M+B is pleased to present Funny, Ha Ha, an exhibition of new works by Whitney Hubbs. The exhibition opens at our Doheny space on October 29, 2022 and will run through December 3, 2022 with an opening reception on Saturday, October 29 from 6 to 8 pm.
In her third solo exhibition with M+B, Whitney Hubbs offers us photographs of herself in various ideational states, in collaged contact prints on mirrors, and in images of surrogate objects: a rose, crumpled paper bags, the yawn of a cave at night, a clay sculpture of disembodied sex organs. Words and descriptions serve her photographs to limited capacity, if only to lead us into analogous territory, that of an erotic, humorous, and base self-representation.
In her mirror works, we see Hubbs intersecting these territories at a higher pitch, implicating us in the process, seeing ourselves as reflected slivers in between and around her prints. If it helps to be aware of our own witnessing, we apprehend sex not so much as Hubbs’ main subject, but as a lure for states of being and experience that constellate around it: stuffing, purging, and gagging, intense color, the tenuous exchange between gazes, regressive teenage fantasy, and strip club aesthetics are several of its attractors. Such indignities, with all their humorous byproducts, are sublimated by Hubbs into eroticism (and the inverse), by virtue of her enactments of them into role-play.
That Hubbs projects onto external objects distills these ideas further, identifying with them as they are wilting, drying, or stubbornly existing. Some are past their expiration date and not long for this world. Each object she depicts retains its own mood in a string of chronicled encounters. Her photograph of a rose exists in staccato against her clay sculpture of breasts and phalluses, against the cave that offers its hole, against the weary brown paper bags, replete with grease stains on the kitchen floor. These amount to something similar to her mirror pieces, aside from chronicling, in which there’s a bathetic confrontation with herself and the conditions of being in her forties, of being at a certain place in life. She negotiates this subjective and objective experience, of seeing herself through idea-experiments, only to return to forms, all forms, in all of their frailties. We engage with this vulnerability because it is resonant and compelling, but also for the solidarity in knowing that her photographs account for something familiar in trying to recognize one’s desires, no matter how debasing, against conditions that repel them.
- Max Maslansky
Whitney Hubbs (b. 1977, Los Angeles) received her MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles and BFA from California College of the Arts. Hubbs was involved in the punk rock riot grrrl community from a young age, where she made fanzines, organized art shows, and participated in performances. Hubbs was recently included in a four-person exhibition at The J. Paul Getty Museum. Two-person and solo exhibitions include Animal, Hole Selfie at SITUATIONS, New York; Body Doubles at M+B Gallery, Los Angeles; and Whitney Hubbs: Persistent and Falling at the California Museum of Photography, Riverside. Group exhibitions include Screenscapes at Galeria Nara Roesler in São Paulo, Brazil, Ami Omi at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY, and les vases communicants at Shulamit Nazarian Gallery. Her work is in the permanent collections of The Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Getty Museum, Los Angeles; The California Museum of Photography at the University of California, Riverside; and The Riot Grrrl Collection, Fales Library Special Collections, New York University, New York. Hesse Press published the artist’s first monograph, Woman In Motion. Say So, her newest book, was published in 2021 by SPBH Editions.
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