What happens when an abstract system confronts crude materiality? What transformations take place through the process of this imperfect translation, from diagrammatic to experiential?
The artists in this exhibition examine the systems that construct our perception of everyday life; that operate under the cover of ubiquity, and yet influence the way we communicate, the way we move through space, and even our personal identities. The focus on process and materiality in each artist’s practice gives an experiential quality to ordinarily abstract systems.
Bonnie Begusch’s video work gives the Cartesian structure of the grid a material and temporal dimension. By focusing on the irregularities and differences within a collection of standardized graph paper or textual marks, she challenges our confidence in the functionality of abstract systems. René Fahrni’s models and objects are made from ordinary and quite humble materials such as paper, wood, paint, and lamps and yet they attempt to sketch out complex desires and fantasies. The underlying desire is met with an unspectacular reality, when fantasy leaves the realm of imagination and is forced to inhabit a physical form. Simone Holliger’s sculptures deceive. The massive forms feel heavily weighted with both symbolic meaning and material bulk, and yet they have neither. The hieroglyphic-like shapes are actually hollow paper forms speaking for themselves without symbolism. Jasmine Justice’s recent paintings sample diagrams from the daily paper. Her casual reference to these diagrams, purported to have the power to shift financial markets, predict the weather, or define populations, highlights their fluid and ephemeral nature. With each morning’s paper, a new set of diagrams is published, and every evening, is tossed into the bin or used as floor covering in a painter’s studio. Mira O’Brien’s large-scale works on paper start with the unraveling diamond grid of a chain-link fence, at once an abstract pattern and a depiction of a physical structure. Disruptions in this grid, where the fence has been cut open and then stitched back together, are evidence of the tension inherent in this spatial barrier. Patric Sandri’s paintings are not optical illusions; they lay their mechanisms bare, and yet they continue to cause our perception to flicker. It is this flicker that calls attention to our basic perceptual assumptions of what is flat, what is color, and what is a picture. Is an apple still red when the lights are off?