Jesse Wine: The Players
November 19, 2020 – January 30, 2021
Opening: November 19: 2 – 8PM
**The gallery is operating under new hours:
Wednesday – Saturday, 12PM – 6PM, appointment recommended.
1 – Jesse’s fading hair
2 – Ooooooooorrrrrrrrrrraaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnngggggggggggeeeeeee
3 – The Bath
4 – Desire and value
5 – Extraordinary popular delusions and the madness of crowds
6 – Cut a hole in the rain for ya
7 – Study of sleeping me
Then the idea strikes. Why hadn’t it occurred to Jesse’s fading hair before. It occurs to Jesse’s fading hair, as it crouches there, next to Ooooooooorrrrrrrrrrraaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnngggggggggggeeeeeee, that it might be possible to hoodwink them all, to pull off the trick they have been playing on people since they were young: to exchange places, leading people to believe that each was the other.
The Bath takes a deep breath, bracing its stiff joints to rise.
The Bath is a slow mover.
A while later it has risen, beginning to articulate and move
ambling past Jesse’s fading hair and Ooooooooorrrrrrrrrrraaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnngggggggggggeeeeeee
in no particular order.
Desire and value is really, really ready to leave.
Back turned with posture
so straight, so tall
that the lowest point of its flop towers above The Bath.
What a weird pair, The Bath and Desire and value,
landscape and portrait.
Decay and decay.
Arm-in-arm they approach Extraordinary popular delusions and the madness of crowds.
A downpour en-route causes quite the scene, the weird pair become a streaky pair.
Interiority on display.
Today is the 19th of November 2020, this exhibition is on display until the 30th of January 2021. For this entire period these rooms will remain almost exactly as they are right now.
Emily Mae Smith: Kin
September 18 – November 7, 2020
Opening: September 18, 2 – 7PM
**Starting September 18, the gallery will be reopening with new hours:
Wednesday – Saturday, 12PM – 6PM, appointment recommended.
Tangled in symbolism, Emily Mae Smith’s solo exhibition Kin interweaves totems and allegories that have marked her painting practice for over a decade. In Smith’s latest works, archaic tropes are often reconfigured to forward a sly feminist agenda. Evoking a feeling of deep time, the paintings in Kin reimagine age-old symbols of wheat, harvest mice, and ginkgo leaves; some of the oldest known surviving species on the planet. Meanwhile, in several instances throughout Kin, Smith’s illustrious anthropomorphic broom is shown undergoing a sweeping phase of reflection and self-reckoning within Smith’s Metarealist world.
Traditionally made from wood and straw, Emily Mae Smith’s “broom ladies” allude to conventional ideas that surround female-oriented domesticity and labor, as well as the disenfranchised broom character from Goethe’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (1797), popularized by Disney’s cartoon Fantasia (1940). Straw itself, an agrarian byproduct from the cultivation of wheat, is the least desirable part of the plant and is often discarded, an analogy which Smith has likened to the dismissal of female subjectivity throughout modern history. Stalks of wheat are bundled to the side in The Idle Servant (2020), bringing Millet’s Gleaners (1857) painting to mind. Millet depicts his subjects performing the final stage of agrarian labor; women painstakingly sift through straw debris, searching for the very last pieces of wheat stalk worthy enough to sell or eat. Smith’s servant subject, however, showcases a contrasting motif of lazy or misbehaving servants and maids commonly found in Western 17th century paintings. Although perhaps tempted to open Pandora’s box, Smith’s servant is mostly idle, yet this very indolence is a radical moment of rebellion, rife with explosive capability much like the dormant volcano pictured through an ocular window. A wheat motif reappears in Ilk and Honey (2020), this time infested with pestilent harvest mice. The nimble rodents are playful and mischievous, and much like the servant, their disobedience puts into question the rules of normative, patriarchal systems.
Originating in Asia, the hardy ginkgo has become a ubiquitous urban tree in many American cities. In fall, the leaves and berries of female ginkgo trees drop, often all at once, and emit a powerful, acrid smell. This feminine energy is biologically designed to make its presence known. Commonly called maidenhair, fallen ginkgo leaves frame the face like bangs in Smith’s multi-layered Hair Horizon World (2020). Through the eyes and perhaps skull of this ginkgo girl, we see through to a landscape wrought with modern industry and smoke billowing across an unsettlingly amber sky.
