Off Screen
Jacob Ciocci,  Storm De Hirsch, Paul Gagner, Dona Nelson, Raha Raissnia, Pieter Schoolwerth
May 20 – June 20, 2016
Opening Friday May 20, 6-9pm

Jacob Ciocci_Refuse

Jacob Ciocci, “refuse 2 lose, #self talk”, 2015, UV print on Birch Wood, 60 x 40 inches
Image courtesy of the artist

Installation Views

Microscope Gallery is very pleased to present “Off Screen”, a group exhibition of new or newly uncovered works in painting by six artists – Jacob Ciocci, Storm De Hirsch, Paul Gagner, Dona Nelson, Raha Raissnia, Pieter Schoolwerth – who are informed to various extents by other mediums, technologies, and practices including sculpture, moving image, and digital art. “Off Screen” approaches the canvas in relationship to the screen – projection, tv, computer, hand-held device, headset, etc – as a surface for presenting images to be experienced over time.

With works on view ranging from oil and inkjet print on canvas, to mixed media on paper, to freestanding multiple canvas works, and utilizing hybrid techniques and non-traditional approaches, the exhibition also ponders the ubiquitous nature of the screen today and its influence on established art forms.

“Off Screen” features the first in a new series by Dona Nelson of paired double-sided vertical canvases, standing slightly angled and fixed to a floor platform. As in other recent works, the canvases serve as membranes through which materials such as paint, dyed-string, and crude figurative shapes made with cheesecloth seep, penetrate, and cast shadows requiring the viewer to circle the work in order to view it in its entirety.

Newly discovered mixed media on wood panel paintings by the seminal avant-garde filmmaker and poet Storm De Hirsch made from 1961-62, around the time she completed her first film, reveal the artist’s interest in color, line and movement, elements that are also concerns of her early film works especially in scenes where she scratches and paints directly onto celluloid, or overlays animation over footage shot in every day life.

Pieter Schoolwerth’s “Purple Model of a Couple Arguing about their Abysmal Financial Situation” is the latest in his ongoing “Model as Painting” project, composed through a complex procedure in which a photograph of a human model is elaborated further through drawing, sculpture, and digital image processing among others before it is output. Paint is then applied as a gestural mark, free from the representational responsibilities already assumed by the underlying printed image, yet still faced with constraints of color and composition.

Raha Raissnia’s “Nadir” is a painting of a painted 35mm photographic slide used in a recent film performance by the artist, in whose work the mediums of painting and film often cross-pollinate. In this predominantly black and white interpretation of the source figurative elements emerge from the painted, scraped, and erased surface as if it were a film projected on the canvas.

Similarly created through an off screen/on screen cycle, Jacob Ciocci’s new “refuse 2 lose, #self talk“ blurs the boundaries between canvas and screen, and painting and printing. The work, which blends fluctuating pastel color gradations and representations of internet language – hyperlinked hashtags and pop-up messages – starts as a painting which is scanned and enlarged before re-emerging as digital print on gessoed wood.

Finally, Paul Gagner’s textured “Muta Domum Herb” presents the process of image making as subject. The work depicts the hands of the artist attempting to photograph the “dumb house plant” referenced in the work’s title with his smartphone waiting to autofocus.

“Off Screen” opens Friday May 20th and runs through Monday June 20th. Opening Reception is Friday May 20th, 6-9pm. Gallery Hours: Thursday to Monday 1-6pm.

High-res or additional images are available upon request. For inquiries please contact the gallery at or by phone at 347.925.1433

Jacob Ciocci is an artist living and working in Brooklyn, NY and Oberlin, OH. In his videos, net-art, multi-media installations and performances, the cultural symbols of our time, both the popular and the obscure, both the contemporary and the recently forgotten confront one another and the viewer on an emotional, visceral, and comical level. His interaction with media is both celebratory and critical, the result of an art practice directly interlinked with American popular culture. Ciocci is a founding member of the influential art collective Paper Rad and the performance group Extreme Animals and has shown work and performed at the New Museum, New York, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Tate, London, UK among others. Recent activity includes a solo exhibit at Interstate Gallery in Brooklyn, NY (Fall 2015).

