Coincidental Opposites, the summer group show at Causey Contemporary, takes the condition of dualities as its curatorial platform. But don’t think the exhibition’s strength emanates from the old yin-yang philosophy. Rather like a fine meal, it’s the pairing of eclectic yet complimentary elements that gives cohesion and vitality to the show as a whole.
There are eight artists in the exhibition and each has contributed fully matured work. Perhaps the most spectacular is Jordan Eagles’s “TSCW1,” a luminous layering of animal blood splattered and suspended in resin. The work is charged with energy, both from the raw material itself—blood, a.k.a. vital fluid— and Eagles’s splashy application. But the blood doesn’t flow; it’s still, frozen like a bug in amber. The work seems to say, amongst other things, that it’s possible for a body to die while its essence—like the D.N.A. responsible for Jurassic Park—remains powerfully active.
Cui Fei’s work, “Not Yet Titled,” is also comprised of recycled ingredients from nature: thorns and twine. Fei ties the thorns together into tally marks that she pins on the wall—around 150 in all. Simultaneously delicate and menacing, Fei’s installation alludes to humanity’s efforts to organize the chaos of nature. She’s recreated an easily identifiable numerical system, but what she’s counting remains a mystery.
Shen Chen and Norman Mooney should have a show dedicated just to the two of them. Both are process-oriented painters working in the tradition of atmospheric abstraction. Mooney works black charcoal into a white space achieving extreme spatial flux while Chen seamlessly blends red into blue maintaining flatness throughout. Even their titles seem drawn from the same tree: Chen’s “No. 30133-09,” and Mooney’s “Series 2, no.7,” and in the context of the show they connect into the numerology inherent in Fei’s installation.
There’s also a lone sculptor whose transformed found metal tubes into a half-built silo and a trio of realists. The most intriguing work of the realists is Young Kim’s portrait, “Katherine,” composed in earth and salt on the gallery floor. When I visited there was a human footprint in one corner and the paw marks of a little dog running down the opposite edge. Those accidental touches completed the work for me, driving home the point that coincidence grows in significance with the degrees of difference between the forces coming together.
(Images: Jordan Eagles, Tscw 1, Blood, copper preserved on Plexiglas, UV resin, 60x60x3 inches; Young Kim, Salt and Earth, 2010, variable. Courtesy of the artists and Causey Contemporary, NY)