The subjects in Smith’s paintings often appear backlit, an unusual painterly effect known as contre-jour (Fr. against daylight). This formal style creates the voyeuristic feeling of looking over someone’s shoulder, implying a literal shift in perspective between subject and viewer. Large circular windows and orifices act like eyes, and the faces in Smith’s paintings become semipermeable membranes: depending on the vantage point, a viewer can see into the mind of a subjective consciousness, or see the world through it. The exhibition’s eponymous painting, Kin (2020), depicts our trusty broom confronting a single stalk of wheat, perhaps coming to terms with its own fraught existence. As a whole, Kin exemplifies moments of unapologetic resiliency, and an unknown potential on the edge of brimming over.
Emily Mae Smith was born in 1979 in Austin, Texas. She currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Recent solo exhibitions include: Simone Subal Gallery, New York, NY (2020, 2017); SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, GA (2020); Marion Art Gallery, Rockefeller Arts Center, SUNY Fredonia, NY (2020); Perrotin, Tokyo (2019); Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT (2019); Le Consortium, Dijon, France (2018); CFA, Berlin, Germany (2018); Galerie Perrotin (two-person with Genesis Belanger), New York, NY (2018); SALTS (two-person exhibition with Adam Henry), Basel, Switzerland (2017); Rodolphe Janssen, Brussels, Belgium (2016); Mary Mary, Glasgow, Scotland, UK (2016); and Laurel Gitlen, New York, NY (2015). Select group exhibitions include: Petzel Gallery, New York, NY (2020); Hauser & Wirth, New York, NY (2019); Peter Freeman Inc., curated by Ugo Rondinone, New York, NY (2018); Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York, NY (2018); Lumber Room, Portland, OR (2017); König Galerie (St. Agnes), Berlin, Germany (2016); Simone Subal Gallery, New York, NY (2016); The Moore Building, organized by Jeffrey Deitch and Larry Gagosian, Miami, FL (2015); and Skirball Museum, Cincinnati, OH (2014).
Anna K.E. and Florian Meisenberg: Electric Forest (Bowery)
On view until July 31, 2020.
The gallery is reopening on Thursday, July 9th. Please review our visitor guidelines here.
More ways to view the exhibition:
Virtual Viewing Room
While driving at night down the long, unbroken roads of West Texas, flickers of eerie, amber light punctuate the darkness. A congregation of hares stand sentinel at the edges of the dusty road, their glassy eyes reflecting headlights like so many illuminated screens. At other times, they are transformed. Eyes no longer effulgent. Once-lithe bodies reduced to flattened panes by contact with a passing car.
Arranged here as a living, multi-dimensional tableau, the shapeshifting hares have joined an arsenal of iterated shapes and characters. They conjure a series of ideas and images in flux, hovering between lens and light, watcher and watched, in which information proliferates endlessly without seeking finality or resolution.
In order to exist simultaneously in these parallel states, the hares have been treated in a variety of ways. Revivified, transposed onto animated fans affixed at either end of large aluminum tubes. Simulated, to trace their arc from watchful creatures into slack, formless puddles. Finally, in their flattened form, materially rendered in the form of layered Computerized Numerical Control (CNC) carved Baltic birch. Their continual, oscillating presence forms a life cycle outside the bounds of natural selection, by which death is not the end of action but a portal into a new, abstracted geometry.
Merging the linear construct of road and roadside with the ordered variation of Judd’s cubic sculptures, the artists have built a simulated version of the Texan road as it unfurled before them, bordered by mathematically accurate iterations of every single cube in Judd’s famed series. The monochromatic simulation, entitled https://www.100untitledworksinmillaluminum.org/, makes continuous, steady progress through a pitch-black landscape, accompanied occasionally by bursts of sound as the ‘driver’ encounters a series of future-themed podcasts, broadcast from particular points along the road. Through a hole in the projection, a single crumpled beer can, almost fully cleansed of identifying marks by the elements, infinitely reflects in the mirrored box that encloses it.
Elsewhere, a slanted wooden trapdoor featuring the collapsed hare in CNC-carved form, opens to reveal footage filmed after the completion of 2017’s Late Checkout, echoing the empty feedback loop of compulsive technological connection. The camera’s gaze flits between the artists as they idly consume one another, building up a gradual, dual self-portrait that moves continuously without ever arriving. Also present is Countdown Belladonna (2016), for which the artists projected a barrage of video material directly onto their own retinas, creating yet another feedback loop that marries mind, body and screen in an endless, boundless chain.
In this flattened landscape, everything is mutable. Multiple iterations of every image and idea burgeon like seeds scattered on the wind. Finally, it is only via the act of being seen–whether happened upon whilst driving or peeked at through a chink in a temporary screen–that this potentiality becomes concretized, so that though these manifold portals and doorways, we come to a gradual understanding of the transformative potency of vision upon reality.
