It is with great pleasure that Simone Subal Gallery presents It’s Over There, co-curated by Rachel LaBine, and featuring Matt Keegan & James Richards, Marie Lund, Rose Marcus, Emily Mast, Lucy Skaer, and Viola Yesiltac. The exhibition runs through February 10, with an opening reception on Thursday, January 10, from 6-8 pm.
The works in It’s Over There take as their content the act of referring to things and ideas outside of themselves. From photographs to sculptures to film, the pieces on view function as kinds of props or stimuli, posing questions about the performativity of objects and the complex relation between a thing and its representation.
Viola Yesiltac‘s photographs of tenuously balanced sheets of colored paper play with the translation of a three-dimensional object into a two-dimensional form, a transformation that Yesiltac further complicates in Oysters, they do breathe, don’t they?. The large sculptural piece emphasizes a central theme in Yesiltac’s practice: the compression of time in a fixed image, for what has been made permanent in her pictures existed as an actual thing for mere seconds.
Yesiltac’s work shares a poetic sensibility with Lucy Skaer’s series of photographs Us to Them, which were taken in front of Eduoard Vuillard’s painting Album from 1895. Skaer often embarks from the work of other artists in order to engage with conventional manners of classifying objects and references. In these images a hand holds a wooded object inlaid with stones against details of the painting. The posed opposition makes the wood seem a part of the painting and vice versa, as if meaning arises only in relation to the other.
Rose Marcus‘s large-scale, three-dimensional collages address how literal and metaphorical framing affects the understanding of an image. These complicated compositions incite unexpected and often competing considerations by creating a tension between actual reflections and imagined space. These are works about the contingencies of vision, about how what one sees is often based upon non-existent or at best distant referents.
Emily Mast’s tightly edited video B!RDBRA!N (Addendum) is an accumulation of details filmed during rehearsals for B!RDBRA!N, a performance conceived as a response to the legacy of Guy de Cointet. Focusing on the interaction between actors and objects, B!RDBRA!N (Addendum) appears to express something (although what is elusive), using vaguely familiar narrative cues that examine the imprecision of both visual and linguistic communication.
Marie Lund‘s Stills—old, sun-faded curtains stretched tautly as if a painting—bear traces of their former existence, and evoke a kind of cinematic nostalgia for previously mediated memories. The title of the works refers to the physical materiality of photography—how light impresses an image upon the surface of film—but it also speaks to the life of things, how they change over time and in bearing the mark of this evolution become distinct entities with recognizable personalities.
The works in It’s Over There are gestures that initially read as straightforward but in actuality demand sustained reflection because of the fundamental nature of each work’s inquiry. This is no more true than in Matt Keegan & James Richards’ steel wall sculpture, whose laser-cut out form spells this telling statement: Don’t Worry, What Happens, Happens Mostly Without You. The pithy text, animated by the haunting shadow it casts on the wall, points outward like a sigh of relief or even resignation. The work speaks to the viewer directly, and asks him or her to decipher the message. But as with all of the presented works, no clear resolution is provided; for clarity is somewhere beyond, tied up in the performativity of objects, representations, and ideas unfolding before our eyes.