005 / DON'T TURN AROUND
DON'T LOOK DOWN
May 18 - June 30, 2018
LETITIA QUESENBERRY | ROSALIE ROSENTHA | CHRIS RADTKE JACOB HEUSTIS | DOMINIC GUARNASCHELLI | DENISE FURNISH | JOHN BROOKS
This diverse group of artists share common space, energy, and a roof, but each works in his or her own individual manner and with sundry materials. Our exhibition seeks to explore the ways in which, if any, our proximity affects the course of our respective practices. Just as personal relationships grow, change, and develop, visual relationships can function in much the same way. Themes of time, history, uncertainty and unknowing, and the mysteries of the body are recurrent, as well as the presence of simultaneous restraint and exuberance of color.
The exhibition’s title is a mantra to remember that being an artist is real work and that making art requires a great deal of effort and a continuous commitment and recommitment to self-belief. As we are holed away in the cocoons of our studios, making work that we often wonder if anyone will even see, it is good to remember what Vincent van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo in 1883: One must go on working silently, trusting the result to the future.
- JOHN BROOKS
004 / Michael James Moran March 9 - April 14
Weaving, inverting, book-matching, layering and framing become an act of contemplation in Michael Moran's Binding What's Lost. Moran's distinct bodies of sculpture are tied together through the essential act of questioning our -human- relationships with the natural world: the damage we've done, the history we forget, the beauty we overlook. Through the manipulation and framing of wood, he addresses these losses, and in binding them together readjusts our eyes to perceive the multi-faceted nature of this material: the trees which grow, which once grew.
Binding What's Lost gathers individual compositions in conversation, each recontextualizing a material, a thought, with a single overarching concern.
Tensions between texture and shape and hue are framed; curious moments of arboreal happenstance are set apart. He blends textile and tree in woven panels of wood, each from a dead or dying species, where silk threads follow the specific warp and weft pattern of the burial shroud of Turin. In five frames, the gesture of bookmatching- of mirroring and joining two planes together- generates unique apparitions, figures, from a tree's own history of growth. And in new carvings of his most widely exhibited series, Moran makes a conceptual examination of our cultural history with hand tools and the materials that make them functional forms.
Moran, originally a Kentucky native, has recently found himself firmly planted in the woods of the Hudson Valley of NY after a long stint in Charleston, SC. This life change has given rise to more time and intimate connection with these woods and his work, both furniture and sculpture, and the history and materials that comprise it. This show is the first comprehensive sculpture show since that move.
Moran's sculpture has been a natural outgrowth of Moran Woodworked Furniture, the custom furniture workshop he and his partner, Celia Gibson, have been running since 2004. Moran and Gibson's furniture seeks to remind us where our wood comes from while crafting modern designs using traditional joinery. Their work can be found across North America and Europe, has been featured in Architectural Digest, Dwell, Monocle and Wallpaper and has won the coveted Made in the South award from Garden and Gun Magazine.
His sculpture can likewise be found in public and private collections across the US and Europe, including permanent installations in the Halsey Institute in Charleston, SC and the private collection of the Salvador Dali Museum in Berlin, Germany.
"There are only two lines… The curved line that belongs let's say to God and the straight line that belongs to man." - Pierre Albert-Birot
003 / Whit Forrester / Photosynthetic Transfigurations: A Work in Progress January 26 - February 26
In his 1922 work Siddartha, the German-born Nobel Prize-winning novelist, poet and painter Hermann Hesse wrote “Blue was blue, river was river, and if also in the blue and the river, in Siddhartha, the singular and divine lived hidden, so it was still that very divinity's way and purpose, to be here yellow, here blue, there sky, there forest, and here Siddhartha. The purpose and the essential properties were not somewhere behind the things, they were in them, in everything.” While the novel’s central theme is one of self-discovery, the book also delves into age-old questions about the interconnected relationship between human beings and the rest of the natural world, and how both human beings and the entirety of the natural world relate to the divine.
Whereas Hesse utilized the structure of a protagonist’s journey within the form of a traditional novel, in Photosynthetic Transfigurations: A Work in Progress, artist Whit Forrester uses plants as access points to highlight and explore this ongoing relationship and dialogue between us and the metaphysical. Forrester contends that we live in an age and a realm in which we access everything, including the divine and the metaphysical, through metaphorical templates, with a metaphor often serving as both a starting point and a set of operating instructions to explore or address a conundrum. We use symbols to program ourselves and our culture; in these works, Forrester employs plants to symbolize and mirror human beings and the human condition to elucidate the fact that we are not separate from nature but are undoubtedly part and parcel of its continuum. The mysterious and unknowable divine spark in plants is the same mysterious and unknowable divine spark that exists in us. Forrester compels us to consider the fact that we, like the entirety of the plant world as well as every innumerable star, are, as Joni Mitchell sang in Woodstock, “billion year old carbon.”