–Text by Claudia Paterson
Anna K.E. and Florian Meisenberg’s selected collaborative solo shows include: Simone Subal Gallery, New York (2020); Kunstpalais Erlangen, curated by Milena Mercer, (Cat.), Erlangen (2019); WNTRP, Berlin (2017); Salon Kennedy, Frankfurt (2016); Signal, Brooklyn (2016); Art Basel Miami Beach with Simone Subal Gallery, Miami (2016); LISTE 20, with Simone Subal Gallery, Basel (2015); EY artforum, Düsseldorf (2008); Schaufenster des Kunstvereins für die Rheinlande und Westphalen, Düsseldorf (2007). Select group exhibitions include: Signal, Brooklyn (2016); Galerie Hasen at MMOGG Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf (2007); Villa De Bank, Enschede, Netherlands (2006).
Anna K.E. was born in 1986 in Tbilisi, Georgia. Selected solo shows include: REARMIRRORVIEW, Simulation is Simulation, is Simulation, is Simulation…, curated by Margot Norton, Georgian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale (2019); Queens Museum, New York, USA (2017-2018); Simone Subal Gallery, New York, USA (2018, 2015, 2013); Primary, Nottingham, UK (2017); Sommer Gallery, Tel Aviv (2016); Galerie Barbara Thumm, Berlin, Germany (2015, 2013); Mannheimer Kunstverein, Mannheim, Germany (2012); Kunstverein Leverkusen, Germany (2011). Selected group shows: Zentrum für Kunst und Medien, Karlsruhe, Germany (2017); G2 Kunsthalle, Leipzig, Germany (2016); The Kitchen, New York, NY (2015); Museum of Contemporary Art, Santa Barbara, CA (2015); Kunstverein Wiesen e.V. Wiesen, Germany (2015); Kunst Raum Riehen, Switzerland (2015); KAI10, Quadriennale Düsseldorf, Germany (2014); Petach Tikva Museum of Art, Israel (2014); The Renaissance Society, Chicago (2014); The III Moscow International Biennale for Young Art, Moscow, Russia (2012); Kunsthalle Recklinghausen, Germany (2011); Museum K21, Düsseldorf (2010); Young Biennale Köln 2010, Cologne (2010).
Florian Meisenberg was born in 1980 in Berlin, Germany. Selected solo shows: Kunstparterre, Munich (2020); Zabludowicz Collection, London 2019); Simone Subal Gallery, New York (2013, 2015, 2018); Avlskarl Projects, Copenhagen, Denmark (2017, 2020); Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne, Germany (2014); Kasseler Kunstverein, Kassel, Germany (2014); Kunst aus NRW / Förderpreis für Bildende Kunst, Ehemalige Reichsabtei, Aachen, Germany (2012); Wentrup Gallery, Berlin, Germany (2012, 2014, 2016, 2017); Kate McGarry, London, UK (2011, 2013, 2020); Wilhelm-Hack-Museum, Ludwigshafen, Germany (2011); Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst, Aachen, Germany (2009). Recent selected group exhibitions: Museum der Bildenden Kuenste Leipzig, Germany (Cat.) 2019; Kunstsammlung Chemnitz, Chemnitz (2019); Museum Wiesbaden, Germany (2019); neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst, Berlin, Germany (2018); Zeppelin Museum, Friedrichshafen, Germany (2017); Broehan Museum, Berlin, Germany (2017); Broehan Museum, Berlin, Germany (2017); Kiasma Finnish National Gallery, Helsinki, Finland (2017); ICA, Philadelphia (Cat.) (2017); Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, Germany (Cat.) (2016); Kunsthalle Recklinghausen, Recklinghausen, Germany (Cat.) (2016); Bundeskunsthalle Bonn, Bonn, Germany (2015); Kunstpalais Erlangen, Erlangen, Germany (2015); Goethe Institute, Hong Kong (2015); Ausstellung in der Sammlung Kunst aus NRW in der ehemaligen Reichsabtei Aachen-Kornelimünster, Aachen, Germany (2014); Museum Kunsten, Aalborg, Denmark (2014); Queens Museum of Art, New York, USA (2014).
Hybrids: E’wao Kagoshima, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Robert Lostutter, and Kembra Pfahler
January 16th – February 23rd, 2020
Opening Thursday, January 16th from 12 – 6pm
Baseera Khan: snake skin
November 3rd – December 22nd, 2019
Opening Sunday, November 3rd from 7 – 9pm
“I’m showing new work about eminent fallen powers and their circumstantial influences on visual culture. I dissected a singular 6×14 foot column through material traditions of resistance and dissent, by means of collaging graphic and ornamental histories within these acts of building sovereignty. I’m unpacking the blind spots and pointing to architectural connections to our body and how we adorn and outfit ourselves.”
