Participating artists: Avantika Bawa, Ofri Cnaani, Graciela Fuentes, Richard Garrison, Grady Gerbracht, Monika Goetz, Lynne Harlow, Vibeke Jensen,Tom Kotik, Fawn Krieger, Amanda C. Mathis, Megan Michalak, Steven Millar, Jung Sun Oh, Roy Stanfield, Jen Urso, and Robert Walden
Curated by: Elizabeth M. Grady
Using unusual approaches to navigating spaces and occupying places, the seventeen emerging artists in I can’t quite place it… radically alter their environments, transforming them in an effort to subvert structures both architectural and social. Their widely varied approaches to the subjective perception of a place and its impact on the individual will include video, sculpture, drawing, and ten new site-specific installations.
Practicing an intuitive rearrangement of the visual information encountered in the course of an average day, the artists toy with the structures of power and human interaction encoded in space, borrowing from the architecture of Smack Mellon’s new site, as well as the very energy of the gallery itself in the form of light, sound, and time. They lead us along from image to idea, following a trajectory of free-associations, and creating a discontinuous mosaic of temporal perception in contrast to the more commonplace linear narratives associated with Western culture.
Each of the artists in this show responds to the specific architectural structures and histories of the sites in which they install their work. Experience comes in flashes and streaks, seams and ruptures rather than an unbroken line. They believe that it makes more sense to record experience abstractly than to make of it something explicit and delimited. Open-ended meanings are preferable to fixed and closed ones, allowing the opportunity for varied responses and spontaneous reactions. In this way these artists encourage the viewer to share in their intuitive approaches.
Although individually these artists may or may not view their work as political, their creation of a liminal space, an unfamiliar realm where some of the rules and restrictions of everyday life are relaxed and replaced by different norms of behavior provides a model for intellectual freedom. Perceiving the urban environment on their own terms rather than those dictated by the structures and practices of society is a way of undermining the constraints and oppression associated with institutions, and established systems of power .