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Get lost in Tahiti Pehrson’s Pareidolia tonight at Joseph Gross Gallery

Paper art has never ceased to amaze me (I mean, I did write a book on cardboard and all), and I love when artists push the medium to the limit. Tonight, Tahiti Pehrson does just that with Pareidolia at Joseph Gross Gallery (548 W 28th St 2nd Fl from 6-8pm)- with intensely oversized paper cut works. The press release doesn’t fully explain how cool the phenomenon of pareidolia is- it’s the brain’s need to trick itself to see a pattern or familiar image that is really not there, like the man (or rabbit) in the moon, faces or figures in cloud formations, Jesus on a potato chip or the Virgin Mary on a grilled cheese sandwich. (I have had a life-long  case of pareidolia…my brain refuses to see objects simply as what they are, I see faces in everything, landscapes in spots on the wall, most recently I saw Beetlejuice arms on traffic poles in Europe.)


I like Pehrson’s work on different levels. First, he challenges his chosen medium. Many of his pieces look like something more rigid or permanent- even marble in some cases; his ability to make a fragile piece of paper look unbreakable is incredible. His patterns; variations and straying from- invite the viewer to see more than meets the eye, to imagine their own imagery, and to get lost on a pareidolic trip, which to me is the closest thing compared to the magic of childhood make believe that an adult will ever feel.


New Work by Tahiti Pehrson
Exhibition Dates: September 10-October 3, 2015
Opening Reception: September 10th | 6-8 p.m.

Joseph Gross Gallery is pleased to present Pareidolia, a solo exhibition of intricate, hand cut paper works by Tahiti Pehrson. Pehrson, who has worked with this specific medium for 15 years, will début a series of three-dimensional pieces, framed hanging works and large scale installation that explore the psychological phenomenon of pareidolia–the perception of a visual or auditory pattern where there is none. The opening reception will be held at Joseph Gross Gallery (548 W 28th St, New York, NY 10001) on September 10th, 2015 from 6:00-8:00 p.m.

Often associated with religious or intellectual epiphany, pareidolia is credited with helping the ancients orient an unintelligible world through the interpretation of signs and patterns where there was merely chaos. For Pehrson, the phenomena has become uniquely associated with his practice, which is intensely process-oriented and often evokes the discovery of familiar shapes and renderings by viewers, even where none were originally intended by the artist. Drawing on variations found in diverse ecological and cultural systems he experiences in his travels, Pehrson dedicates an average 100 hours to a typical piece, rendering designs that could be considered minimalist in aesthetic, despite their laborious process and ornamental quality.

Deliberately toeing the line between geometric pattern and organic decomposition, Pehrson applies equal parts planning and chance to his work, using computer programming to develop layered compositional structures, but deliberately leaving the patterns incomplete to allow for serendipitous arrangements in the finished piece. Some of his newest work, such as Action at a Distance (2015), deliberately evokes the title by offering representational forms left open to interpretation. Others, like the eponymous Pareidolia (2015), evoke natural occurrences, such as an eclipse, that have been imbued with symbolic significance by their human audience.

Tahiti, who initially was drawn to art through painting, speaks of his compositional arrangements with the vocabulary of a painter, summarizing his decade-and-a-half pursuit, “I think it’s a reduction of all the things that I learned from painting. It’s light and shadow in dimension and I like dealing directly with those things and find all these small variations and more ground opens up even though the parameters continue be the same.”

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