The years that follow Baseera Khan’s 2017 exhibition iamuslima are prolific, there is so much in between. That snake skin is about shedding feels considerable because while involuntary, it is consensual with one’s own self. Rather than forced removal, the works produced for snake skin suggest a certain grounding in the ‘underground.’ Influenced in part by German Democratic Republic Mosaik magazines obtained by Khan in Berlin in 2015 and by recent conversations about color and geometry with Kashmiri rug makers with whom she collaborates, these new pieces employ both of these elements to insinuate that seemingly benign forces are able to elicit subversive intent. This work externalizes a lesson Khan learned at a young age: self-censorship and secrecies can be aestheticized.
As Khan describes, “the Mosaik magazines were seen as unimportant by the government at the time, yet their underground following was proportionately responsible for the eventual fall of the Berlin Wall. Similarly, the Kashmiri rug makers and the traditions of radical pattern-making hold this same practice: a rug itself is banal but I like to think of its subversive possibilities and the way its underground culture can operate in the same way as Mosaik.” Much like the unforeseen timing of iamuslima, which culminated concurrently with the travel ban in 2017 [Executive Order 13769, titled Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States, also known as the Muslim ban], “these rugs are essentially contraband, smuggled out of Kashmir during an ongoing violent outbreak in which the Indian government is restraining movement of Kashmiri locals.”
Khan’s series of sculptural works, Column Number One – Seven, is informed in part by the columns of the Malcolm X Masjid in Harlem, which are wrapped with the same prayer rugs as the floor of the mosque, flattening the structural elements into more of an expansive landscape. The vertical columns are functional as well as emblematic of institutional power, but the rugs veil and blend them with radical ornamentation and into histories of people coming together to talk and work on these rugs together. Why adorn the column? Obfuscating its patriarchal reinforcing ideals, “the rug wraps itself like a snake choking at this system, exposing a hollow core.” In addition to wrapping, the column was subjected to various forms of performative dissection by the artist — cutting, dividing, and scraping off emancipated slivers that migrate away from the larger architectural masses. Khan’s structural disassembly and scattering of the column’s parts reveal stratified layers of foam, its ‘hollow core,’ while her surface analysis evokes the peeling flyers of postered urban spaces that distribute a collaboratively assembled collage of materials and messages.
Column Number One – Seven are paired with a series of chromatic collaged prints set in a handmade framing system with spacers made from the same Kashmiri rugs. Roman ruins, ancient mosques, and pages of Khan’s own reading material including 1980s issues of Mosaik and Arundhati Roy’s End of Imagination, are pieced together to draw connections between political revolutionary activities in Central Europe and India. Like a teenager scribbling out unwanted subjects, Khan uses Plexi cut-outs and screen-printing to redact elements of power throughout the material. Khan found the issues of Mosaik — translated for the artist by friend and scholar of German Studies, Anna Horakova — to contain “resistance and dissent from capitalist mentality, but when it came to ideas on race and religion, Mosaik seemed to be stuck in the same way the right-wing regimes were stuck. Kind of like here and now, with the failures of the left, flying toward conservative anti-Islamic, anti-immigrant, anti-black policies.” Horakova notes, “The comic was devised as a socialist educational tool that would emulate the success of Disney comics in the West, while countering their perceived capitalist bias by offering a socialist narrative. It partially succeeds in this critique, while simultaneously creating a space in which to satirize the self-legitimation of state power in East Germany and power in general, thus resonating with Khan’s own recurrent motifs of columns and carpets. At its worst, however, Mosaik evinces a recourse to racist and anti-Semitic representation in the caricatures and plot motifs it deploys – motifs that Khan’s collages appropriate and subsequently assail.”
snake skin addresses traditional representations and their misrepresentations, which have led to volatile social environments globally and most notably within capitalist-driven societies such as the U.S. Volatility creates the need for self-censorship and secrecies among people who are marginalized and othered. Deploying linguistic shifts and fashion as political mediums, Khan attempts to untrap revolutionary material through work with textiles, archives, performance, and sculpture. Revolution can often be confined by its treatment through traditional documentation and its historical archive. Creating lexicons on her own terms, Khan challenges the evidentiary capabilities of all forms of documentation. Here, Khan’s precise alterations of architecture privilege “peculiar ruins,” and unseated or fallen powers, giving the feeling that their far-reaching implications are manifested in other forms of adornment like clothing or jewelry, or that they move the culture through music, and influence “the way people feel they can occupy and speak in spaces of generative cultural shifts.” Shedding and un-shedding.
