M+B is pleased to announce Any Human Measure, a group exhibition curated by Alexandra Wetzel and Jonlin Wung. The exhibition will be on view from May 9 through July 1, 2015 with an opening reception on Saturday, May 9 from 6 to 8 pm.
The more the world speeds up, the more technology flattens time and distance, the more info crystalizes into ever more complex packets, the harder we humans try to make sense of it. We are, after all, sense-making animals; pattern-makers; info-metabolizers; as likely to see shapes in the trash filling our gutters as in the stars.
The works in the exhibition represent attempts to process our present cultural diet of seemingly unrelated signs into discrete, formal artworks. From taxonomies, chemistry, internet or social media protocols, to film formats and conventions of art display—these forms often fall short of defining the roughness of our world. Yet in the end it’s not the object that matters so much as what the artist gains in making it: a sense of meaning in the noise.
Take the layered sculptures of Ed Fornieles, where cartoon characters rendered as acrylic standees literally exhibit the diseased state of their internal organs. Such a polluted modern condition finds lobed, abstract form in Nick Kramer’s cast aluminum and resin works, in which objects such as styrofoam blocks or a prescription asthma inhaler have been petrified by toxic particulates. Sean Raspet modifies the atmosphere of the gallery using an invisible organic chemical, an ethylene cousin of plastic called Banana Gas 32, which causes fruit to ripen and flowers to wilt. Against this petrochemical background, Erik Frydenborg constructs diagrams from obscure encyclopedic manuals in the round, inserting them into sculptural tableaus loosely approximating the visual syntax of science fiction paperbacks. The pixellated drawings of Channa Horwitz reflect the cumulative interaction of simple patterns; small kernels of information emerge from her meticulous process-based logic as radiant, gridded arabesques. Patterns lead to patterns in Web native Guthrie Lonergan’s contribution, a reimagining of Oliver Laric’s classic video Versions, which offers a droll take on connections drawn between everything from 3D models to Disney films—this time, voiced by the Internet itself. But If such cultural fragmentation is irreversible, at least Hannah Whitaker provides a poetic allegory: a set of eight graphic photographs, showing various angled, striped fragments of a barn wall—apparently digital, but upon closer inspection revealed as the result of hand-cut masks and multiple exposures.
Torn edges, hand-made marks, rubbery or soft subjects become points of tension in pieces that might otherwise reads transcendently, even casually perfected. Far from subverting these artworks’ polish, such imperfections might tell us something about how we ourselves might handle our daily diet of culture. After all, these are not systems for the sake of systems, but rather patterns of understanding. And since the world shows no sign of slowing down, we could do worse than to take a cue from these artists, and start chewing.
Participating artists include Ed Fornieles, Erik Frydenborg, Channa Horwitz, Nick Kramer, Guthrie Lonergan, Sean Raspet and Hannah Whitaker.