LC: You are both artists: did curating this exhibition add anything to your respective practices?
Andre & Carly: While there was no formal exhibition requirement after the residency , we were intrigued by the fact that there hadn’t yet been a large group exhibition in the space and preferred the idea of organizing something which could involve many people rather than presenting distinct bodies of work in the environment.
The artists in this exhibition are friends and artists that we have been in touch with and wanted to work with for some period of time, and the process of organizing this project has made us feel connected to their work in a way that we don’t often get to. Through this process we were reminded about the fact that so much of exhibition making is an act of care, encouragement, and support. We’ve felt very grounded by that.
LC: What is the work that represents best the topic of the show and how does it do that?
Andre & Carly: Both Jess Hicks and Rachel Rosheger use materials that could appear to have come from lower cavity or the surrounding area (they did not) and embody the dynamics present at the site which we drew on when selecting the work for and writing about this show.
Rosheger’s “Electric Dream Days Are Here” resembles a weathervane— it is built with antique lightning rods and equipped with commercially available LED panels playing fragments of storm chaser videos sourced from YouTube. It almost appears to be plucked from the wheel pit just behind it, while also drawing attention to its freshly unboxed electronics.
Jess Hicks’ “PLEASE, SORRY, Comment section”, similarly, celebrates its own material and temporal displacement. Her arrangement of rubble sourced from street and sidewalk construction depict detailed hand painted text paintings that locate themselves somewhere between a Tony Robbins powerpoint presentation and pre-recorded corporate onboarding. Both works grapple with questions of “things” being “better then” vs being “better now”, and whether the tools at hand can truly be effective at repairing, remedying, or predicting.
LC: In the PR you write about the exhibition's reflection on the "potentialities of nostalgia through a material lens". What are these potentialities? Do you see the show as counterbalancing nostalgia or exploring it by copying its "logic"?
Andre & Carly: More the latter — The text refers a lot to nostalgia in response to the American thematic of “longing for the bygone era of American excellence”, of which lower_cavity is representative (a former paper mill in a former industrial boomtown). However, many works in the show indirectly explore the dynamics of nostalgia with more recency than that, asking how material can be leveraged to unlock an idea or core memory. Miguel Benaña, Mira Dayal, and Carly Mandel’s works reference innocence and play via common objects with dwindling ubiquity that invite a darker, austere read. Rachel Rosheger, Jess Hicks and Umico Niwa utilize repurposed, reclaimed and aging material as an essential part of the work. While André Magaña, Craig Jun Li, and Quay Quinn Wolf’s works leverage the coldness of the industrial material language to play on the tensions between sensory desire and instinctual caution. Grounding the exhibitions in our current day, Chase Barnes’ moving picture installation superimposes corrupted photographic abstractions against images from the margins of the current American epoch.
JACOB'S EDGE is curated by André Magaña and Carly Mandel
Artists: Chase Barnes, Miguel Bendaña, Mira Dayal, Jess Hicks, Craig Jun Li, André Magaña, Carly Mandel, Umico Niwa, Rachel Rosheger, Quay Quinn Wolf
Read the full Press Release.