Forrester’s photographs are unique art objects; gold leaf is applied by hand to each individual work. Gold stands in for the divine because it is ineffable; in a way it is a form of light. Forrester’s gold circles and semicircles are reminiscent of the halos of numerous saints in medieval and Renaissance artworks, but they riff on those traditional representations of überholiness and instead depict the universality of the divine from a perspective of new materialism, queerness, and quantum feminism. In his practice, Forrester often explores ideas related to colonization and colonialism; in these photographs, gold represents both the literal colonial quest for gold but also the metaphorical desire to represent and connect with the divine and the supernatural. The Conquistadors and the colonizers wanted to become divine, to become light - if only they had known that we are in fact light already, though in a slightly different form.
Photosynthetic Transfigurations: A Work in Progress opens concurrently with New Monuments for a Better Tomorrow, Part I, a group exhibition curated by Jesse Firestone at The NARS Foundation in Brooklyn, New York, in which Forrester will be exhibiting a sister piece to the work shown at Quappi Projects.
Whit Forrester lives in Chicago, grew up in Louisville, KY and received a Bachelors from Oberlin College followed by a Masters in Fine Art from Columbia College. He has exhibited widely, in both national and international contexts, and has a range of aesthetic interests that include: practices of accumulation, manifestations of power, human discourses around the transcendent and the material relationship between self and world. Forrester’s attention to the natural world and its agential capacity for queer subjects unites these diverse investments and provides the means with which he interrogates the implications of queering as a spiritual practice which is ultimately connected to ideas of decolonization.
002 / Vian Sora / N O W H E R E November 10 - January 5
Now living in Louisville, Kentucky, Sora was born and raised in Baghdad, Iraq. The entirety of her youth was spent under the inescapable shadow of Saddam Hussein and the Ba’ath Party; the personal stories and journeys of her family and friends are inseparable from what Sora describes as the “mandates and masochism” of one of the 20th century’s most cruel and craven dictators. With a keen artist’s eye, Sora’s work reflects vital aspects of the human experience of some of the most serious geopolitical realities of the last four decades while also illuminating the directions in which our culture seems to be headed. “I have always gone against the tide,” she says. “It has brought me troubles but also blessings. I’m done with being treated as an exotic bird, an exception to all these savages. Everything I do is to help people communicate and think differently.”
Sora’s newest work blurs the line between figuration and abstraction, and our exhibition’s title does the same: the separation between each letter is deliberate, rendering the title almost unreadable. Is it to be pronounced “NOWHERE,” “N O W H E R E,” “NOW HERE,” or “NO W HERE” ? All reference the respective strangeness of “home” locations as disparate as Baghdad and Louisville; “W” references both the middle initial of the U.S. President whose military invasion toppled Hussein, for better and worse changing the course of her native country and her own life, as well as standing in as shorthand for war, something Sora and her fellow Iraqis know all too well, and something most of us here in middle America struggle to imagine.
Born in 1976, Sora has lived in Louisville since September 2009. Her work has been exhibited in Iraq, Turkey, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, as well as Boston, Washington D.C., and Louisville. In late summer 2017, Sora was awarded a grant from Great Meadows Foundation to attend Documenta 14 in Kassel, Germany and the Venice Biennale.
001 / Adam Chuck / Instant Gratification August 18 - September 29
Adam Chuck is a Cleveland, Ohio native, now living and making work in Brooklyn, New York. He works primarily in oil paint on mylar.
Chuck graduated from The Cleveland Institute of Art in spring of 2012 with a BFA in drawing. He has since exhibited work solo at the Institute and through Maria Neil Art Project in Cleveland's Waterloo neighborhood. He has been in several group exhibitions in Cleveland and abroad including Bazaarbeque at Forum Artspace in Cleveland, The Cozy Up Collective group show in Waterloo, Hold the Wall at the Galleries at Cleveland State University, Luke Austin's Double Vision at The High Line Loft in Manhattan, Patriartsy with Con Artist Collective in the Lower East Side, New York, and Please Disturb with Less Is More Projects, Paris, France. Adam's work has been seen at art fairs such as Superfine! in Chelsea, New York and at YIA Art Fair #09 in Brussels, Belgium (under representation of Less is More Projects). Adam has shown internationally at Less Is More Projects, a contemporary gallery space in the heart of Paris, France. His work was exhibited in the grand opening of Pequeños Bribones, a contemporary art gallery in la Colonia San Rafael region of Mexico City. His work is in private collections in cities around the world including Cleveland, Savannah, Nashville, Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles, Toronto, Montreal, London, Paris, Madrid, Cape Town, and Nairobi.