–Written by Lia Gangitano
Sam Ekwurtzel: Renderings
September 8 – October 27, 2019
Opening Sunday, September 8: 6–8pm
Simone Subal Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of Sam Ekwurtzel’s Renderings on Sunday, September 8, 2019. This is Ekwurtzel’s third solo show at the gallery. The exhibition runs until October 27, 2019. Please join us for an opening reception on September 8 from 6 – 8 pm.
Ekwurtzel’s latest body of work focuses on commercially available aluminum bollards. Ubiquitous in the urban landscape, bollards are often used to prevent unwanted vehicle traffic around building entrances. For Renderings, Ekwurtzel works with four bollard types, with two examples of each. To fashion each piece, he employs an innovative and counterintuitive technique he has experimented with for the last few years. He painstakingly coats each bollard in layers of a liquid ceramic material that is commonly used to build molds in the metal casting industry. Ekwurtzel then loads the ceramic encrusted bollard into a kiln and fires it to a temperature of 1500 degrees Fahrenheit, a bright orange/red heat, causing the bollard to melt inside of its shell and drain out, forming a pool of molten metal. What remains is a 3/8” hollow ceramic shell structure and a now solidified aluminum outflow, in which slight variations in firing temperature, time, and the kiln-position of the bollard produced variety in the metal flow behavior.
Ekwurtzel has regularly investigated the processes and materials involved in industrial manufacturing and construction. He’s interested in how so many of these elements remain hidden to most people despite their necessity in everyday life. Ekwurtzel, though, twists and turns these techniques and materials, often using them against their stated purpose, finding poetic connections from transforming the mundane into something formally sophisticated. With Renderings, industrial molds are his subject. A single mold is typically used to generate many identical objects, converting formless raw material into reliably consistent product. Here, in a physical inversion of the typical casting process, the mold instead produces a unique one-off signature- each outflow onto the rectangular field of the kiln floor may be observed as a non-referential composition. Ekwurtzel’s last exhibition at the gallery, Late Morning Early Spring, dealt with the moment of origin for a set of building materials. Products manufactured at the same moment in time but in physically distant locations were brought together in sculptures. In Ekwurtzel’s current series, we again see pairs of identical objects, but in this case we witness a conclusion- the moment where a product returns to a raw material state.
Rendering is a term most commonly used today to refer to the final production of something digital. But Ekwurtzel returns the word to its analog origins: to melt, to extract. These actions literally occur here, and with Ekwurtzel the strangeness of his activity appears in every work. Nothing is without connotations. The inclusion of bollards speaks to their long history, their specific design to halt movement, whether sailing vessels or automobiles. They seem a telling object to invoke for our relentlessly fast era. But there is also the question of labor. As with almost all of Ekwurtzel’s art, these are incredibly labor intensive pieces, activities and actions that he always hides from the viewer. He never visually foregrounds his presence, and yet it lurks in every detail, in every pattern of the hardened molten aluminum. It suggests a complete dedication to something absurd, even useless, all in the service of making something profound.
Sam Ekwurtzel (born 1983) lives and works in New York. Solo exhibitions include: Renderings, Simone Subal Gallery, New York, NY (2019); Room Temperature, The Richard and Dolly Maass Gallery at SUNY Purchase, NY (2019); Late Morning Early Spring, Simone Subal Gallery, New York, NY (2016); Public Sector, Simone Subal Gallery, Art Basel Miami Beach, FL (2014); Dunnage, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA (2014); and The ghost in the machine, Simone Subal Gallery, New York, NY (2014). Past group exhibitions include: Glass Age, Helena Anrather, New York (2019); LISTE, Simone Subal Gallery, Basel, Switzerland (2018); Redirecting, Simone Subal Gallery, New York, NY (2017); The public sphere, Green Farm project, NY (2017); Fieldwork, curated by Nicholas Baume, Bass Museum of Art, Miami, FL (2014); Sunny in the Furnace (with Aki Sasamoto) The Kitchen, New York, NY (2014); Centripetal March (with Aki Sasamoto) Chocolate Factory Theater, New York, NY (2012); It’s When It’s Gone That You Really Notice It, Simone Subal Gallery, New York, NY (2012); and A Failed Entertainment, Virginia Commonwealth University Fine Arts Gallery, Richmond, VA (2011). Ekwurtzel has been awarded numerous grants and fellowships including the Windgate Fellowship, Fountainhead Fellowship, Alice C. Cole Fellowship, Shifting Foundation Grant, Visual Arts Sea Grant, and Oscar Williams and Gene Derwood Grant.
Condo New York
Hosting Instituto de Visión (Bogota, Colombia) and Ivan Gallery (Bucharest, Romania)
Featuring works by Otto Berchem, Frank Heath, and Lia Perjovschi
June 27 – July 26, 2019
We are thrilled to announce the third iteration of Condo New York, which will take place from June 27 – July 26, 2019.
