May Contain Explicit Imagery
CB1 Gallery presents May Contain Explicit Imagery, an exhibition exploring libidinal subjectivity, the way we project our own sexually-charged impulses onto non-figural abstraction. This exhibition unites three very different artists: Nancy Baker Cahill, Kiki Seror, and John Weston, whose disparate practices and methodologies, all create content activated through corporeal allusion. In front of each of these artists’ works the act of looking becomes self-reflectively conspicuous, as one is made aware of an unavoidable impetus to see things that are simply not there. Like Rorschach tests (but much more engaging), each of these artists’ works allows viewers the opportunity to investigate the impulses behind images that resist and also demand meaning. As the title of this exhibition implies, the images contained in the works on display, congealed in the viewer’s consciousness range from erotic to disturbing, but in the end purposefully resist “literal” interpretation.
May Contain Explicit Imagery opens on July 27, 2014 and will be on view through September 7, with a reception for the artist on Sunday, July 27, 5 - 7 p.m. A roundtable with the artists will occur on Sunday, August 24, from 5-7 p.m.
Nancy Baker Cahill’s massive graphite drawings fascinate and overwhelm viewers with evocative references to human skin, muscles, organs, and strange, unexplainable growths. The impressive body of work in this exhibition began from a series of daily sketches the artist began in 2013. Completed as a daily meditation, these small drawings are filled with forms resembling hair, mounds of flesh, and folds of human effluvia. After compiling a month’s worth of these images, Cahill noticed pains in her stomach. Scans revealed a football-sized benign tumor growing inside her stomach. After surgery and months of recovery, she embarked on Virgil, the series of intuitive and sensual large-scale drawings in this exhibition. The visceral reactions one has to Cahill’s work emphasize the powerful self-alienation we all have with our own bodies and our inability to fully comprehend the mysterious, hidden inner-mechanics and landscape of our physical existence.
Kiki Seror’s newest series of photographs, Let us leave pretty women to men with no imagination; Remembrance of Things Past, continues the artist’s ongoing inquiry into how content, pleasure, and identity are constructed through pornographic media. For this exhibition Seror made hundreds of carefully calculated time-lapse photos of famous porno movies from the late 1970s and early 1980s, arranging them sequentially to form a spectral archive of each film. Capturing such greats as Taxi Girl and Debbie Does Dallas, Seror highlights pornography when the medium was in a transition from film to VHS, before the Internet and the death of the porno theater diminished porn’s communal, social, and cinematic potential. Seror’s gridded, mathematical, almost pedagogical display system allows viewers to consider the role context, framing, and scopophilia play in the production of subjective sexual interpretation.
Standing in front of John Weston’s work guarantees an ecstatic and often hallucinatory experience. The artist has for many years been fascinated with the historical and physiological use of patterns and tessellations as a way to create meaning and activate space. Weston’s paintings lure viewers in with dazzling colors and extremely meticulous applications of paint. This ordered environment contrasts with the artist’s centralized forms, which often allude to, yet never fully render, human (and perhaps alien) states of uncontrolled disembodiment. Weston embraces the power of suggestive imagery, using negative space, and contrasting surface texture to suggest normally hidden human body parts, pulsating orifices, orgasms, ejaculations, and erogenous insides exploding with electric energy. The works in this exhibition from Weston’s Fair Is Foul and Foul Is Fair series use the power of suggestion as a means to investigate the carnal thoughts that always lurk behind the banal. His chromatically high-key, high-contrast applications of paint result in funny and evocative compositions that, through careful titles, interrogate the sexualized implications of everyday phrases like Lip Service and Finger On The Pulse. Weston’s work purposefully activates a highly visual experience in the viewer, producing a particular representation of jouissance that radiates from the cornea throughout the entire body. This experience may make you blush, but it’s a pleasurable charge that’s hard to shake.