Marco Roso, Leigha Mason, Ryan Brewster, Gloria Maximo
Curated by Courtney Malick
131 Chrystie St., New York, NY
The “other” or “another” exists within the minds of most. The Unattainable demonstrates methods through which people retreat within the self to internally explore such alternative emotions, identities, environments, etc, which are immured by the container of the body. Conversely, some works included in this exhibition draw inspiration from varying forms of bodily manipulation, restriction, bondage, constriction, intoxication and asphyxiation in order to release an ‘alter’ or indefinable 'being' from within. Such processes are utilized in an attempt to engage with the unattainable --- the ineffable. These are ideals that we possess within our minds, but that we are not able to make a tangible, nor a physical reality. The process of such an attempt becomes an event, open to objectification in its own right. Altered mental states, regardless of how they are achieved, welcome a reversed sense of freedom, allowing room, both physically and mentally, for cathartic, shamanistic or ritualistic behaviors that are uncharacteristic of the external, communal self.
Marco Roso’s works questions notions of space, wherein transformative energies of alternative culture are formed. Dealing with both the effects and aesthetics of drugs and their paraphernalia, such as marijuana and poppers, the artist presents two videos, both entitled Poppers, (2008), and two re-assigned pedestal sculptures, Untitled 1 and Untitled 2, (2009). Leigha Mason’s photo series, Documentation of Decay, (2008), follows the artists’ daily transformation during one week of living with blue, clown face paint, which proceeds to wear off of her face in cakey creases over the course of this durational performance. Here Mason completely allows an alternate psychological persona to take over her body while engaging in daily, social activities. Through her diaristic notes, we come to understand the emotional consequences of living as an ‘alter’. Ryan Brewer’s large-scale sculptural installation, Chakra Yantra #6 (Seat for the Soul) (2009), appears within The Unattainable as a tool for physical and psychic manipulation. Chakra Yantra itself resembles a piece of heavy machinery, illuminated by fluorescent and strobing lights. However, it is re-contextualized through the musical track, “Theory of Machines,” by Ben Frost, which accompanies Brewer and his two assistants, John Daniel Forslund and Andrew Westlund, during the artists’ live performance as they work simultaneously with and against the sculpture to transcend and transform the physical space of Brewer’s own body, as well as that of the gallery. Gloria Maximo’s paintings, Untitled, (2008), Landscape (Detail No. 1), (2008), and Study for Portrait of Leilah Weinraub, (2009), focus on seemingly intangible concepts, situations, contexts or places that momentarily exist between people, or even just one person. Intentionally set in locations of illusory privacy, and environmentally charged, Maximo’s work awakens the familiar yet unknown presence of the ‘other.’