Condo will present a series of collaborative exhibitions organized by international and local galleries across New York City. New York galleries will host visiting galleries by either co-curating a collaborative exhibition or dividing their galleries into separate exhibition spaces. This year’s participants include galleries from across the world, from cities as far ranging as Bucharest, Havana, and Shanghai.
Since its first edition in London in 2016, Condo has expanded to New York, Mexico City, São Paulo, and Shanghai, providing international galleries more sites for creative collaboration and exchange. Its expansion reinforces the strong desire among galleries to develop new methods of community-based exhibition practices that can continue to grow with the expanding global art scene.
Condo arose from a reevaluation of existing exhibition models, a desire to pool resources and act communally, and the need to activate the gallery space in a different manner. It provides an opportunity for galleries to participate in an international art market, present their artists to foreign audiences, meet new collectors, and build relationships with other galleries. Through this partnership, Condo offers a more supportive environment for the global presentation of experimental exhibitions.
Condo New York is organized by Nicole Russo (Chapter NY) and Simone Subal (Simone Subal Gallery).
Veronika Pausova: A to C
May 17 – June 23, 2019
Opening Friday, May 17 from 6–8pm
Veronika Pausova’s recent paintings bring together constellations of everyday elements, body parts, and other objects. Pausova positions hyperrealistic flowers, buzzing flies, utensils, oranges, shower heads, and individually rendered water drops within fields of abstraction. Each object is rendered with a precise attention to detail contrasting with the artist’s experimental treatment of surfaces, processes that are sometimes referential but often enigmatic. The resulting space is a matrix rather than a void: an “environment in which something develops.” (1)
As with other works by the artist, forms recur across Pausova’s paintings but operate as signs or words, their meaning altered with each new context and position. At times they seem diagrammatic, yet they are not prescriptive, instead they reference processes of thinking and decision making. Comprised of objects which may have begun with a photographic reference, their point of origin has now long been effaced, the objects recombined into configurations that are surreal yet strangely intimate. A recent New York Times article notes that a quarter of the video views on the Facebook pages of major media companies last year featured anonymous hands with no visible face. Writer Amanda Hess asks “why are we so drawn to this feeling of vicarious competence?” (2) The independent body parts in Pausova’s paintings—eyes, hands, noses and knees—aren’t instructional, they seem at once linked to us yet disembodied and unencumbered by the physical rules of the world.
As in her previous paintings, Pausova articulates a psychological space where iconographic fragments of observable phenomena intermingle, like the internal action of a brain’s synapses connecting the dots. Pausova’s paintings don’t offer us this sense of “vicarious competence”; the way the dots are linked isn’t always logical or even possible, yet the paintings reflect back to us polyvocal points of view and the experience of dropping into another vantage point, another body. This is an act that is often uncomfortable, a thought experiment that is as awkward as it is essential.
– Written by Clara Halpern.
Veronika Pausova was born in 1987 in Prague, Czech Republic. She currently lives and works in Toronto, Canada. Recent solo and two person exhibitions include Busy Bodies, with Frances Adair Mckenzie, Parisian Laundry, Montréal (2018); drawing the curtain, Hunt Kastner, Prague (2018); Age me a heavy twig, with Carl Marin, Franz Kaka, Toronto (2018); Be Frictionless Latecomer, Simone Subal Gallery, New York (2017); Forest House, Tatjana Pieters, Ghent, Belgium (2017); Elope By Mere Thread, Paramo Galeria, Guadalajara, Mexico (2016); Chests in the Current, Motel, Brooklyn, New York (2016); and Tasting the Waters, SARDINE, Brooklyn, New York (2015). Select group shows include If I have a body, Remai Modern, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (2019); On Anxiety, Cleve Carney Gallery, Chicago, Illinois (2018); An Assembly of Shapes, Oakville Galleries, Oakville, Ontario (2018); Line and Verse, Andrehn-Schiptjenko, Stockholm (2018); RBC 2017, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario (2017); Sojourner Truth Parsons, Sean Steadman, Veronika Pausova, 11R, New York, NY (2017); You are Here, Peana Projects, Monterrey, Mexico (2017); Seek Professional Help, Bureau, New York, NY (2016); and Gesture Play, Simone Subal, New York, NY (2016).
(1) “Definition of ‘Matrix’ in English by Oxford Dictionaries.” Oxford Dictionaries | English
(2) Hess, Amanda. “The Hidden Language of Hands Videos.” The New York Times, 30 July 2018.
