“Time is nothing else than the form of the internal sense, that is, of the intuitions of self and of our internal state”
― Immanuel Kant
Meliksetian | Briggs is pleased to present The Practice of Everyday Life, a group exhibition featuring the work of Meg Cranston, Yifan Jiang, John Miller and Cody Trepte. The exhibition examines the passing of, and our perception of time, interior and exterior space - both physical and psychological, and our relation to it in the time of a pandemic, social isolation and lockdowns.
Working in painting, video animation and performance among other media, and taking an irreverent approach to epistemology, Yifan Jiang explores the gray intersection of the scientific, the psychological, and the magical. Jiang works by honing in on quotidian moments and combining them with seemingly unrelated elements from multiple cultures and disciplines. In her video work 57 26, 2020, the occasion of her mother’s birthday leads to revelations about time, causality, aging, and restitution. Her paintings, presented alongside the video, focus on ordinary moments and combine them with seemingly unrelated elements from multiple cultures and disciplines.
Clocks appear throughout the exhibition and prominently in Cody Trepte’s and Meg Cranston’s work. In Trepte’s work, the cuckoo clock is distorted nearly beyond recognition, the found image manipulated by a simple computer algorithm the artist wrote himself. The four panels are hung in clockwise configuration, the serial progression marking a point in time and a moment of change. Trepte proposes that time be measured as change — one moment morphing from present to past, replaced by another from the future transformed into the now.
Cranston uses the language of the seminal modernist medium of photomontage / collage, without its once radical socio-political function of the early modernist era, and its subsequent commercial use in everything from advertising to record covers. By painting the photo elements in her collage by hand in oil, Cranston reformulates the medium by placing it outside these explicit functions, political or commercial and into the realm of the subjective. By combining graphic elements, like circular discs of color recalling color theory and formalism (as well as points on a clock) with quotidian imagery signifying both personal and shared experience, Cranston places it outside of historical precedents. The clock face in the center of Cranston’s work, in the form of a watch face without hands, subverts the timekeeping function of the wristwatch to a fashion accessory, and moreover points to this moment of suspension of time.
John Miller’s Pedestrian painting and Middle of the Day photographs present seemingly typical social relations in the urban space, which have been recently upended and destabilized. The photos, an ongoing project begun in 1994, are made daily between the hours of 12 and 2 pm – the least optimal time to make a photograph outdoors due to the severe light conditions. In the photo works in the exhibition, made in the past few months, the once crowded streets of New York and Berlin have emptied, save for occasional social protests, once busy squares and thoroughfares are deserted and silent, and the home has become more central to many peoples’ daily existence. The painting, an extension of this series, harks back to the shared street interactions that defined the urban experience and that have suddenly been put into question.
Meg Cranston (b. 1960, Baldwin, NY) lives and works in Los Angeles.
Yifan Jiang (b. 1994, Tianjin, China) lives and works in Vancouver and New York.
John Miller (b. 1954, Cleveland, OH) lives and works in New York and Berlin.
Cody Trepte (b. 1984, Austin, TX) lives and works in Los Angeles.