In this untitled four person exhibition, collaborative works by Graham Anderson and Caitlin Keogh and solo and collaborative pieces by Alisa Baremboym and Thomas Torres Cordova are viewed together—with video, photography, painting, sculpture and interior designing cooperating and obliging one another within the space.
Things falling closer to interior decor than art make up the collaborative practice of Graham Anderson and Caitlin Keogh. Anderson and Keogh are both painters, but here they utilize other skills to design and execute functional pieces. Installed at 179 Canal are two folding screens, a large curtain, a mirror, plant stands, and throw pillows. Questions around craftsmanship and design have informed their individual painting practices, and here they search for a combined aesthetic. These design pieces are informed by Memphis, the Italian design group from the late 70’s and 80’s, as well as Bauhaus design and Diaghilev Ballet Russe set designs from the early 20th century. Their pieces for this show are in part inspired by the pre-existing decor of 179 Canal, the remains of the jewelry showroom that existed here years ago, with chandeliers, textured walls, and marble floors. The gallery space comes with a ready-made narrative of aspiration, class, embellishment and exclusivity. Anderson and Keogh’s decorative furniture pieces incorporate aspects of the space’s condition to reassert this fantasy of privacy and beauty.
In contrast to the delicately hand-crafted furniture pieces provided by Anderson/Keogh, Alisa Baremboym and Thomas Torres Cordova’s mixed media video installations, sculptures and photos use digital material juxtapositions to both empty out cultural signifiers and explore the ways in which the intersection between technology and popular media shape everyday life. In doing so, Baremboym underlines the value contrasts between the two cultures from which she culls her source material (America/Russia), using digital and folk images simultaneously. Tension is inserted in the overlap between the two cultures as photographic images meld with industrially printed fabrics. A glamour shot wrapped and hiding in a veneer of fabrics gets lost in the mechanization of patterns and is called back again in the photographs from which the fabric abstracts itself. In the abyss of abstraction it is incomprehensible to catch these ghosts unless you escape with them.
Torres, on the other hand, uses glass both sculpturally and functionally to highlight the projector and the projected image. Sleek ergonomic qualities shared by the personal computer and the jet fighter cockpit control panel are linked to modern media and the military industrial complex while the video itself undermines our expectations of action films. In encountering these video and sculptural works, the viewer’s pace quickens, pulling the body out of inertia and toward a cracked and sandblasted shatter resistant windshield. A video collaboration with Baremboym, follows an elderly couple of Russian immigrants on a gambling trip to Atlantic City. Feeling distance and speed, nationality and nationalism, we see just how far we can go to disable our past and fast forward to the future, projecting ourselves into a world patterned by pastoral quiet or of blinking lights and the house of cards.