The artists in this exhibition explore new modes of sculptural production, painting, digital animation, and installation that point to an increasingly reconfigured parceling of time and space in relation to human life. Mining current trends in the techno-industrial economy, social networking, land use, and the mechanisms of protest, these works harbor a growing skepticism towards the slippery role of governance (corporate, networked, bureaucratic, or otherwise) and the civil/economic pressures it creates. Taking the sprawling title of this exhibition literally may be helpful if only to underscore the air of suspicion it casts over all objects, their byproducts, and traces of information within a digital economy.
Consider the carburetor. When calibrated correctly these devices blend air and fuel in an optimum ratio to maximize power and minimize exhaust from internal combustion engines. In the 1970s and 80s, carburetors began to be replaced by electronic fuel injection systems designed to atomize gasoline, increasing engine efficiency and supposedly decreasing exhaust emissions. These newer systems work in tandem with catalytic converters which contain precious metals like platinum, palladium, and rhodium, mined from environmentally destructive quarries all over the world and fetching a high value on the black market. So the dinosaur carburetor is cast into the junkyard - just a fossil in the histories of ecological decay and criminal activity.
It’s not essential to research the history of automotive emissions to get a creepy feeling when viewing Gina Beavers painting, Basket of Carburetors, 2014. The image, sourced from Instagram, stems from the tradition of “ruin porn” photography of blighted rust-belt cities. In Beavers’ thickly modeled acrylic rendering, car parts pile up, closely cropped and frontal, with gaping orifices and valves opening to voids of dark interior space. Suction of some kind still seems possible, like an aquatic bottom feeder with its mouth stuck to the aquarium glass.
A hanging steel sculpture by Jo Nigoghossian occupies the largest space in the gallery with an entangled hive of welded plates, rods, angle iron, and a small outgrowth of neon tubes. The sculpture’s unassuming title Ball With Scratches belies the aggression in the work’s structure and control of materials. In Nigoghossian’s constructions, any semblance of spatial boundaries gives way to a roaming, adaptable, agent of contravention. In the same gallery Nate Boyce’s 3-D animated video Polyscroll tracks vertically through pulsating fields of color and morphing digitally sculpted manifolds. Boyce’s simulations question the limits of our productive impulse as the gap closes between what can be imagined on screen and printed in solid form.
In the works of Gabriela Salazar and Naama Tsabar the chemical behavior of liquids and solids are employed to subversive effect. Salazar’s experiments with blast hole patterns cast into mixtures of salt, flour, coffee, and graphite call to mind the forces utilized to extract resources from the earth and the irreversibility of these actions. Time is rendered plainly unforgiving as these cast objects crack, calve, and slide apart into a multitude of accidents and state changes. In the opposite gallery Tsabar’s work Sweat 4 (Tali) is alive with the tension of potential violence. Two pillars tilted off their vertical axis are held in place by lengths of cotton bed sheets threaded through the structures into open, dangling bottles of liquor, recalling gigantic Molotov cocktails. As the sheets absorb and transfer the alcohol a protracted fuse is drawn between structure and implement.
In the trapezoidal space of the upper gallery, playwright Christina Masciotti and set designer Stephen Dobay have reformulated a stripped down version of the set from Masciotti’s dark, malapropism laden comedy Adult (originally performed in Abrons Underground theater in February 2013). Excerpts from Masciotti’s script - which accompany the installation, center on the verbal sparring between a technologically illiterate father living in a row-house turned gun shop with his millennial aged daughter who is on hiatus from her second semester of college. Dobay’s sociological details - cheap wood paneling, collapsed boxes, fallen ceiling tiles and glass cases emptied of their merchandise - frame out a desperate, family owned firearms venture long since abandoned by automated markets.