Taken loosely from Louise Bourgeois’ renowned series of psychologically rich environments, the exhibition features artists who expose the tensions between functionality and aesthetics. On view from June 28 through August 11, 2017, Cells will be presented across the gallery’s adjacent spaces at 507 and 509 W. 24th Street, making it the largest group exhibition at the gallery to date.
A range of minimal, psychedelic, political, historical and humorous perspectives will be explored in service of a common poetry. Just as a poem is woven from words to evoke emotions or spawn new, incommunicable concepts in the mind of a reader, so may an object or image manipulate a viewer’s experience through thoughtful use of materials, composition, and context.
Each artist in Cells skillfully employs forms and media laden with assumptions and associations ready to be overturned. Jackie Brookner’s packed earth and velvet chairs, Jessica Jackson Hutchins’ papier-mache-encrusted couch, and the Haas Brothers’ undulating walnut table seduce the viewer with a familiar history but their presence within a gallery and ambiguous function subvert the meaning and purpose of these objects.
In addition to the politics of the domestic, the consumption of space within the gallery is also a trope to upend. Alex da Corte’s evocative velvet curtain winds through the exhibition, the artist’s coat of arms proclaims icons of his own artwork and invades the space while concurrently delineating it. Nancy Lupo’s casts of ice trays punctuate the quieter moments in the gallery’s architecture, highlighting the environment in which they’re installed and commenting on the nature of presentation. And the abstract Acoustic paintings by Jennie C. Jones invite investigation of the corners and edges of the compositions as well as the exhibition space itself. Upon closer inspection these seemingly minimal paintings reveal themselves to be made of acoustic panels- further complicating their interaction within the gallery and setting off a multisensory, layered reading.
Drawing on the memories, feelings and preconceptions of the viewer, each piece in this exhibition makes its own leap from definable object to nonverbal metaphor—discarding traditionally accepted hierarchies of art, design and craft in the process.