Julie Henson, An Absolute Beast (Julie Johnston), 2017
ALL HANDS ON DECK
Artists in the exhibition: Kelly Akashi, Harry Dodge, Julie Henson, Anna Sew Hoy, Young Joon Kwak, Nevine Mahmoud, Ellen Schafer, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Roni Shneior, Cammie Staros, Isabel Yellin, and Bari Ziperstein.
When bodies are being openly threatened, deported and condemned, visibility is an act of resistance. Towing the line between abstraction and figuration, most of the works in All Hands on Deck foreground the body. Though each resists easy definition, together they solicit the persistent question: what are the limits of representation and legibility? The works present are conflicting images of form - familiar objects are refashioned into surreal surrogates and art historical depictions of the figure are challenged and appropriated as a means of reclaiming. Mary Shelley’s short novel Frankenstein provides direction: Shelley imagines a creature that is made up of a composite of bodies – mismatched parts, which have been carefully hand-stitched. Dr. Frankenstein’s labor is self-evident. So too, the artists in All Hands on Deck, re-configure and conjure vital forms through material investigations and object scale.
From hand-built ceramics to carved stone; distressed ready-mades to hand-sewn textiles, each of the Los Angeles-based artists of All Hands on Deck engage the corporeal in an urgent, emotional, tactile and, at times, humorous manner.
April 22, 2018