Spaghetti Code

Alain Biltereyst
Samantha Bittman
Nick Schutzenhofer
Despina Stokou

Curated by Tony Lewis and Joe Reihsen

Viewing Room

January 23-February 8th by appointment
Opening reception: Friday, January 29th, 8-11pm
Gallery hours: 12-6pm, and by appointment

Spaghetti Code is a term for source code with an unwieldy structure, often including many “GOTO” statements, exceptions, conditions, or other branching constructs. The program becomes a network of twisted complexity. Everything is connected to everything else, so if one error occurs, the entire program crashes. Programmers prefer a simple algorithm; at the same time they realize that a sticky problem may require a more complex solution.[1] To solve complex problems, we must allow things to get messier, even more entangled. 

This exhibition brings together artists who utilize structured procedures, while also allowing for the metaphysical to arrive through material. The works shift between a fascination with hard edge, muddled grids and systematic magic. Alain Biltereyst, Samantha Bittman, Nick Schutzenhofer and Despina Stokou are painters rooted in the idiosyncrasies of solipsistic painting, as well as the outward generosity of the medium. They loosely appropriate visual codes such as weaving, html, graphic design and emojis, as a way to explore how the technology of image making advances private thoughts, and public communication.

[1] Lewis, Harry R., and Chistos H. Papadimitriou. "The Efficiency of Algorithms." Scientific American 238.1 (1978): 96-109. 

Samantha Bittman’s restrained method generates a vibrant spectrum of patterns and forms. From a distance, the brightly colored, geometric paintings on woven fabric look like Photoshopped digital prints, but up close they reveal tedious handiwork and layers of materials. Samantha Bittman lives and works in Chicago, IL. She received her B.F.A. from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2004, her M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2010, and also attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2011. Recent solo exhibitions include Material Data at Johansson Projects, Oakland, CA; Razzle Dazzle at Andrew Rafacz Gallery, Chicago, IL; Number Cruncher at Longhouse Projects, New York, NY; and Soft Counting, at Greenpoint Terminal, Brooklyn, NY. 

Alain Biltereyst’s graphic paintings on plywood recall geometric and hard-edge paintings of the 1960s. The works toy with the notion of pure abstraction, but inevitably evoke referents from the space of the everyday: stripes on the side of a truck, fences, advertisements, and construction equipment. The resulting shapes, though rendered with precision, show the touch of the hand, or edits to a reductive process. Alain Biltereyst lives and works in Brussels. Recent solo exhibitions include PLIAGE/FOLD at Gagosian, Paris; MORE OR LESS at Galeria Múrias Centeno, Lisboa, PT; Geo Land at Jack Hanley Gallery, New York, NY; The Story Behind: Untitled Compositions at Nogueras Blanchard, Barcelona, ES; Street Geometries at Gallerie Van der Mieden, Brussels, BE; and Notes at Devening Projects, Chicago, IL. 

Despina Stokou’s frenetic canvases incorporate varied sources, such as blog posts, song lyrics and emojis. The collaged compositions reflect a recursive process of encoding and decoding the visual languages of our time. In layers of scratches and symbols, Stokou embeds a playful query into how objects accrue value and meaning. Despina Stokou lives and works in Los Angeles. She has recently been featured in exhibitions at Derek Eller, Gagosian, Athens, Ibid, Los Angeles, CA, Nathalie Karg Gallery, New York, NY, and Krinzinger Projekte, Vienna, AU. Stokou has an upcoming solo exhibition at Galerie EIGEN + ART, Leipzig, DE.

In Nick Schutzenhofer’s kaleidoscopic paintings, figures and forms emerge from immersive patterns made up of expressive marks. Referencing Medieval tapestries and Nabi paintings, Schutzenhofer’s emotive brush strokes belie a rigid system for rendering images. Fascinated by the materials and techniques of constructing a painting, he uses glue and layers of medium to secure paper to stretched canvas, creating a smooth surface to experiment with egg tempera, oil and encaustic. Nick Schutzenhofer is based in Los Angeles after recently received his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He has exhibited work with Shane Campbell and Caprice Fenway, Chicago, IL, and has an upcoming solo exhibition at Shaheen Modern and Contemporary, Cleveland, OH.