Exhibition

Arcus

11 Jul 2024 – 16 Aug 2024

Regular hours

Thursday
10:00 – 18:00
Friday
10:00 – 18:00
Saturday
10:00 – 18:00
Tuesday
10:00 – 18:00
Wednesday
10:00 – 18:00

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About

Rachel Uffner Gallery is pleased to present Arcus, a group exhibition featuring thirteen artists working across a variety of mediums who engage the potent yet poetic shape of the arch in their artmaking. The artists in the exhibition confront, embrace, and allude to the parabolic form, whether as literal depictions of architectural structures, metaphorical doorways to fantastical lands, rounded spines of organic creatures, or visual tools to frame the viewer’s gaze. Taken together, the exhibition shows the arch as at once architectural, symbolic, and biomorphic.

Architecturally, the arch’s geometry is boundlessly versatile, as demonstrated by the dreamlike spaces that Lucía Rodríguez Pérez and Suyi Xu envision. Devoid of human imprints yet infused with a sense of interiority and disquiet, Pérez’ arched balconies and Xu’s labyrinthine galleries are meditations on time, emptiness, and perspective. Similarly surreal, Angela Wei’s vertiginous panopticon is composed of arches that invite acts of surveillance, hinting at the dystopian potential of the form.

Scaling down to the personal and domestic, in Anne Buckwalter’s Three Stories, arches appear threefold, once on each floor of the artist’s meticulously rendered interior of a Pennsylvania Dutch home. Sculptor Miwa Neishi’s calligraphic vases highlight the distinctly feminine facets of the form, inspired by the soft arches and swells of ancient Asian written languages in conversation with female bodies. A monumental anchor piece of the show, Sacha Ingber’s The Conspiracy of Mass (2020) is both a whimsical triptych gateway and an entity-relationship model of the artist’s own life and identity.

Moving away from the structural to the symbolic level, the arch signifies change and moments of transition. By nature, it is a gateway – that most liminal of thresholds separating the “here” and the “there” – through which one passes to leave this world and enter the next. Both physically and metaphorically, the arch marks the passage from outside to inside, secular to sacred, public to private, mundane to magical.

The transcendental potential of the arch is embodied subliminally in Dan Perkins’ Gold Cloister (2024), which beckons the viewer closer towards its golden gates and luminous haze. Equally enchanting, Ho Jae Kim’s Window (2024) is a cryptic conundrum, in which the infinitely repeating image of a headless figure holding an arch feels oracular and perhaps a little sinister. Piper Bangs’ exquisitely rendered Still Life with Juice (2024) cheekily subverts Dutch Golden Age painting, leaning into its canonical tropes of succulent fruit staged inside stone niches to celebrate womanhood and sensuality. For Asher Liftin, the arc of a windshield wiper in motion is both a playful interpretation of the form and a means of demonstrating the cognitive process of image perception, in which methodical pointillism mimics digital pixels.

Finally, the arch’s biomorphic form also manifests in the natural world, as expressed in the curved spines of Brittney Leeanne Williams’ bent figures. In the richly hued An Arch Holds a Dome, A Dome Holds a Tulip (2023), the shape of the canvas itself becomes a three-dimensional arch (a dome), framing the bowed bodies of women unified in a huddle. For Ronan Day-Lewis, the arch emerges from the animal-like limbs of an entity he calls “the creature”. Often glowing, always alone, the creature roams the desolate landscapes of haunted Americana. Equally evocative, Nianxin Li’s unsettling portraits feature fleshy, mollusk-like organisms that commune in mysterious settings. The creatures are precariously balanced, creating an undercurrent of tension exacerbated by the saturated shades of color pervading Li’s canvases.

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