This is the Sound of Someone Losing the Plot
San Francisco, CA: Catharine Clark Gallery (CCG) announces the inaugural exhibition at its new Potrero Hill location, 248 Utah Street. The neighborhood, once heavily industrial, now boasts the presence of many cultural venues, including California College of the Arts (CCA), the recently re-located Wattis Center for Contemporary Arts, the Center for the Book, Southern Exposure, The Design Workshop Residency, The Museum of Craft and Design, and many other newly re-located galleries, including Jessica Silverman’s new collaborative venture with Yves Béhar. Responding to the gallery’s new location and community, Catharine Clark invited long time gallery artist and CCA faculty member Anthony Discenza to curate an exhibition of artists associated with the school’s Fine Arts program. The resulting exhibition This is the Sound of Someone Losing the Plot features the work of nine CCA alumni and faculty: Gareth Spor and Piero Passacantando; Bruno Fazzolari; Josh Greene; Stephanie Syjuco; Patricia Esquivias; Arash Fayez; Lauren Marsden; and Kate Bonner. The exhibition will run from September 7 through October 26, 2013. The reception will be held on Saturday, September 7, from 4 to 7pm. There will be a walk-through of the exhibition at 3 pm, guided by Anthony Discenza and several of the artists.
This is the Sound of Someone Losing the Plot recognizes CCA’s incredibly rich contributions, not merely to the cultural environs of the Potrero Flats neighborhood, but to wider Bay Area arts community. In his first curatorial foray, Discenza focuses on artists whose practices play with (mis)translations between different systems of working or understanding. He notes: “When Catharine asked me if I would be willing to put together an exhibition of artists drawn from the CCA community, the fault line running through my own relationship with the program—the discontinuities between my experiences as a student and as an instructor—was initially something of a stumbling block, but eventually became my departure point for the exhibition. I found I was most drawn to artists who engage the zones of slippage that arise in the narratives we use to navigate daily existence. I’m interested in the various ways these works play with non-agreements of subject and object, incomplete utterances and thwarted expectations. With this exhibition, I’ve also attempted to articulate something of the complex interrelationship between material practice and more conceptually diffuse methods of working that for me is such a distinguishing feature of the CCA community.”
Artists Piero Passacantando and Gareth Spor present a collaborative multi-media effort based on their respective interests in social practice and the geometries of space and time. Passacantando created Mean Infinity-Blue (2010) while studying Thangka painting in Kathmandu, Nepal. This influence is evident in the color, geometry and mathematical systems behind the associated series My Geometric Commons of Imagination. Interested in how new technologies let artists work as modern day alchemists, Spor created custom software to translate Passacantando’s work into Lost Horizon, 2011, a looped film of ghostly interpretations of Passacantando’s geometries. In his two-channel video work,Arash Fayez examines cultural and linguistic boundaries, staging a discussion with an Israeli friend about the conflict between their two countries. Addressing each other in their native tongues, Farsi and Hebrew, neither speaker fully understands the other; each speaker (along with the viewer) attempting to move through the conversation by relying on body language, tone, and occasionally recognizable keywords from either language. Manifesting a concern with linguistic disjunctures in a very different manner, Kate Bonner formalizes and abstracts familiar objects, proposing simple but elusive fictions that expose how systems of language conceal and withhold. Made with digital tools, jigsaw cuts and MDF board, her work emphasizes perceptual failure and real limits, walls and windows that may allow entry, or limit access.
Working across two seemingly disparate media, Bruno Fazzolari explores the role of abstraction in everyday life, celebrating the interconnected and often contradictory nature of space, presence, pleasure and perception. His practice is unique in that it incorporates both paintings and perfumes of his own creation in an attempt to relay the “olfactory shapes” of different scents with marks on canvas. In The Last First, Josh Greene commissioned the Chinese artist Yangzi to reproduce a selection of his works from the past ten years. The piece relates to Greene’s project Least Favorite in which he asked his family members to discuss their least favorite of his projects. Using this premise, Yangzi asked her family to consider those projects she had been hired to produce. In Mother(2011), an image of Yangzi’s mother is positioned above the text: “I do not have the ability to understand all the projects. I would like to spend more time thinking about god,” a view that could belong to any layperson flummoxed by the dense, often exclusionary visual and theoretical language of contemporary art.
In her new piece The Precariat (Material Witnesses) (2013), Stephanie Syjucoexamines the ways in which artists navigate the production of their work. The ongoing, site-specific project comprises an ad-hoc assembly of objects resembling protest signs, created with cast-off and abandoned materials (some from the gallery’s recent construction) from different periods that become literally conflated. Bearing incidental, precarious messages, these works hold up the hidden and unwanted for scrutiny. Vancouver-based Lauren Marsden often works collaboratively and with the intent of subverting narrative. Partnering with local court illustrator Felicity Don, Marsden orchestrated a criminal trial in which a group of women inhabited the roles of Judge, Prosecutor, Defense Lawyer and the Accused. Don recorded their performance of texts relating to the sentencing of the Accused, and Marsden replaced the courtroom setting with fantastical, idealized locales in The Sentences, 2013, undermining the event’s authenticity. Through time-based works of images from diverse sources, Patricia Esquiviascreates fragmented, unreliable narratives that present interpretations of both everyday and historical events. Employing low-fi technology and a decidedly DIY aesthetic, the artist films herself selecting and displaying various ephemera, visual counterpoints to her stream-of-consciousness monologues.
Anthony Discenza received his MFA from the California College of the Arts and his BA from Wesleyan University. Focusing his practice on the experiential overload created by the overwhelming amounts of information we consume, his work employs appropriative and mimetic strategies in order to interrupt, intensify, and displace the flow of this information, employing a range of media including, but not limited to, video projection, text, street signage, and audio. In addition to his solo work, Discenza works as part of the collaborative entity HalfLifers, along with longtime friend and fellow artist Torsten Z. Burns. HalfLifers fuses slapstick humor with a low-fi, improvisational approach to engage narratives of control and crisis embedded in technological culture. Discenza’s solo and collaborative works have been presented both nationally and internationally, including most recently at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Gallery 400 in Chicago, The Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, Ballroom Marfa, and Objectif Exhibitions in Antwerp, as well as the Getty Center, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the University of California Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive. His work has garnered critical acclaim in Artforum, Artweek, andArtReview, among other publications. He lives and works in Oakland, California and first exhibited at Catharine Clark Gallery in 2004.