May 192024
 

Ann Schaumburger, “Silver Moon in Darkened Sky House”, 2023, Flashe on wood

Ann Schaumburger

Ann Schaumburger

The three exhibitions currently on view at A.I.R. Gallery in Brooklyn all focus on homes in unique ways. In the first gallery, Ann Schaumburger’s paintings of houses for New Work continue her exploration of color.

From the gallery-

For over fifty years, Schaumburger has used the house as a basic structure—a scaffold—for exploring how colors interact with one another. Schaumburger builds her houses with blocks of four pigments, using stencil brushes and tape to fill each house with modular forms. Influenced by the theories of Josef Albers, Schaumburger’s approach to color is meticulous yet playful. Different colors dazzle and dance when placed in proximity, creating a sense of surprise.

The paintings in this new body of work depart from Schaumburger’s earlier explorations in one key detail: the houses are now mounted on wheels. This choice was inspired by Schaumburger’s reading of the biography of Henry David Thoreau, whose family had attached wheels to their domicile, allowing them to transport the house across different sites in Concord, Massachusetts. “The idea of taking a solid house, attached to the ground, and letting it roll away,” Schaumburger says, “seems both comical and deeply suggestive of our times.”

Schaumburger has described her color choices as an attempt to “solve an aesthetic problem.” Yet the work is not entirely abstract. Titles like Forest House Under Summer Sky and Moonscape Moving House gesture toward the fact that certain color relationships become evocative of different seasons, places, and times of day. All of the paintings in the exhibition feature a crescent or small globe in the upper left or right quadrant. Sometimes, this globe is rendered in metallic gold or bronze, recalling the sun. Other times, it is a lunar silver. The round shape of the globe mirrors the house’s circular wheels. Just as the earth rotates around the sun, the wheels rotate around their own axles, allowing the house to move.

The wheeled house becomes a spirited metaphor for Schaumburger’s practice. Dynamic rather than stationary, it embodies the liveliness and energy of Schaumburger’s color choices, as well as the open-ended nature of her process.

Roberta Dorsett’s photos for Sleepwalking explore isolation and uneasiness in her family’s suburban home.

Roberta Dorsett, “Sleepwalking”

Roberta Dorsett, “Sleepwalking”

Roberta Dorsett, “Sleepwalking”

From the gallery-

Dorsett’s Sleepwalking is a series of photographs examining isolation in the suburbs and how a sense of danger often accompanies seemingly idyllic environments. The work depicts three women, Dorsett’s aunt, her cousin, and Dorsett herself, occupying the shared space of a suburban home in Connecticut. Tension arises from the camera’s interaction with the women. The camera acts as an intrusive person, an interloper, and a voyeur as it captures the women in moments of discomfort and vulnerability.

In Dorsett’s previous work, she took on the role of family historian, photographing moments of in-betweenness that result in candid and uncontrived images. Her obsession with taking photographs of her family is driven by their lack of extant family albums or other visual documentation. Because of the family’s socioeconomic status, photography was considered a luxury and only done for special occasions. Moreover, Dorsett’s mother had to leave behind her family’s photographic history when she immigrated from Jamaica to the United States.

Dorsett initially intended Sleepwalking to be a straightforward documentation of her aunt and cousin’s experience as first-time Black homeowners. But she found herself drawn into the project’s narrative and began photographing her family in a more constructed and story-driven way, drawing inspiration from slasher and horror films. Dorsett captures the visceral thrills of these types of films by continuing to utilize her family to explore the concepts of voyeurism and anxiety. The single-family home, once a symbol of milestone achievement, now becomes a surreal site of both safety and terror. As she stood behind and in front of the camera, registering the uneasiness and distress of these three women inside their home, Dorsett dreamed up a distorted reality and asked herself, “Am I awake or sleepwalking?”

Finally, Denisse Griselda Reyes multimedia installation for Did you have a hard time finding me?  explores home and identity using a combination of original artwork and family archives.

Denisse Griselda Reyes, “Did you have a hard time finding me?

Denisse Griselda Reyes

From the gallery-

Featuring short films and familial ephemera alongside a new body of paintings, this exhibition humorously meditates on questions of self-formation, reparative representation, and archival preservation, inviting us to dwell in the absurdity these ambitions unintentionally generate. This is Reyes’s first solo exhibition in New York City.

