NURTUREart is pleased to present Object Intimacies, a group exhibition curated by Jane Cavalier and Nicole Kaack and featuring artworks by Wesley Chavis, Mira Dayal, Andrew Gayle, David Horvitz, Simon Kearney, Junyu Li, and Alayna Rasile-Digrindakis.
Layered as though holding one another, the outlines of two sets of hands reach across the inscribed surface of a paper sheet: I touch you love you desire you. Mailed to Carl Andre in May 1970, Hanne Darboven’s words cast her body’s longing across the distance between them, hands touching through the medium of the page. Intimacy speaks in a sliding scale of somatic proximities: eyes pausing together across a room, the redolent warmth of embrace. Sewing the seams of two exhibitions, “Object Intimacies” considers the companionship that may exist between bodies and things, in or out of touch. This show addresses intimacy through two chapters: the converging tracks of proximity and distance. Comprised primarily of sculptures meant to be touched, the first chapter presents artwork that insists upon an embodied knowledge of the object. This section aims to create a space in which artworks and those who behold them may become vulnerable to each other through the mutually felt experience of tactility. The second chapter steps away from physical contact to present works in which haptic gestures become a means of transmitting touch across space, asking how may the language of intimacy be translated, communicated through proxy or image?
Ch1. Imprints of the artist’s hand in the palm-sized sculptures of Andrew Gayle’s An Invitationdraw visitors closer to the artist’s process of making. Intended to be held and passed between people, these objects are installed on the ground as a bid to onlookers to take the time to sit, try them on, and exchange them with others. In this vein, Simone Kearney catalogues the gesture of touch in the multitudes of finger-sized clay pieces that she flattens, presses, and assembles to form an archive of physical memory. Addressing the paradoxical nature of touch as both an experience of closeness and an assertion of distance, she creates a veil that gives form to what Kearney calls “that tiny interval between myself and myself, between myself and another.” Alayna Rasile-Digrindakis creates a series of mental maps turned objects of nostalgia in this lake’s for holding close. As fabric sculptures that chart her friends’ recollections of a beloved path around a lake in British Columbia, they are meant to be embraced in the act of longing for a distant time and place shared with loved ones. Junyu Li’s installation, meanwhile, uses materials ranging from yarn, stocking, and aluminum to elicit feelings of revulsion, desire, and curiosity in relation to the body. She deconstructs the human anatomy to create a space in which divisions between inside and outside, self and other, order and disorder are rendered absurd.
Ch2. Capturing the concurrent rise and fall of the sun in the Maldives and off the California coast, video-recordings by David Horvitz and his mother frame synchronicity as being together in distance. Although reunited, screened side-by-side on smartphones, Horvitz’s video continues to hold distance in parts that are intended to correspond from afar. Wesley Chavis’s sculpture employs a shared belonging —the corporeal presence of a cascading sheet— to evoke collective and individual bodily memories. Positioned in relation to a photographic portrait of the young artist held in his sleeping father’s arms, Chavis’s cloth installation evokes both the enveloping embrace of a blanket and the rupture of a shroud. By contrast, Mira Dayal addresses the body’s trace beyond its physical presence in a surreal synthesis of architecture and flesh. Like a mass of fibrous hair, a rectangular swathe of fiberglass insulation is adhered to the wall—almost as though the building has turned its interior outward—seeming to invite touch even while physically repulsing it. This matted surface is paired with a sound installation that reflects on the ways in which distinct identities may be experienced intimately, yet across the barrier of language.
In an installation designed in collaboration with Serra Victoria Bothwell Fels, a swathe of soft pink carpet delineates the distinct chapters of this exhibition. A cushioned floor suggestive of a domestic space invites viewers to make themselves comfortable as they become aware of the tactility of the works in the space. On either side of this cushy divide, artworks address correspondence in constraint, holding viewers at a distance even while gesturing towards the thwarted desire to touch. In the carpeted area, you are welcome to touch the art, while the works in the uncarpeted areas ask you to keep your distance.
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