“Foskers & Egg Whites”
New York, 535 west 22nd Street
Ben Gocker’s body of work incorporates drawings, paintings, installations, sculptures, and assemblages. In each, Gocker often takes as his starting point the ephemeral or overlooked -- doodles, marginalia, forgettable chapbooks of self-published poetry, cornerstore books of dreams and numbers -- and pairs them with equally minor materials: sawdust, peanuts, carpet remnants, wood scraps from framers’ shops, and found objects from thrift stores, dumps, and the curb.
With Foskers & Egg Whites, Gocker presents a new body of large-scale assemblages fashioned from carved and painted wood pieces, tin cans, wire, rocks, and newspaper. These new brightly colored, quilt-like arrangements look both forward and backward; many of the pieces in the show include elements from older works which have been disassembled and reincorporated here. Taking their cues from children’s puzzle books and dollar store word search collections, the pieces in the show are straight forward by way of mystery, and mysterious by way of the mundane. In the show’s largest work, The End is the Beginning, words that begin and end with the same letter (Xerox destroyed toast/thermostat sorceress) swirl around an anthropomorphic lion carved from wood who smiles in a frozen trot above either a sinkhole or a supernova. Or both.
Employing a kind of rough and ready marquetry, Gocker revitalizes the reconstructed fragments in this exhibition to propose a new approach to expressionism, materiality, and poetic space.