Thierry Goldberg is pleased to present Remnant, Artifact, Flow, a group exhibition of works by Justin Chance, Tony Chrenka, Doris Guo, Jeffrey Joyal, Molly Rose Lieberman, Caitlin MacBride, and Bri Williams. The exhibition runs from January 8th through February 7th, 2021.
The exhibition’s title refers to the hidden relics and potent icons that glide through our personal and collective memories as they slowly accumulate.
Doris Guo’s Bronze Guestbook II (2019) is not the usual gallery guestbook. It is a piece of cast bronze that can be ‘signed’ by visitors simply by their touch. Originally exhibited in January 2020, the stone records all of its encounters from each of its public appearances. It consequently wears down with each touch, serving as an invisible archive of all who have entered the exhibition, or at least those who have decided to be remembered. It is one’s own prerogative whether or not to leave their mark (just please use hand sanitizer before and after!). Bronze Guestbook II is a reminder of the rituals that have been lost in the past year; now 2020’s fingerprints are just a trace, a remnant on a guestbook.
Guo’s elusive sculpture punctuates the gallery exhibition as a signal of remembrance. Remnant, Artifact, Flow is a show on reflecting, achieved by artists who collect and archive memories and objects. Many of the artworks in the show physically preserve or transform quotidian and culturally significant objects, turning them into artifacts of contemporary history. Other works look to the notion of ‘the archive’ to dissect its hegemonic power and de facto role as a holder of history. Across the works in the exhibition, seven artists portray personal and historic narratives that speak to the slowness of time sometimes necessary for reflection.
Reflection is felt most bodily in Bri Williams’ amber soap sculptures embedded with delicately and forcefully poetic objects. In Torso (2018), a silver necklace dangles like a belly-button ring from a torso-sized chunk of soap. The soap and resin create a tender object like a newborn. Forward Hand Crack (2019), too, evokes a bodily sensation because of its mass of soap cracking like layers of skin and, especially, the leather whip fossilized inside. The whip is contained, yet it generates an imagined visceral response.
The passage of time physically grows in three potted bonsai trees (two olive and one rosemary) cultivated by Justin Chance titled Treaty, Armistice, and Anzac Day (all 2020-2021). These petite trees are groomed to fit indoors; tortured and bound like ballerina feet to present a beautiful, yet unnatural mystique. Chance’s hand- made ceramic planters enforce the bonsais’ domesticity and small stature, contrary to their natural (relative) size. The slightest presence of life is also felt in Chance’s repurposed box fans, Small War (2020) and Garden (2020-2021), which are hand woven with yarn in multi-colored patterns. The fans’ rotors can twirl, but the yarn blocks the passage of air, rendering the machines defunct. Though the fans do not properly work, their blades do – creating life without a purpose, a perpetual ticking of time and continuation of electronic life. Chance’s fans and trees both live in unnatural ways at the hand of the human who turns them on or feeds them water at will.
A glimpse of life and character is also seen in Tony Chrenka’s works. Gutted (2020) is a photograph from the artist’s series of men’s suit jackets. On a visit to a flagship department store, Chrenka gathered suit jackets into the dressing room and photographed each one inside out. They are handsomely empty portraits of imagined personas – Don Drapers dressed seamlessly to ‘let go’ after work and get a martini at The Carlyle. The interior life of the jacket wearer, or perhaps the artist himself, is felt in Untitled (2020), an intimate and intricate pencil drawing. Though extremely controlled and intentional, Chrenka’s drawing appears as a work of automatism. The delicate lines are almost like brain veins, a web of thoughts weaving unconscious desires throughout time. His sleek sculpture Paw (2017-2021) is a new configuration of the artist’s sculptural lamp exhibited in his 2017 solo-show at Interim, San Francisco. This transfigured object is no longer recognizable and its objecthood converted into subjecthood.
The unresolved tensions of cultural angst are captured in Jeffrey Joyal’s four varsity letters spaced throughout the gallery, spelling out RAID – a reference to 1960s policing of supposedly socially unacceptable behavior. Untitled (RAID) is part of a series of works by Joyal composed of collegiate patches sourced from the Internet and combined to form cryptic words. The letters are emblems of American high schools and mementos of jocks at football games. They are a badge of honor to some and a symbol of inequality to many. Accompanying his letter game is Joyal’s hand-carved print of Lee Harvey Oswald as a United States Marine surrounded by evangelical Chick tracts and studded with cow tags. In the print, a seventeen-year-old Oswald sports a toothy grin as he dons a Camouflage helmet: a symbol of the pride and death 1960s America owes him.