Cameron Clayborn: Through the Wrong Tongue
April 7th – May 12th, 2019
Opening Sunday, April 7th from 6–8pm
Cameron Clayborn centers his practice around the sewing machine, a vital source of production and context for the corporeal sculptures he produces out of leather and shimmering vinyl. A form of making that’s been historically coded feminine, he calls on an essential artistic lineage of queer history, from drag shows to protest banners, Clayborn zips his materials through this mechanical lens with fastidious skill. The clique of these works gathered together creates a fluid energy of possibility, as Clayborn searches for liberation of a self in contest with the world.
This tactile fantasy includes leather like chocolate, a hint of blue denim to whisper a slight butchness, and sleek silver apparatuses to bring tension, both holding weight but also producing fear, with their sharp points warning of a familiar pain. The softest pink makes a brief appearance, but only in a hazardous form: building insulation, trapped within clear vinyl. The danger of heat between these two materials calls forth the body’s pink lips pressed tight, the tender inside of an upturned palm, or the inner intestines, sealed within a living form. The popcorn ceiling paint, trapped behind plexi in both inandout (Frame 2) and (Frame 3) are cut vertically with a sharp point. These steel insertions allude to the artist’s interest in n’kinsi/n’khondi sculpture, West African spirit objects whose power is activated by the owner puncturing the idol with a sharp object, such as a nail. Their name and use have been altered through the lens of Portuguese colonization by describing them as “fetish” objects. As non-Christian religious figures, contemporary culture allows this reading to linger still with sexual undertones. Viewers can grasp familiar sensations in the ripple of the tile, tossed with glitter, and contrasted with the cool edge of steel, but a hard boundary has been set around black fetishization, that can no longer go unchecked.
“I imagine literally absolving into the space itself, as to not attract violence to my body” when Clayborn finds himself the singular black person in the room, which can often be the case in a white-centric art world. Abstracting this experience into cushiancontainerbag becomes a solution to the problem, if only one could peel off their skin, and transform into a collectable luxury object, with a strap for easy on the go access. Both inherently pleasurable and meant to be treasured, it also at once could be tossed, and lost forever. These disembodied sacks that derive their forms via measurements taken off the bodies of the artist and his father—an abstraction of self and lineage into a collection of handsomely constructed objects highlight the intersections he stands in as gay black man raised in the American south. Inherently sexual and playful but also deeply serious, Clayborn’s works taunt the rigid dichotomies of male/female, gay/straight, human/inhuman, and valued/undervalued.
There are no safe spaces for a black body in America, but Clayborn has explored what it might feel like to construct a home for himself out of a multi-faceted practice that recalls cherished memories of a powerful matriarchy. This home is thoughtfully constructed by writing, sound, designed objects, sculpture, performance, power, secrecy, sensitivity, and shared community. The lived reality is a space in which Clayborn has flourished by worshipping and valuing parts of his femininity that have been degraded by society and his family. Like the colonizers who disregarded how n’kinsi/n’khondi functioned, and applied their own language, Through the Wrong Tongue collapses this relationship, asking the viewer to relate to the shared insides of our body. He invites you in, to peruse, as he has assembled to share, and to experience shared vulnerability.
-Written by Ariel Gentalen.
Cameron Clayborn was raised in Memphis, TN and lives and works in Chicago, Illinois. In 2016, Clayborn received a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL, and in 2018 attended the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture, Skowhegan, ME. Recent exhibitions include Ralph Arnold Gallery at Loyola University, Chicago, IL (2019); Fat City, Chicago, IL (2019); Heaven Gallery, Chicago, IL (2019); Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, IL (2018); Chicago Artist Coalition, Chicago, IL (2018); Zhou B Art Center, Chicago, IL (2018); Bawdy (solo), Boyfriends, Chicago, IL (2017); Rover Gallery, Chicago, IL (2017); Lawrence & Clark Gallery, Chicago, IL (2017); and Tritriangle, Chicago, IL (2016).
New York Times
Jen Liu, Joanna Piotrowska, Jesse Wine
February 17th – March 31st, 2019
Opening Sunday, February 17th from 6–8pm
It is with great pleasure that Simone Subal Gallery presents a group exhibition featuring works by Jen Liu, Joanna Piotrowska, and Jesse Wine. All three artists question the stability of established political or biological systems, blur domestic and bodily architectures, and re-envision new forms of agency. They believe that the manner in which bodies interact and create within manmade space is inherently political—whether an individual manipulates personal belongings in their own living space, or a collective workforce executes a preordained system of industrial production, or an anthropomorphic object poetically merges with architectural elements. These various actions question the limits of our collective and individual subjectivity, and posit the possibility of rethinking or revolting against overdetermined societies.
