Monks Mound
Tyler Macko

November 8 - December 18, 2021
Brackett Creek, Chinatown, NY

Press Release

Artist CV

Q & A with Tyler Macko

Brackett Creek is proud to present a new enamel and acrylic screen-print edition, Pewter Pile Print and 5 paintings by Tyler Macko (b. 1989).

The title of the exhibition, Monks Mound, refers to the pre-Columbian pyramid located outside of present-day St. Louis, Missouri. The mound was part of the city of Cahokia and dates back to 950-1350 C.E. At its height, Cahokia may have been around 15,000 to 50,000 people, but was long abandoned by the nineteenth-century, when the mound was used in successive order as a settlement by French missionaries, a trading post by the United States government during the Revolutionary War, a farm for Trappist monks, and then as a potential homesite for secular landowners who excavated the building site and found antiquities belonging to the Cahokian people, then naming the mound after the monks.

Macko, who lives and works in Dayton, Ohio, is interested in making works that function like the Cahokian site and narratives of the mound. He adds layers of differing use and sources to his paintings. The mound’s reinterpretation of materials by its inhabitants’ parallels Macko’s sifting and fusing of different sources use of the same site—Dayton, Ohio. Time in the studio making sculpture molds and routing wood is preceded by exploratory missions to source the previously activated materials: old plywood, boxes, decorative craft, and kitsch items—things that take the place of art outside of cultural capitals. The layers and narratives flatten as Macko works until he finally declares it as an antiquity site.

Unlike Robert Rauschenberg’s “Erased de Kooning Drawing”, or Martin Kippenberger’s Gerhard Richter coffee table “Modell Interconti” in which the artists create a new work by competing with the specific market and canonical value of the older artist’s work, the mounds and Macko work anonymously with the previous contributors. The missionaries didn’t compete with the myths and societal structures of the Cahokia people, but rather they appreciated the site and added their own use.

With Pewter Pile #4, which the print is based off of, Macko collects pewter, an aspirational metal for those that cannot afford silver, from estate sales and junk yards, melting them and pouring them into a mold of an ornamental mirror or domestic altar. Macko then finishes the mirror by painting the back in day-glo orange, which the artist attributes as a nod to the colors in Rauschenberg’s Cardboards, works that were arranging’s of his moving boxes after relocating to Florida. The sense of place and necessity creates an artistic position of humility through the work, as opposed to the conceptual superiority over the work.

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