White Columns

White Columns Online ‘Strange Days: Hit Pause' curated by Jackie Klempay

No openings, no double-cheek-kisses, it’s quarantine life for all non-essential workers. Horrified by the news, sickness, and death, the monotonous aspects of contemporary life are also collectively being felt. Subsequently, I am drawn to artists using non sequiturs to define their outlook. I'm attracted to the way they test new logic. When nothing makes sense, and a different rhythm is followed, can a new pattern emerge? When everything is constantly shifting in a world that suddenly feels encased in clear gelatin, how does energy move in a new direction? Although most of the works were created prior to the pandemic, they embody a spirit that is vital in this moment.

 

Yue Nakayama's video "How can I Miss You When You Won't Go Away" follows a dinosaur couple in the midst of a mid-life crisis on a road-trip to the Creation Evidence Museum (a place that promotes the idea that God created dinosaurs alongside humans and other animals). In between this dino conversation, the viewer is encouraged to sing karaoke to ABBA's SOS. "Where are those happy days, they seem so hard to find."

 

Like Nakayama, Faith Holland uses sexuality, pop culture and transgression in unpredictable ways. For example, the way that Holland's “The Fetishes” probes the pervasiveness of technology. Instead of using the ipad the way a consumer usually uses a screen, the objectness is on display. It reminds me of the way a cat doesn't understand why you would rather tap your fingers on a piece of plastic (aka your computer) than pet them. What happens when instead of checking your email, your screen’s surface is smeared with pubic hair, fur, makeup and lubricant?

 

Dalia Amara and Guillaume Adjutor Provost scratch at the cultural landscape with jarring color schemes and unsettling textures. Amara squeezes purple Lee Press On Nails and green grapes into a seductive fishnet bag in “They Want Your Restraint,” while Provost’s installation “Vapeurs” uses resin, alcohol and sedative herbs. Within a larger practice, Provost’s proclivity toward the counterculture, queer experiences, Quebec vernacular imagery, and science fiction emerges. Both artists’ use of material succeeds in producing a mysterious narrative.

 

Bailey Scieszka’s video “Fighting History with Lightning” shares these qualities with an added dose of deranged monologue. Her alter ego Old Put the Clown’s mouth is dripping with red as her distorted voice meanders through a perplexing mix of political commentary and conspiracy theory. Similarly, Lindsey White taps into an eerie, absurdist scenario with her Houdini-esque “Studio 8.” Unlike an actual performance, there is no reveal in a photograph -- Is this real? Will whoever/whatever hangs in the sheets from the ceiling make their way out? Anxiety is fixed within the spectacle.

 

Idiosyncratic and domestic, Eun-Ha Paek’s “Commemorative Plate” features a stunned face with large ears, eyes wide open, and a frozen gaping mouth. Her intentions are to “cause a smirk, without any real action taking place.” There’s the tendency to group ceramic and textiles, but the link to Alexandre Camarao’s tapestry “Untitled (after Robyn)” is a shared transfixed quality. He hypnotizes the viewer using measured verse, visually knocking it off beat to make a new tempo. New words, patterns and language emerge.

 

It's a challenging time globally, so the effort put forth to make and look at art takes on a greater significance. I appreciate this group of artists for examining the world they encounter -- technology, music, sex, humor, language -- and butting it up to a discordant rationale. Everything is "on pause" but that's impossible, strange days endure.

 

Jackie Klempay is the owner and director of Situations, a contemporary art gallery based in New York City. Since 2010 Klempay/Situations has championed the work of emerging and overlooked artists with group and solo exhibitions, publications and public presentations.

 

For more information visit situations.us


This exhibition is the twelfth in a series of online exhibitions; this exhibition was curated from White Columns’ Artist Registry.

Participating Artists:
Dalia Amara

Alexandre Camarao

Faith Holland

Yue Nakayama

Eun-Ha Paek

Guillaume Adjutor Provost

Bailey Scieszka

Lindsey White

For more information: registry.whitecolumns.org


Yue Nakayama
How Can I Miss You When You Won't Go Away
Video
Duration: 10 mins 56 sec
Courtesy of the artist.
Watch Video

Faith Holland
The Fetishes: Pubes, 2017
iPad, Pubes, Adhesive, Animated GIF
Courtesy of the artist and TRANSFER.

Dalia Amara
They Want Your Restraint, 2018
Archival Inkjet Print
Courtesy of the artist.

Guillaume Adjutor Provost
Planète hurlante, 2019
Resin, alcohol and sedative herbs
16 x 69 x 42 cm.
Series of 5
Courtesy of Galerie Hugues Charbonneau.

Bailey Scieszka
Fighting History with Lightning
Video
Duration: 7 mins 32 sec
Courtesy of the artist.
Watch Video

Lindsey White
Studio 8, 2017
Color transparency in marquee light box
47 x 34.5 in.
Courtesy of the artist.

Eun-Ha Paek
I Dunt Care, 2019
Glazed ceramic
19 x 12.5 x 4 in.
Courtesy of the artist.

Alexandre Camarao
Untitled (after Robyn), 2017
Wool
54 x 54 cm.
Courtesy of the artist.