TSA & Transmitter
It is often the case that the immediate juxtaposition of aesthetically kindred galleries TSA and Transmitter allows, maybe accidentally encourages visitors to make observations about concurrent exhibitions with relation to one another. I’m not sure the curators at the respective spaces are always keen on hearing such thoughts – especially from me, since over the years they’ve likely tired of knowing that I’ll always be looking for something – but there are times when the formal or conceptual fluidities or contrasts between shows are so striking that commentary of the sort proves simply irresistible.
Such is most certainly the case with these galleries’ current shows: “Go,” at TSA, featuring an installation by the CORAMU duo (Ina Jang and Brea Souders), curated by Yael Eban; and “The leaden circles dissolved in the air,” at Transmitter, a mixed-media installation by Carrie Yamaoka and Joy Episalla.
In my view, both exhibits pertain to photographic images and contemporary modes of not just looking but also, in a sense, modes of ‘not’ looking – of seeing and not, or of seeing but perhaps not actively processing. They both deal in some manner with fixed objects and images as fodder for our rapidly transient – maybe even occasionally transcendent – perceptions. They are both two-person shows in which the artists work together as collaborative duos. Both duos are female duos. Both shows are generously airy, similarly spare in a good way. The works in both shows are modestly scaled. Importantly, for me, both shows, as I see and ponder them, achieve brilliant heights where they employ corners.
In most all patently visual and spatial ways, however, and in so many more ways than I’ll go into here, these two tandemly engaging shows counterpoint one another almost completely. Inverse worlds, though not all too distant from one another in their imaginable times or histories. Different layers in the onion-like structure of the multiverse, whether or not the multiverse exists. Or wait, isn’t it all just all hologram? Aren’t we all, according to some set of proofs and equations?
Either way, these exhibits are certainly interesting to compare and contrast with holograms in mind, too. Together they provide the things that bring holograms into what we might call their ‘near-nigh-complete states of being,’ as contrasted from ‘our’ seemingly ‘consummate’ modes of being.
TSA is wrapped in a vivid, abundantly colorful, wallpaper-like strip of dozens of social-media-tastic images that are recognizable and not, revealing and not, at times implicitly sensual, delicious in some chromatico-formal sense, all together exuding a kind of tropical warmth. Transmitter features photography-referencing sculptures, projections and reflections in a very limited scale of blacks and whites and greys, and maybe some silvery notes of blueishness, at turns chrome-like, all in a quiescent, wintry, well-refrigerated setting – one that seems also perhaps preserved, conserved, cryogenic.
At TSA, you look all around yourself, surrounded by the strip of ‘pics,’ and you might get close to their surfaces but the encircling imagery mostly puts you in a place, a scroll of ‘posts’ to regard from a more or less fixes position, a visual hoop to your viewer’s hula. At Transmitter you walk around the works, explore, get close, watch movement, navigate stillness, and then you see yourself on the floor, a bubbled mirror there to receive and reflect your bending frame, your questioning brow, your finger wanting to probe, and you are here and you are there.
The shows together are meta-cinematic, in a way, or rather they provide the trappings of VR, or perhaps of video games. They are enjoyably escapist, but there’s really no escape. And ‘no escape’ is telling.
Important corners: at TSA, the images wrap right around or settle into corners, recalling that you’re in a true physical space after all, that those things in those images have dimensions. At Transmitter, even corners formed by ceilings and floors are partially active, while nooked into the crook of a certain corner, I found the reflection of the face of a passing phantom, which in effect is only visible by photographing a certain projection from a certain angle — so the phantom is at once here ‘and’ there and here ‘or’ there, but it also doesn’t really exist, so it’s also kind of stuck in a nowhere.
Another note of interest about my favorite corners, the ones photographed here: The one at TSA, the colorful one you’re looking ‘at’ or ‘onto,’ is the exact inverse side of the corner at Transmitter, i.e. the ‘outer’ one to the ‘inner’ one ‘into’ which you might look to find the ghostly apparition.
So they’re two sides of the same corner. Does that make them the same corner? Already the expression ‘two sides of the same corner’ seems problematic. Opposing faces of the same corner? Maybe better, definitely more interesting to ponder.
There are certainly many other better and more interesting things to see, discover, compare and contrast in these intriguing exhibits, so I’ll wrap up by encouraging you to go do it yourselves.
And while you’re at it, consider heading over to neighboring gallery Underdonk to check out “Drooped From the Root.” It’s another two-person show featuring a duo of female artists who, for this show in particular, worked collaboratively: Meg Lipke and Amy Talluto. It features representational paintings of the woods by the latter surrounding abstract sculptures of trees and fruity suchlike by the former. This show is escapist too, in a way, but maybe as an actual place of escape. All the work was made literally in, and with a certain relationship to, actual, extant woods upstate. Folks truly do head up there to ‘get away.’ As for ideas about layers in some multiverse: The ‘layer’ of this show truly exists in ‘our’ layer, or it ‘is’ our layer, in the present tense and located just to the north. What’s more, the show was born from a poem composed in — yes — verses. See where I’m going with this?
At any rate, I wrote a few more words about “Drooped From the Root” here, if you care to know a few more details about it.
Wholly unintended by the three respective galleries and six artists involved, and unfair or not for me to note, these three duos make for one hell of meta-collaborative trio.
Funny how so many coincidences, parallels and triangulations can just happen to be.
The New York Studio School
An expansive spread of manifestly eclectic, massively pleasurable artwork is now on view at The New York Studio School for the 2019 Alumni Show, curated this year by Fran O’Neill, Claire Sherman, Judith Linhares, David Humphrey and Robert Franca.
What you’ll find there is an enormous trove of linger-worthy paintings, primarily, though there are a number of strong sculptures as well, and many instances in which variably circumstantial matters of lighting and install decisions bring some particularly interesting interrelationships among works to the fore, or to the fore and aft at once.
So get over to 8 West 8th Street and spend a long while looking, looking, looking. There are about seven rooms full of works by I’m not sure how many artists. Several score seems a safe estimate.
Above and below are cobbled-together glimpses and single-piece pics of works, as well as pics some of the aforementioned circumstantial matters. I lingered on and came back to a number of the paintings shown here individually, several of which led to, on the evening of the opening and since then, lengthy discussions about matters pictorial and conceptual alike: composition, palette, facture, figuration and representation; commodity, identity, creative selfhood, spiritual toil and perceptual multiplicity.
In sum, much great art to be seen and many great discussions to be had at the New York Studio School right now. The Alumni Show runs through August 25th.
Clockwise from top left: Fukuko Harris, Jonathan Harkham,
Suzanne Guppy, Karin Malpeso (sculpture) and Tsailing Tseng (painting)
Clockwise from top left: various artists as curated by Robert Franca,
Ewelina Bochénska, various artists as curated by Fran O’Neill, Amanda Church
Clockwise from top left: various artists as curated by Judith Linhares,
Patrick Neal, various artists as curated by Judith Linhares, Emily Zuch
Paul D’Agostino’s Nota Bene with @postuccio posts are modified versions of capsule reviews and other art notes he posts on Instagram. You can follow him @postuccio.
All photos by Paul D’Agostino
Paul D’Agostino, Ph.D. is an artist, writer, translator and curator based in Brooklyn, New York. More information about him is available here, and you can find him as @postuccio on Instagram and Twitter.