Over a year of life with the pandemic has passed. During the last year, the participating artists in this exhibition were either deprived of the opportunity to make art in their studios or abandoned their studios after returning home from abroad. Just like the rest of us, they have experienced lockdown and the adoption of social and physical distancing. They experienced isolation, loss, and grief. These works emerged out of such conditions, out of the uncertainty of precarious thick presents. Artists had to reconsider their practice and to rethink their (and our) ways of being-with others. Under such circumstances, they have found in art making a way to cultivate their conditions for ongoingness, for healing and for staying alive.///
The overarching theme of Carrying the Thick Present takes shape by reflecting upon three interrelated notions: intimacy, fabulation, trauma; each unfolding in one different gallery. It is by working through these notions that the twenty-four artists participating in this exhibition have found their ways for engaging with, telling, and Carrying the Thick Present we live in and with it.
Intimacy at Syracuse University Art Museum: twelve artists depict intimate moments of companionship, affect and love; and examine the notion of domesticity and home. Some evoke a sense of boredom, pause, and suspension of time; others contest the boundaries of the intimate space. These works remember. Engaging with intimacy as a way to carrying the thick ongoing life under social and physical distance, these works are capable of creating a timeplace for introspective reflection and affect, re-orienting our sense of time and being with others.
Fabulation at Point of Contact Gallery: six artists explore the potentials of fabulation, that is, of fabricating the real through speculative storytelling and alter-worlding. Eerie environments and monstrous organisms emerge. Communal care, dancing with ghosts, and grieving with others are forwarded as methods of bearing the weight of loss. Gaming and tales of multispecies kinship heighten an awareness of our enmeshment with-in a multispecies landscape. Through the gesture and practice of fabulation, these artists’ works offer other configurations to dwelling with loss and open us into an appreciation of our entwined shared living and dying. Through fabulations, these works reimagine the thick present and its multiple past and future durations, disrupting habitual narratives about the self and about our ways of living together.
Trauma at Community Folk Art Center: six artists deal with forms of trauma. Collecting the ongoing pasts that are attached to the thick presents, they explore the trauma that has stemmed from war, violence, and social conflicts. These works are carriers of traumatic histories and presents. Some remind us that the bio- and earth-trauma are entangled in intricate relationships, that we are at the verge of extinction and decay. Yet, for others there are forms of repair and renewal. Biodesign and virtual reality open up possibilities of hopeful temporalities for life and the earth. Rather than closure to traumatic events, these works engage with trauma to meditate on togetherness, on our shared sense of belonging-with.
Art, and all the artists in this exhibition, have the capacity to cultivate conditions for our being and ongoingness-with others in the precarious thick present we live in and with it. Art, and these works, hold the capacity to collect ongoing pasts, stay with thick presents, and reimagine still possible futures. When viewing these works, bear this in mind.
Artists: Matthew John Apol, Joshua David Baker, Katlyn Brumfield, Allison DeBritz, Jiayu Kang, Gregory G Mizak, Linda Moses, Brett Morgan, Aanchal Raisahib , Ayesha Rumi, Ryan Somelofske, Catherine Spencer, Kristina Starowitz, Maya Stern, Britton Matthew Thorp, Katherine Virag, Faezeh Tabatabaeimanesh, Shane Zhang II
House 406B Colonels Row, Governor’s Island
Opening Reception: July 24, 3:00 – 8:00 PM
Also, you can see the show through the link:
Curator: Manuela Hansen