Mixed Greens is excited to present the group exhibition Gimme Shelter. While shelter is traditionally defined as a structure that provides protection, these seventeen artists present a more complex, multifaceted understanding of the concept. More specifically, the works in this show investigate the delicate balance of perception: whether a space is inviting or uninhabitable, comforting or crumbling, being constructed or consumed.
Most traditional are the artists who represent a place of sanctuary or refuge. Kevin Cyr’s Camper Kart, for instance, is the fully habitable fusion of a shopping cart and a small camper tent. What is unclear, however, is whether or not the sculpture is meant to be a safe haven for a future worst-case scenario, or if it represents an immediate survival strategy. Less obvious, but equally direct, are Lisa Ross’ photographs of spiritual structures in Northwest China and Jonathan Durham’s video, a step-by-step lesson in filming a worship service at a mega-church in Texas.
In juxtaposition, Fawn Krieger and Zachary Buchner create abstract sculptures—Krieger’s on the floor and Buchner’s on a pedestal—that appear to take building remnants and either preserve them or recontextualize them as more idealized architectural structures in the process of expanding. The abstracted spaces defined by Angelina Gualdoni’s paintings, Ryan Sarah Murphy’s collages, Caitlin Masley’s housing project drawings and Dimitri Kozyrev’s paintings of military bunkers are equally blurry: The landscapes are seemingly growing while simultaneously disintegrating. Each piece is full and empty, vast and microcosmic.
Many other artists represent structures as having fallen out of use or ceasing to exist. Jaclyn Mednicov’s deserted landscapes, Nicholas Johnston’s ice caves, and Eric Heist’s renderings of post-Katrina New Orleans capture sites that “once were.” And Suzanne Song’s illusory wall painting implies the shadow of remnants, or the outline of a structure no longer there. Quite literally, Kate Gilmore’s video, “Down the House,” records the artist smashing a pile of construction debris into even greater obliteration.
Alternatively, the characters in Matthew de Leon’s video Can’t and Jonathan Ehrenberg’s video Moth are unable to escape their dreamlike otherworlds, leaving the inhabitants unable to connect to reality. In this scenario, their surroundings act ultimately as prisons, reminding us, as Nicolas Rule’s drawing suggests, that a shelter may be uninviting or even unwanted.