Laurel Gitlen is pleased to announce I Live My Thoughts, an exhibition of new work by Bianca Beck and Josh Brand, and a selection of “Memory Jugs” by various unknown artists.
The objects in the exhibition — paintings, photographs, and vessels — can be thought of as recording devices. One can see them as instruments for recording feelings, perceptions, memories, bodies, times, and actions. Some of the objects are made in ways that conflate thought and imagination, bodies and things.
The title “I Live My Thoughts” is derived from a story in which a person describes another person by saying: “He tried to live his thoughts … .” In the case of the exhibition, the “I” is divided between three selves: one female, one male, and a third who is plural and unknown. This ambiguous subject confuses attempts to find a fixed body or self within the amorphous, communal space of thought and memory.
Bianca Beck’s paintings contain images of bodies and body parts, interiors and exteriors that express both physical and emotional states. Using a palette that reflects the colors of a body’s elements — its shadows, senses, flesh, bone, and fluid — Beck shapes a body anew out of scratches, punctures, burns, brushed paint, and cuts. The resulting paintings are embodiments of energies and calls of release.
Josh Brand’s pictures appear out of a cyclical photographic process, as light is projected through paper, negatives, drawings, punctured plastic, and other materials. Some pictures begin as photographs of things in the world (a tree, a corner of an apartment, a person), while others begin as material or chemical constructions created in the darkroom. Brand’s work thus occupies a grey-area between the categories of photograph and photogram — a space in which photography becomes a model for the transformative processes of perception, memory, and imagination.
The term “Memory Jug” refers to a vessel that has been puttied and collaged with found objects. An American vernacular tradition most often associated with the rural South in the 19th and 20th centuries, the craft was also popular in the parlors of Victorian homes. The jugs are thought to be either memorials to the deceased or a form of scrapbooking to preserve memories and sentimental objects. While vessels in general are evocative of bodies and of the idea of containment, Memory Jugs in particular are often adorned with objects that bring to mind mortality and the passing of time. Bodies are doubly evoked by often-collaged objects such as spoons, baby shoes, watches, and seashells.
Bianca Beck was born in Columbus, Ohio in 1979. Her work has been included in group exhibitions at Shane Campbell Gallery in Chicago and Renwick Gallery and Cheim and Read in New York. Josh Brand was born in 1980 in Elkhorn, Wisconsin. His work has been included in numerous group exhibitions including 2010, The Whitney Biennial. He has had solo exhibitions at White Columns in New York and Herald St. in London.