In times of political uncertainty, artists often question their relationship to their work and the value of their practice as it has existed and developed during periods less fraught with external tensions. Introspection versus inundation becomes a precarious compromise in the age of twitter and fast paced news updates that frequently split focus and cause doubt. The minutiae of material exploration, and the discoveries unearthed through rigorous process, and the acceptance of failures, can resonate with less clarity in the scope of critical conversation and movements for change. And one’s own practice can feel like an eddy in the current of information, spiraling inward and inert against the flow
Individual Gravities groups the work of three artists that have actively spent time in their practice, carving out uninterrupted hours and physical separation in order to do so. Conscious of operating on a slower, steadier pace, they have eschewed reactionary impulses in an eﬀort to cultivate and convey personal, steadfast perspectives. Within the formal components of their works, these artists are communicating alternative relationships to mainstream structures, namely consumerism, and by extension, the consumption of information. Positioning themselves within an alternative economy, their works reference and prop up many far flung eﬀorts of creative and socially conscious output. Poetry, music, craft, recycling, organizing, reclaiming, and an interest in creating common ground are themes presented here as innate and unshakable, emanating from unassuming and embellished objects alike.
The works in the exhibition dexterously stretch between the classification of sculpture, painting, and installation. Each artist is versed in their process, studied in their craft, and have applied traditional techniques in experimental ways. At first blush, the proximity of these distinct practices invites a casual, contemplative conversation about the nature of form via a diversity of approaches to abstraction. Dense, rigid materials achieve levitation, while paper, fabric and voluminous structures take on density and weight, rooted to their supporting planes. “Gravity” operates as an inconsistent force against these pieces, while the secondary connotation grips the works consistently.
Elana Herzog tackles installation and site specificity through a range of minimally altered materials. Each of her pieces achieve harmony with location, and illuminate the architectural idiosyncrasies of the space. Fabrics of various origins are fused together, raising the question of their history and significance, both commercial and sentimental. These works challenge the notion of finish, value, and the origin of objects with raw and second hand materials presented without hierarchy.
Alexis Granwell’s mixed media sculptures sit together as a group of dependent objects. Atop clean, hand-made pedestals, and standard construction blocks, bulbous and limb-like forms are perched at various heights. The organic masses appear to be bandaged, or armored in their skin of hand-made paper. With a surface that is heavily worked, they reveal evidence of the artist’s hand in the textured lamination, and appear paradoxically both fleshy and concrete. Granwell’s imperfect, ambiguous forms are presented as essentially social objects, strengthened by being viewed in a group. In this arrangement, their similarities become more evident and contribute to a sense of the whole.
Trish Tillman’s impeccably upholstered, modular wall works are made up of taught planes, adorned with additional, hanging materials. These elements link the separate units in the composition or counteract the perceptible pressure of the stretched surface. Trish’s works present a slick, encapsulated nod to punk, metal, goth, and sci-fi. These niche identifications are not always described as elegant and associated with high-craft. Moreover, they are often seen as separate sets of aesthetics, and subdivisions within the notion of subculture, or “other.” In Tillman’s works, however, these separate factions are presented as cooperative, unified, and vital.
Together, the works in Individual Gravities examine the need for an alternate mode of communication when the stakes are high and language may fail. Abstraction, sometimes misconstrued as decorative or mute, is meant to be understood here as a universal set of signifiers. Although their work is individually distinct and visually nuanced, these artists collectively address eﬀective methods of connection and resistance. Here we are oﬀered an alternative to hashtags and headlines, a slow fortification of one’s own voice in an enduring push for progress.