Like Joyal, Caitlin MacBride’s works are studies in material culture. Out of a research-based practice, MacBride paints domestic objects housed in archives of decorative arts. Her works look to the role of museums in preserving and classifying daily objects as deserving meaning. MacBride’s paintings depict the objects in empty backgrounds, mimicking the loneliness of museum storage. The works are historical passages into signifiers of other people’s worlds. The bed from Tied to the Mast (2020-2021), the drying rack from The Right to Curiosity (2020-2021), and the lace curtain from Not One of Those Lace Curtain Bitches (2020-2021) are all facsimiles wrought with the dedicated precision of the physical devotion that went into their production.
Fictional character or: bright red string, moving about (2021) by Molly Rose Lieberman is an almost unending assemblage of signs and symbols. For this work, Lieberman altered a frame that previously held a work in the Museum of Modern Art’s collection by filling it with aluminum. The frame still has pen marks from its previous life in the museum, but now, resting on a Prada Sport shoe sole and a Cobbler’s wood model, the frame has lost its archival aura. Next to it, a red light casts a glow like a traffic light bleeding onto a metal street sign. This work recreates outdoor haphazard light pollution, while it simultaneously rethinks the hierarchical structures embedded in the museum. Continuing her archival research and inspired by Seth Siegelaub's textile collection, Lieberman created a series of drawings of found textiles, such as the exhibited I would, but my head feels funny (2020) and Coverlet, slice (2020). By drawing the textile patterns on paper, Lieberman strips the original texture of the fabric away, and simply leaves the design, which, without the texture, becomes ghostly.
These ghostly feelings and mementos are all that remain. Grasped onto as signifiers to jog our memories as placeholders of our histories. How must we move on?
Justin Chance (b. 1993, New York, NY) lives and works in New York, NY. He holds a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He had a solo exhibition at Smart Objects, Los Angeles, CA. His work has also been included in group exhibitions at Fonda, Leipzig, Germany; Housing, Miami, FL; Underground Flower at James River Park, Richmond, VA; Three Four Three Four, Brooklyn, NY; Gern en Regalia, New York, NY; Shoot the Lobster, New York, NY; Lock Up International, London, United Kingdom; Baba Yaga Gallery, at Grand Buffet & Pulvers Glass, Hudson, NY; Institute of Contemporary Art Baltimore, Baltimore, MD; Smart Objects, Los Angeles, CA; and May 2000, Chicago, IL.
Tony Chrenka (b. 1992, Minneapolis, MN) lives and works in NY. He has had solo and two-person exhibitions at La Kaje, Brooklyn, NY; Interim, San Francisco, CA; Littman Gallery, Portland, OR; S1, Portland, OR; and Amur Initiatives, Portland, OR. Hello Dust, Bergen, Norway; Ben’s Books, Brooklyn, NY; Apples, Brooklyn, NY; Reed College, Portland, OR; Three Four Three Four, New York, NY; and WAKE, New Haven, CT.
