Taking Heart in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

Left by Charles Cohen,  Jonah  (2015), archival pigment print, 30" x 20"; Right by Jason Bryant,  I Got This  (2017), oil on canvas, 40" x 30"

Left by Charles Cohen, Jonah (2015), archival pigment print, 30" x 20"; Right by Jason Bryant, I Got This (2017), oil on canvas, 40" x 30"

Jason Bryant and Charles Cohen

Press Release

Curated by Jessica Porter

Equity Gallery is pleased to present Taking Heart in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, a joint exhibition by painter Jason Bryant and photographer Charles Cohen. The exhibition will be on view from October 13 - November 25, 2017, with a public opening reception on Friday, October 13, from 6 PM - 8 PM.

In this collaborative show, Bryant presents paintings of Cohen’s photographs of the iterations of four advertisements as they appeared throughout the New York City subway system. Cohen has created photographic copies of copies and Bryant has created photo-realistic, original paintings of Cohen’s copies. The process itself asks the often ignored question, what is an original?

While Cohen and Bryant direct us to Walter Benjamin’s landmark essay, The Work of Art in The Age of Mechanical Reproduction, as the conceptual basis, they consider it an entry point to diverse cultural insights into socio economics, gender, celebrity, humor and violence.   

The work in the exhibition demonstrates that when considering the life of a copy, like that of a subway ad, the unique variations in installation, lighting and the markings of artists, all function as conduits of originality. Bryant and Cohen ask us to abandon the dualistic paradigm of original and copy so that we can surrender to the unique experience of viewing the work.