Dunkle Wolke (Dark Cloud)
27 May 2011

Dunkle Wolke

an exhibition organized by William Powhida

June 3-26
Opening Reception: Friday, June 3, 6-9PM


16 Wilson Avenue, Brooklyn
open weekends 1-6PM
(646) 361-8512


From I See a Darkness, Bonny ‘Prince’ Billy
well you’re my friend
(it’s what you told me)
and can you see
(what’s inside of me)
many times
we’ve been out drinking
and many times
we’ve shared our thoughts
but did you ever, ever notice
the kind of thoughts I got
well you know I have a love
a love for everyone I know
and you know I have a drive
to live I won’t let go
but can you see its opposition
comes a-rising up sometimes
that it’s dreadful and position
comes blacking in my mind

and that I see a darkness
and that I see a darkness
and that I see a darkness
and that I see a darkness
and did you know how much I love you
is a hope that somehow you you
can save me from this darkness



The artists in Dunkle Wolke are people I consider to be friends, or at least people I’ve shared a drink and a discussion about art with. They are artists who also have some experience with darkness in all its forms from the purely formal to the emotional weight of loneliness. They talk about darkness as a condition of their environment, history, politics, a color, or personal relationships that often takes on the form of what Bjoern Meyer-Ebrecht describes as an ‘ominous shape’. For me, the ominous shape is an expression of anxiety about the production of art and a search for meaning in an often chaotic world where historical narratives break down into reality without the authority of history and moral intention. Through the process of putting reality into a narrative, we attempt give it meaning making it a contentious site to be written and unwritten giving rise to a tension between form and language.


These tensions between reality and history, language and form are present in the works of the artists, all of whom I think about when I consider art’s relationship to the authority of history and its certainty of intention, which I do not share. Bill Abdale’s series of large-scale charcoal drawings examine the surfaces of the books he has read including Dosteyevsky’s meditation on morality “Crime and Punishment”. Through the process of reproduction, Bill traces what has been lost, scarred, and destroyed through use and interpretation. Ellie Ga’s performance, “Catalog of the Lost”, seeks to rediscover what has been presumed to be lost to history by exploring the fate of an arctic expedition. Her photographs in the show, “Fissures” are beautiful documents of her own 5 month arctic expedition, which was as much as an inward exploration as it was of the environment her ship became literally frozen in. David McBride’s dark paintings of grottos and sunsets contrast starkly with his own abstract forms, painstakingly rendered with subtle corruptions of color and registration. The tensions between the precision of his CMK process and touch create an anxious state that is mirrored in the curious relationship between representation and abstraction in his paintings. They share an uneasy co-existence that also marks Bjoern Meyer-Ebrechts sculptures and re-assembled books. The relationship between Modernist theory, represented by soft cover textbooks, and their abstract supports is uncertain, undermining the authority of both. This textual cityscape is also paired with black hard-cover books Bjoern has reshaped into angular, winged forms that imply another kind of horizon in space, echoing the tension between flatness and depth in all the artists’ pictoral space. Jenny Vogel’s video of a slowly spinning meteorite perhaps encapsulates these tensions, as the alien form threatens to invade the world, scraping against the surface of the screen. It may also be the ultimate ominous shape, a truly free-floating darkness that rises up in opposition.


All of the works are equivocal representations of time, distance, and space with unfixed beginnings and end points that remain ominously close to darkness and the ambiguity of vision. They question our certainty about history, but they don’t give in to chaos. They are rescued by beauty, maybe even love without sentimentality, a love for process and possibility that art can provide some meaning and relief to the anxiety of living. Even I have to believe that sometimes.
William Powhida


1.  Bill Abdale, Crime & Punishment, Graphite on Paper
2. Jenny Vogel, from the series Like A Blind Man in a Dark Room, Xerox Transfer
3. David McBride, Cave Painting (Honey In the Rock) I, Oil on MDF
4. Bjoern Meyer-Ebrecht, from the series Untitled (4 Book covers – black)

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