Presenting what Reyes has called a “maximalist constellation of memory,” the exhibition juxtaposes materials from their family archives with paintings and multimedia projections within an installation space that recalls, yet does not perfectly reproduce, the domestic interiors of Reyes’s family. Anchoring this exhibition is a short film that ties together two threads. First, the border crossings of Reyes’s grandmother Anita that were necessitated by the peril of the Salvadoran Civil War, and this history’s impact on Reyes’s mother. Second, the queer dating life of Reyes’s indignant and savvy alter-ego, Griselda. Part-narrator, part-drag-persona, part-survival-strategy, Griselda offers Reyes a means to dictate the terms of their own representation against the expectations that constrict queer Latinx artists in the United States. Still, Griselda is also beholden to identitarian demands. Reyes allows their avatar to straddle the line of spectacle, flirting with failure, acknowledging that self-formation might be an impossible endeavor. By juxtaposing Griselda’s exploits with the narrative of their grandmother, Reyes interrogates whether familial, social, and historical processes have the final word on what generates a self.

Reyes has produced Griselda as a mediating figure—one who negotiates their own identity between femininity and non-binary gender, and who personifies the absurdity of any singular narrative of origin. In its plenitude and play, the exhibition exceeds the ostensible facticity of the familial and historical archive. Featuring new paintings that hazily recreate family photographs, a vitrine full of childhood teeth that parodies genres of museal presentation, screens that toggle between home videos and the simulation of archival footage, and striking blue-green walls that recall the past domestic spaces of Reyes’s family in El Salvador, the exhibition transforms processes of preservation into acts of mythmaking. The exhibition is less a recreation of the artist’s family’s domiciles than a space of critical reflection and ambiguity. Guests are invited to join in this meditation—and may find their own notions of selfhood implicated as a result.

These exhibitions close 5/19/24.

Mar 102023
 

Bonam Kim, “Untitled (401 Suydam Street), 2022”, Dollhouse miniatures, taxidermy pigeon, wood, paint and “Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down”, 2018, wood, screw, silicone

Bonam Kim, “Untitled (401 Suydam Street)”, 2022, Dollhouse miniatures, taxidermy pigeon, wood, paint

Bonam Kim, “Untitled (Classroom)”, 2022, Dollhouse miniatures, wood, paint, paper

Bonam Kim, “Untitled (Classroom)”, 2022, Dollhouse miniatures, wood, paint, paper

Bonam Kim, “Untitled (1990-2005)”, 2022, Wall clock, dollhouse miniatures, wood

It’s the last weekend to see Bonam Kim’s GOOD JOB WELL DONE, at A.I.R. Gallery in Brooklyn. The collection of sculptures are each based on events in Kim’s life and are incredible creations.

From the press release-

Kim grew up with her brother’s architectural models and drawings scattered around their house. Captivated by the relationship between model and actual space, she gained an acute sense of her spatial surroundings. This sensibility, combined with her love of making things with her hands, led her to constructing miniatures of her world. These objects invite us to navigate not only the spaces she has occupied physically, but also the psychological space of her experiences and memories. By manipulating scale and taking a bird’s-eye view perspective, Kim reclaims power over the past and present. Works like Between Dream and Dark and Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down playfully explore the frustrations of cross-cultural exchange, while Untitled (April 2, 2020) and Untitled (203 Harrison Pl) evince feelings of isolation and accumulation during the pandemic era.

In Untitled (Classroom), Kim recreates a typical classroom from memory. Within it she presents us with some of the artifacts of the post-war South Korean educational system: politely folded hands are given a “stamp of approval” on the blackboard, commended for their conformity. Kim continues this examination of the way architectural spaces regulate human behavior in Untitled (401 Suydam Street), a model of the artist’s bedroom. She restages an event in which her apartment’s ceiling had become infested by pigeons, eroding her sense of personal space and producing an uneasy awareness of surveillance—of being observed at her most intimate by an other.

Untitled (1990-2005) contends with a traumatizing childhood experience where Kim suffered a severe hand burn which led her to have multiple surgeries over an extended period of time. These memories led her to grow averse to going into spaces that brought forth memories of the hospital’s formal qualities, such as hair salons. With the piece she distills the relation between time, space, and memory, turning a wall clock into an operating room and hair salon. This sense of spatial unease is echoed in the piece Untitled (Mexico City-Seoul), which models the circumstances of renewing her visa in the middle of the 2020 pandemic. Having to ping-pong between Mexico and Seoul without knowing when she would be able to return to the United States made her reflect on the arbitrariness of the system, which is mirrored in the piece by an embassy office held within a lottery box, pointing to a bureaucratic opacity that leaves the user in a sort of Kafkaesque limbo.

This exhibition closes 3/12/23.