Improbable Self: Notes From the Void, curated by Fran Holstrom
Inna Babaeva, Martin Bromirski, Catherine Czacki, JJ Garfinkel, Nathan Gwynne, Jason Hoelscher, JR Larson, Frank Lentini, Christina Leung, David Malek, Jeffrey Scott Mathews, Japeth Mennes, Oliver Michaels, Matt Miller, John L. Moore, Meghan Petras, Sasha Rudensky, Carolyn Salas, David Scanavino.
- St. Cecilia Gallery, (3rd Floor) 21 Monitor St, Brooklyn, NY
- Opening: Friday, June 3, 7-10
- Open June 4, 5 & 11, 12-5
Art Book Club Presents: Improbable Self: Notes From the Void, curated by Fran Holstrom, featuring artworks selected from 19 artists whose work suggests the dislocation of self, out-of-body experience, duplicity, reflection & distortion.
Conceived in two parts, the first group of artworks depict a centralized figure that is barely there, seemingly caught in the process of disappearing; the images presume a narrative construct in which the figure inhabits a stable past, a threatening present and continued erosion until, eventually, it is no more. Degradation of the singular, unique original epitomizes our fear of death, or worse, the slow slippage of selfhood into obscurity, the unknown–the void. Almost as a cure for this, intermingled with the above, are artworks that present a solid twin, a replacement or stand-in; such redundancy insures protection and survival. Thus, the passing of the original self and the birth of generations requires coming to terms with the uncertainty of death.
Although the outward appearances of works in the show are visibly different – and delivered by a range of motivations – there is a deep, playful and brooding force connecting the artists. Inna Babaeva’s tipped bucket oozes ectoplasm forever caught in stasis, and Meghan Petras’ coyly draped painting is freed from the skeleton of a stretcher. Meanwhile, Oliver Michaels’ digital dissections leave only clues to a photograph’s original content, and Jason Hoelscher mockingly takes the reigns by rewriting Guy Debord’s seminal text with a lisp. Materially and conceptually Notes from the Void puts a spotlight on the grim poetics of a generation.
The theme of this show was inspired by Bruce Nauman’s model for observing oneself as an impossible double, from a distance, once removed as if in a state of dislocation. Almost as if haunted by this vision, Nauman points to our continual quest for a secure, more fully-realized and understood self.