Exhibitionin New York, NY / United States
Thierry Goldberg is pleased to present “Remnant, Artifact, Flow”, a group exhibition of works by Justin Chance, Tony Chrenka, Doris Guo, Jeffrey Joyal, Molly Rose Lieberman, Caitlin MacBride, and Bri Williams.
The exhibition’s title refers to the hidden relics and potent icons that glide through our personal and collective memories as they slowly accumulate.
Doris Guo‘s “Bronze Guestbook II” (2019) is not the usual gallery guestbook. It is a piece of cast bronze that can be ‘signed’ by visitors simply by their touch. Originally exhibited in January 2020, the stone records all of its encounters from each of its public appearances. It consequently wears down with each touch, serving as an invisible archive of all who have entered the exhibition, or at least those who have decided to be remembered. It is one’s own prerogative whether or not to leave their mark (just please use hand sanitizer before and after!). “Bronze Guestbook II” is a reminder of the rituals that have been lost in the past year; now 2020’s fingerprints are just a trace, a remnant on a guestbook.
Guo’s elusive sculpture punctuates the gallery exhibition as a signal of remembrance. “Remnant, Artifact, Flow” is a show on reflecting, achieved by artists who collect and archive memories and objects. Many of the artworks in the show physically preserve or transform quotidian and culturally significant objects, turning them into artifacts of contemporary history. Other works look to the notion of ‘the archive’ to dissect its hegemonic power and de facto role as a holder of history. Across the works in the exhibition, seven artists portray personal and historic narratives that speak to the slowness of time sometimes necessary for reflection.
Reflection is felt most bodily in Bri Williams‘ amber soap sculptures embedded with delicately and forcefully poetic objects. In “Torso” (2018), a silver necklace dangles like a belly-button ring from a torso-sized chunk of soap. The soap and resin create a tender object like a newborn. “Forward Hand Crack” (2019), too, evokes a bodily sensation because of its mass of soap cracking like layers of skin and, especially, the leather whip fossilized inside. The whip is contained, yet it generates an imagined visceral response.
The passage of time physically grows in three potted bonsai trees (two olive and one rosemary) cultivated by Justin Chance titled “Treaty, Armistice”, and “Anzac Day” (all 2020-2021). These petite trees are groomed to fit indoors; tortured and bound like ballerina feet to present a beautiful, yet unnatural mystique. Chance’s hand- made ceramic planters enforce the bonsais’ domesticity and small stature, contrary to their natural (relative) size. The slightest presence of life is also felt in Chance’s repurposed box fans, “Small War” (2020) and “Garden” (2020-2021), which are hand woven with yarn in multi-colored patterns. The fans’ rotors can twirl, but the yarn blocks the passage of air, rendering the machines defunct. Though the fans do not properly work, their blades do – creating life without a purpose, a perpetual ticking of time and continuation of electronic life. Chance’s fans and trees both live in unnatural ways at the hand of the human who turns them on or feeds them water at will.
A glimpse of life and character is also seen in Tony Chrenka‘s works. “Gutted” (2020) is a photograph from the artist’s series of men’s suit jackets. On a visit to a flagship department store, Chrenka gathered suit jackets into the dressing room and photographed each one inside out. They are handsomely empty portraits of imagined personas – Don Drapers dressed seamlessly to ‘let go’ after work and get a martini at The Carlyle. The interior life of the jacket wearer, or perhaps the artist himself, is felt in “Untitled” (2020), an intimate and intricate pencil drawing. Though extremely controlled and intentional, Chrenka’s drawing appears as a work of automatism. The delicate lines are almost like brain veins, a web of thoughts weaving unconscious desires throughout time. His sleek sculpture “Paw” (2017-2021) is a new configuration of the artist’s sculptural lamp exhibited in his 2017 solo-show at Interim, San Francisco. This transfigured object is no longer recognizable and its objecthood converted into subjecthood.
The unresolved tensions of cultural angst are captured in Jeffrey Joyal‘s four varsity letters spaced throughout the gallery, spelling out RAID – a reference to 1960s policing of supposedly socially unacceptable behavior. “Untitled (RAID)” is part of a series of works by Joyal composed of collegiate patches sourced from the Internet and combined to form cryptic words. The letters are emblems of American high schools and mementos of jocks at football games. They are a badge of honor to some and a symbol of inequality to many. Accompanying his letter game is Joyal’s hand-carved print of Lee Harvey Oswald as a United States Marine surrounded by evangelical Chick tracts and studded with cow tags. In the print, a seventeen-year-old Oswald sports a toothy grin as he dons a Camouflage helmet: a symbol of the pride and death 1960s America owes him.
Like Joyal, Caitlin MacBride‘s works are studies in material culture. Out of a research-based practice, MacBride paints domestic objects housed in archives of decorative arts. Her works look to the role of museums in preserving and classifying daily objects as deserving meaning. MacBride’s paintings depict the objects in empty backgrounds, mimicking the loneliness of museum storage. The works are historical passages into signifiers of other people’s worlds. “The bed from Tied to the Mast” (2020-2021), the drying rack from “The Right to Curiosity” (2020-2021), and the lace curtain from “Not One of Those Lace Curtain Bitches” (2020-2021) are all facsimiles wrought with the dedicated precision of the physical devotion that went into their production.
“Fictional character or: bright red string, moving about” (2021) by Molly Rose Lieberman is an almost unending assemblage of signs and symbols. For this work, Lieberman altered a frame that previously held a work in the Museum of Modern Art’s collection by filling it with aluminum. The frame still has pen marks from its previous life in the museum, but now, resting on a Prada Sport shoe sole and a Cobbler’s wood model, the frame has lost its archival aura. Next to it, a red light casts a glow like a traffic light bleeding onto a metal street sign. This work recreates outdoor haphazard light pollution, while it simultaneously rethinks the hierarchical structures embedded in the museum. Continuing her archival research and inspired by Seth Siegelaub’s textile collection, Lieberman created a series of drawings of found textiles, such as the exhibited “I would, but my head feels funny” (2020) and “Coverlet, slice” (2020). By drawing the textile patterns on paper, Lieberman strips the original texture of the fabric away, and simply leaves the design, which, without the texture, becomes ghostly.
These ghostly feelings and mementos are all that remain. Grasped onto as signifiers to jog our memories as placeholders of our histories. How must we move on?
Gallery hours Wed-Sun 10 am – 6 pm
Walk-ins are welcome, up to 6 visitors in the space at a time.
Thierry Goldberg Gallery
109 Norfolk Street
10002 New York, NY