Storm De Hirsch (b. 1912 as Lillian Malkin in New Jersey, d. 2000 in New York) was a poet and seminal figure in 1960-70s American avant-garde film.  Among others, De Hirsch’s films were presented during her lifetime in retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Anthology Film Archives, New York,  Ann Arbor Film Festival, Michigan, and the Cannes Film Festival, France. De Hirsch’s works were also featured in “Thirty Years of American Cinema” at the Museum of Modern Art (1979), “Big As Life: An American History of 8mm Films”, Museum of Modern Art, New York (1999) and others. De Hirsch was also a founding member of the Film-maker’s Coop in New York.

Paul Gagner (b. 1976, Wisconsin) in his works renders through painting fleeting impressions from his life, real or imaginary, often with humor and self-referential comments on the making of the work itself. Gagner’s work has previously exhibited at Halsey McKay, East Hampton, NY, Lesley Heller Workspace, New York, Centotto (Brooklyn, NY), Transmitter (Brooklyn, NY), The Parlour (Brooklyn, NY), Sideshow (Brooklyn, NY), the Sheila & Richard Riggs Leidy Galleries at the Maryland Institute College of Art, and the Richmond Center for Visual Arts, among others. Gagner received his BFA from the School of Visual Arts in 2005, and his MFA from Brooklyn College in 2009.  He currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

Dona Nelson (b. 1947, Nebraska ) moved to New York City in 1967 to participate in the Whitney Independent Study Program. She received her BFA from Ohio State University in 1968. Over the years she has had numerous, widely reviewed solo shows including a mid-career survey at the Weatherspoon Art Gallery, Greensboro, North Carolina and at galleries such as Rosa Esman, Michael Klein and Cheim & Read in New York. Her work has appeared at institutions such as the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, New York University’s 80WSE, Bard College, Apexart, the Milwaukee Art Museum, and the Aldrich Museum, and is included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts – among others. In 2013, Nelson received the Artists’ Legacy Foundation Award, she was a 2011 Foundation for Contemporary Arts grant recipient, and received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1994. Most recently, her work was included in two-person show with Polly Apfelbaum at Michael Benevento, Los Angeles.

Raha Raissnia (b. 1968, Tehran, Iran) received her BFA from the School of the Art institute of Chicago in 1992 and her MFA from Pratt Institute in 2002. In the interim, her interest in avant-garde filmmaking led her to work at Anthology Film Archives (1995–1999), where she has also exhibited. In 2015, her work was included in “All the World’s Futures” curated by Okwui Enwezor for The Venice Biennale 56th International Art Exhibition. Recent solo shows were held at Miguel Abreu Gallery, New York; Galeria Marta Cervera, Madrid; Galerie Xippas, Paris, and the Isfahan Museum of Contemporary Art, Isfahan, Iran. Raissnia’s projection performances have been held at MoMA, New York; Issue Project Room, New York; Emily Harvey Foundation, New York, and Arnolfini – Center for Contemporary Arts, Bristol, UK, among others. Raissnia’s first solo show in Tehran was held at Ab/Anbar in December 2015.

Pieter Schoolwerth (b. 1970, St. Louis, Missouri) explores the ways in which the ever-changing forces of abstraction in the world effect the task of representing the human body. He is interested in depicting the figure grounded in the ubiquitous glowing screens of digital technology and the way in which this mediated reality affects our sense of space, time, and attention span. Schoolwerth has developed a highly idiosyncratic painting process involving photography and image processing that results in woven compositions of human-object hybridity printed out on canvas. His work has been included in group exhibitions at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Centre Pompidou, Paris, The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, CT, and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston. He studied at the California Institute of the Arts and lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

Nadir_Raha Raissnia
Raha Raissnia, “Nadir”, 2016, mixed media on paper laid down on canvas, 36 x 58 inches
Image courtesy of the artist and Miguel Abreu Gallery

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