Jen Liu’s paintings and video examine contemporary forms of “empowerment” that are invariably linked to structures of manipulation and economic control. In the paintings on view, large feminine fingers manipulate a variety of objects. The images allude to ideas of “soft power,” “charm offensives,” and even the tutorials for the multi-touch gestures on Mac computers. The images suggest that whatever power an individual might feel when using consumer-grade technology is dwarfed in comparison to the implied societal power mechanisms far greater and insidious than any individual. This illusion of agency continues in Liu’s video The Pink Detachment I, which reimagines the ballet The Red Detachment of Women – one of the Eight Model Plays during Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution in China.
Johanna Piotrowski’s black and white silver gelatin photographs begin with a fundamental idea. The body and its gestures have been prominent themes in her work, and in many ways her images capture a sort of performance—they create the sense of an act frozen in time, a move that intensifies her searingly visceral photos. Her series, Shelter, shot on location in Lisbon, Rio de Janeiro, and Warsaw, depict a single person taking cover inside a tent the subject constructed out of sheets, curtains, and pieces of furniture. All the photos are taken indoors, producing a doubling. The haphazard structures are oddly sculptural and precarious. The individuals and their poses appear vulnerable and out of sync with their surroundings—a visual and poetic rendering of the greater feeling of anxiety and discontinuity plaguing our current moment.
Jesse Wine’s latest ceramic sculptures take sleep as an ultimate state of vulnerability. Most pieces show a reclining head resting atop a surreal architectural structure. The head, though, is more of a mask, as Wine leaves the back of the head exposed. The hallowed head is made into a place of its own, in one instance, to store loose change, just as the base of a ceramic building is strewn with junk mail sent to Wine’s Brooklyn studio. Much of this work deals with the various ways consumerism and societal pressure govern all aspects of life. And yet sleep, for the moment at least, escapes these encroachments; it is a respite—quite literally—from the onslaught of everyday life. Wine’s delicately constructed works take the seeming vulnerability of the sleeper and imbue it with somnolent agency, playing with the way, for example, those asleep often directly affect the actions of those awake, the way dreams often beget possibilities.
Jen Liu (New York, 1976), lives and works in New York. Recent solo and two-person exhibitions include: Singapore Biennale (2019); Upstream Gallery, Amsterdam (2018); Bogor Zoology Museum, Bogor, Indonesia (2017); LAXART, Los Angeles (2016); SomoS, Berlin (2016); and a co-commissioned performance by Triple Canopy and the Whitney Museum, New York (2015). Selected group exhibitions include: Paul Robeson Galleries at Rutgers University, New Jersey (2019); Times Museum Guangzhou, China (2019); Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2018); bitforms, New York (2018); Asia Art Archive, New York (2018); Akademie der Kunst, Berlin (2016); New Museum, New York (2015); and Abrons Art Center, New York (2015). In 2018, Liu was awarded the Art + Technology Lab Award by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California.
Joanna Piotrowska (Warsaw, Poland, 1985), lives and works in London. Recent solo exhibitions include: Dawid Radziszewski Gallery, Art Basel Statements (2017); Southard Reid, London (2017); Galeria Madragoa, Lisbon (2016); and Ethnographic Museum, Krakow, Poland (2015). Selected group exhibitions include: MoMA, New York (2018); 10th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art, Berlin, (2018); Kunstalle Wien, Vienna (2018); Museum Marres, Maastricht, (2018); Gateway, Abu Dhabi, (2018); Sadie Coles, London (2017); Fondazione Prada Osservatorio, Milan (2016); Northern Gallery of Contemporary Art, Sunderland, U.K. (2015); Hayward Gallery, London (2014); and ICA, London (2013). In 2014 MACK Books published her first project, Frowst, and in 2017 Humboldt Books published her second publication, Frantic. Piotrowska will have solo exhibitions at the Tate Britain in London and at Kunsthalle Basel this year.
Jesse Wine (Chester, England, 1983), lives and works in New York. Recent solo exhibitions include: Simone Subal Gallery, New York (2017), Gemeentemuseum, Den Haag, The Netherlands (2016); Mary Mary, Glasgow, Scotland, UK (2016); and Soy Capitán, Berlin (2016). Selected group exhibitions include: Fortes D’Aloia & Gabriel, Rio de Janeiro (2017); Boca Raton Museum of Art, Florida (2017); Battersea Power Station and CASS Sculpture Foundation – Powerhouse Commission, London (2017); TATE St Ives, Cornwall (2017); Parrasch Heijnen, Los Angeles (2017); Museum of Cambridge, Cambridge (2017); Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool (2017); Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York, (2016); and Fundament Foundation, Tilburg, The Netherlands (2016). Jesse will have his first institutional solo show in the United States at SculptureCenter in New York in 2020.