From The Ruins...
Curated by Jane Ursula Harris
May 8 – September 19, 2015
View installation shots
Opening reception: Friday, May 8, 6-9pm
M. Lamar: Thursday, May 21. Reception & extended viewing hours 6-7pm with 7pm performance.
Upcoming Jane & Louise Wilson: Saturday, June 27, 4p. Screening & discussion.
LaToya Ruby Frazier
Jennifer & Kevin McCoy
Jane & Louise Wilson
Reflecting a world that seems perpetually on the brink of disaster, where threats of global warming and over-population play out as if in slow motion, From the Ruins… gathers artists who mine this limbo state in works that abstract, document, alchemize, or otherwise re-imagine remnants of the built world.
What appears to be ad hoc, casual, and precarious, is often deceptively calculated, or painstakingly crafted. In this sense, From The Ruins... reframes recent discussions of zombie formalism, long confined to painting, so that aspects of the "tentative, unfinished or self-canceling" (Raphael Rubinstein, Art in America, May 2009) take on new meaning.
Even more so, the ongoing phenomena of ruin porn is critically engaged here, as many of the artists reveal in the latter’s fetish for decay, a collective sublimation of fear: the need to envision a romantic end, rather than face an uncertain present. The objects and images in From the Ruins... therefore oscillate between states of destruction and construction, peril and becoming, hope and despair, evoking the equivocality of "a world that no longer believes in the power of the end" (Teresa Heffernan, Post-Apocalyptic Culture, 2008).
Modern equations of the apocalypse with catastrophe are also similarly undermined. Through acts of recuperation that harness the potential of the abject and provisional, the artists suggest instead its origins in revelation and transformation. What emerges are archaeological visions in which the human element is implied, but necessarily absent - as much a specter as the future itself.
- Jane Ursula Harris
Jane Ursula Harris is a Brooklyn-based writer who has contributed to publications like Art in America, Bookforum, The Paris Review, The Believer, The Village Voice, and Time Out New York. She has also contributed essays to various catalogues such as Hatje Cantz’s Examples to Follow: Expeditions in Aesthetics and Sustainability (2010); Phaidon’s Vitamin D: New Perspectives in Drawing (2005); Universe-Rizzoli’s Curve: The Female Nude Now (2004); and Twin Palms’ Anthony Goicolea (2003). Harris is a member of the art history faculty at School of Visual Arts and is the founder of the blog janestown.net.
Images, top: Jane & Louise Wilson, Biville (2006); black and white photograph mounted on aluminum with diasec; 71 x 71 in. Courtesy of 303 Gallery. Bottom: Abigail DeVille, Haarlem Tower of Babel (2012); reclaimed lumber, accumulated debris and family heirlooms; 6 x 6 x 16 ft. Credit LaToya Ruby Frazier, courtesy of the artist.