Doris Guo (b. 1992, San Francisco, CA) lives and works in Ridgewood, NY. She holds a BFA from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. She has had solo exhibitions at Éclair, Berlin, Germany; Bodega, New York, NY; Princess, New York, NY; and Real Fine Arts, Brooklyn NY. Guo’s work has also been included in group exhibitions at Plymouth Rock, Zürich, Switzerland; Fisher Parrish Gallery, New York, NY (curated by Y2K group); Galerie Maria Bernheim, Zürich, Switzerland; u’s, Calgary, Canada; 47 Canal, New York, NY; Crèvecoeur, Paris, France; Manila Institute, New York, NY; CACBM, Paris, France; LUMP Projects, Raleigh, NC; Practice, Yonkers, NY; EVAC, London, Canada; Museum Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; MCBerny, Berlin, Germany; And Now, Dallas, TX; Hotel Art Pavillion, Brooklyn, NY; Liebhartgasse 48/19, Vienna, Austria; Interstate Projects, Brooklyn, NY; Ellis King, Dublin, Ireland; Theta, New York, NY; Kilroy Metal Ceiling, Brooklyn, NY; Three Four Three Four Gallery, New York, NY; Kunsthalle Galapagoes, Brooklyn, NY; East Hall Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; TGIF Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; Generaal Vetterstraat 66, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Jeffrey Joyal (b. 1988, Boston, MA) lives and works in New York, NY. He has had solo and two-person exhibitions at David Lewis, New York, NY and Bed Stuy Love Affair, Brooklyn, NY. Joyal’s work has also been included in exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; David Lewis, New York, NY; Lomex, New York, NY; Simon Lee Gallery, New York, NY; Emalin, London, United Kingdom; Ludlow 38, New York, NY; Cave Detroit, Detroit, MI; James Fuentes, New York, NY; Pèrez Art Museum, Miami, FL; Bedstuy Love Affair, Brooklyn, NY; Salon Ford, New York, NY; STL, New York, NY; and Jason Alexander, New York, NY. Joyal’s work is in the permanent collection of Stedelijik Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Molly Rose Lieberman (b. 1994, Brooklyn, NY) lives and works in New York, NY. She has had solo and two-person exhibitions at Gymnasium, Brooklyn, NY; Auto Body Bellport at Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, NY; and Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio. Her work has been included in group exhibitions at carriage trade, New York, NY; Fonda, Leipzig, Germany; ZH Projects, Brooklyn, NY; 6BC Community Garden, New York, NY; and Auto Body Bellport at HOG Farm, Brookhaven, NY.
Caitlin MacBride (b. 1983, Norwich, CT) lives and works in Hudson, NY. She holds a MFA from Milton Avery School of the Arts, Bard College, Annandale-On-Hudson, NY. She has had solo and two-person exhibitions at Fisher Parrish Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; Jack Barrett Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; One River, Hartsdale, NY; Soloway, Brooklyn, NY; GRIN, Providence, RI; Chapter NY, New York, NY; and Real Fine Arts, Brooklyn, NY. Her work has also been included in group exhibitions at Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.), Berlin, Germany; Fisher Parrish Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; UT Downtown Gallery, Knoxville, TN; Drawer, New York, NY; Hesse Flatow, New York, NY; Baba Yaga Gallery, Hudson, NY; Honey Ramka Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; 47 Drury Gallery: Marlboro College, Marlboro, VT; Gloria’s, Brooklyn, NY; Mason Gross Gallery, New Brunswick, NJ; Camayuhs, Atlanta, GA; Pilot Projects, Philadelphia, PA; Life Lessons Garage, Far Rockaway, NY; Mother Gallery, Beacon, NY; Alyssa Davis Gallery, New York, NY; The Abode, New Lebanon, NY; Agency, Brooklyn, NY; Soloway, Brooklyn, NY; Marsélleria, New York, NY; Teaching Gallery, Missouri State University, Springfield, MO; 315 Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; LeRoy Neiman Gallery, New York, NY; 247365, New York, NY; Greene And Nostrand, Brooklyn, NY; GoodWeather Gallery/Fringe Projects, Miami, FL; Greene Naftali, New York, NY; Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; Zack Feuer Gallery, New York, NY; Michele Didier Gallery, Paris, France; The Emily Harvey Foundation, New York, NY; Hohensalzburg Castle, Salzburg, Austria; Real Fine Arts, Brooklyn, NY; Fisher Press, Santa Fe, NM; Northern, Olympia, WA; NADA Gallery Space, New York, NY; Printed Matter, Inc., New York, NY; and Golden Street, New London, CT.
Bri Williams (b.1993, Long Beach, CA) lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. She holds a MFA from Mills College, Oakland, CA. She has had solo exhibitions at Murmurs, Los Angles, CA; Queer Thoughts, New York, NY; and Interface, Oakland, CA. Her work has been included in exhibitions at Chart Gallery, New York, NY; Ramiken Crucible, Los Angeles, CA; Ochi Projects, Los Angeles, CA; 300 Mission, Los Angeles, CA; Karma International, Los Angeles, CA; Queer Thoughts, New York, NY; and BBQLA, Los Angeles, CA. Her work will be exhibited in February at Queer Thoughts, New York, NY.