CATSKILL, NY 8.2021
New Friend is a freestanding sculpture by Deric Carner. It is part of a series of adoptable/adaptable new flesh forms that coyly invite the viewer to identify with the alien and deformed in themselves. Pick me, love me, they seem to say, knowing they are too pale, too queer, too shy to be accepted by the pack. Sleek and long, this all-hands-and-arms creature seems designed for caressing and being caressed. There is so much subtlety in the pose of the hands and kink of the elbows. Part feline, part cartoon, New Friend is distinctly incongruous and yet seemingly complete in itself. With no head or face, it is a blank form to project feelings onto. The title suggests friendliness, but a part of you must wonder is it safe to touch?
NEW YORK CITY 9.2018
Scientists have recently called for a new category of storm to be added to the Saffir-Simpson Scale. They argue that recent megastorms far exceed the power and rate of intensification of category 5 hurricanes. 215 mph winds are a strong sign that something categorically different is in the air. How do we interpret aberrant signs so clearly outside the scale of our experience? The enlightenment dream of human control over nature is rapidly turning into a nightmare of ecological blowback and systems out of control. Throw in democracies manipulated by stolen data and captured by demagogues, and you have a recipe for demoralization and the eclipse of the human era.
It is getting harder to know what’s going on and what’s real. How are we to respond to the shifting landscape of material and symbolic uncertainty? We can be alone at home, anxiously tunneling for a safe space, policing the chat rooms, designing counter-bots, or we can be out in the world seeking new connections and meanings. We can, like the artists in this show, acknowledge things outside the scale of what was known previously. These three artists use bricolage and known inputs to create entirely new configurations that feel familiar but frustrate categorization. Their work is grounded in studio materiality and a commitment to process and play. Their images and forms are mutant assemblages suggestive of alien bodies and lifestyles.
Deric Carner uses hard construction plaster and found metal to create supple body-like objects. He starts with a simple premise such as “shield” or “spare fingers,” and ends up with uncanny objects that are uncovered by maxing out the possibilities. Carner lives with and rearranges elements over months and years until he feels a thing has revealed its true form. There is a sense that each of these artists is reacting to a deranged world by creating work that sidesteps predictable linear logic. By following intuitive and responsive pathways they reveal traces of bodies and psyches under pressure.
NEW YORK CITY 10.2018
Gallery Madison Park
Madame Trefaux lives in an 18th-century row house on the edge of the old town. Monsieur Trefaux devotes himself to his enterprise and his appetite. He likes stewed meats, vegetables cooked in duck fat and custard desserts. As a hobby, he crafts small figurines of historical and mythic characters. He gives these to relatives or arranged them on the shelves of his study. Mme Trefaux does not allow them elsewhere in the house. Mme Trefaux has a white dog that requires daily combing. She fills the house with plants of all varieties, flower prints, heavy brass lamps, ruffled trimmings, and overstuffed sofas. Mimi, as she liked to be called, spends her days gardening and reading long romantic novels. She especially likes stories that have magical or symbolist themes. Mimi was short for Margaux and it made her feel like she could be wearing a feather boa and a tutu. M and Mme Trefaux never had children and they never talked about why.
NEW YORK CITY 5.2018
Garment District Alliance Space for Public Art
The Morning Routine tells the story of a fashionable and hardworking mannequin in the Garment District. The window installation shows a behind-the-scenes view of the mannequin’s morning toilette. The artist imagines mannequining as a glamorous, but exploited profession. Work days are long and mannequins are rarely acknowledged for their contribution. Staying on trend and upgrading damaged or tired body parts is a constant stress. Mannequins, like other workers in the Garment District, must attend to their appearances to navigate a successful career. At a moment’s notice, they can be replaced by a newer model and end up in a back room, or worse—the street.
An installation in an abandoned hotel in Miami's North Beach. Works on view included ten Spare Fingers hung off the existing architecture, a bound and chained Flesh Ring, and arms hung from the ceiling and lying on the floor. The work draws into question our technological, sexual, and social relationship with material culture by exploring fetishism, trauma and the body as a hybrid work-in-progress. Part of a group show whose works explored a post flesh moment where the essentialist body is fragmented as a ghost amalgam of materials, identity and specific cultural vernaculars.
A site-specific haptic installation in a stairwell. The piece is aimed at producing non-optical connections within the viewer through touch. Created over several weeks of shaping, sanding and polishing, Touch Railing brings the sensuality of sculpture to the forefront by inviting viewers to caress and explore the varying textures of the object. The actuality and mindfulness required to experience this work is a counter to the increasing virtualization of life that ultimately alienates the body from its environment. Our bodies are responsible for mediating the relationship between interiority and exteriority, as well as being a fundamental part of how we orient ourselves in the world. A video of the artist caressing the object in a bare domestic space serves as an illustration of the body's uncanny potential in relation to the built environment.
The Soothing Center is an alternative spa featuring interactive artworks aimed at combating the daily bombardment of negative stimulation embedded in our material and media cultures. Sensory based therapies stimulate the mind and body at a molecular level while addressing an array of topics including the intersection of capitalism and wellness, body politics, intimacy, and the failures of language. Touch Belly consists of a subway tiles, a digital print, and a plaster model of the artist’s belly. The tiles are a surface treatment reminiscent of showers and spas. The plaster belly protrudes from the wall and embraces the uncanny qualities of the body. Viewers are encouraged to rub the belly to soothe their alienated selves.
SAN FRANCISCO 5.2014
A series of photocollage prints and site-specific installations inspired by the writing of such figures as Andre Gide, Ned Rorem, Kevin Bentley, Mercedes de Acosta, Jean Genet, Kevin Killian, Brad Gooch and John Rechy. Images evoked by these gay and lesbian writers served as starting points for work on the themes of liberated desire, glamour and death.
SAN FRANCISCO 6.2012
Taking its name from the Rudyard Kipling novel, and subsequent film starring Ida Lupino, the exhibition traces a slippage of intertextual relations, engaging viewers to look through one subject into another. In Kipling's novel, a former war correspondent finds success as genre artist and is laboring to finish what is meant to be his great masterwork—a painting entitled 'Melancolia'—as he is slowly consumed by blindness. The exhibition cross-references imagery related to the film, with Dürer's 'Melancolia I' etching and physique model Gordon Scott's star text, forming an arc from enlightenment and alchemy to colonialism, bodybuilding and fame.