects distant in the natural and the built environments calls to mind Bachelard’s ideas about the miniature and intimate immensity. Miller controls the viewer’s sense of traversed distance and time through the accumulation and editing of the imagery she selects for her installation. Each panel in New Forest reads as a specimen, classified by the juxtaposition of whatever imagery Miller places next to it. The installation’s overall shape is in flux, allowing Miller to curate a taxonomical kingdom for the viewer.

Artist Bios

Matthew Colaizzo was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1983 and currently lives and works in the city. He received his BFA from Tyler School of Art (2006) and his MFA for the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (2011). His work has been included in various group exhibitions, including The International Print Center of New York and the University of Texas in Austin, as well as a solo exhibition at Napoleon Gallery (2015). He has been Artist in Residence at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass, Colorado and Signal Fire Outpost in Mt. Hood National Forest, Oregon. Colaizzo Currently teaches in the foundation department at Tyler School of Art.

Jack Henry was born in Jackson, MS before moving to Flint, MI at an early age. He graduated with a BFA from Florida Atlantic University and earned his MFA from University of Maryland. His work has been shown throughout the US and abroad, including exhibitions at Wasserman Projects, Detroit; Lesley Heller Workspace, New York; ProjekTraum, Friedrichshafen, Germany; Black and White Gallery, Brooklyn; Glass Curtain Gallery, Columbia College, Chicago; Spring/Break Art Fair, New York; Nudashank, Baltimore; Fjord Gallery, Philadelphia. His work has been written about in the Chicago Tribune, the L Magazine and Hyperallergic. Jack Henry lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

Rebecca Simon Miller builds up accumulations of moments in place through drawings and paintings on shaped paper and wood panel. The physicality of art materials, of mark-making and paint application, is crucial to her project, which revels in the possession of landscape, and longs to create depth and more-ness through a density of detail and a building up of fragments. The journey format of walks, writing, and music, unfolding over time, inspires her work, as does the meditative perambulation of stepping stones. During her BFA work at Alfred University, ceramics influenced her sense of shape and materiality. Miller moved from the nearby Brandywine Valley in 2008 to pursue her MFA at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and has maintained her studio practice in Philadelphia.  She is currently a Teaching Artist with Mural Arts Philadelphia.

This project was supported in part by The Velocity Fund administered by Temple Contemporary with generous funding from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.