A-temporality is a term coined by science fiction novelist William Gibson that refers the outcome of networked culture. Ours, he argues, is an epoch in which all times, all knowledge and opinions of all things exist at once, simultaneous and unorganized accessible by browser. The outcome is «an era of decay and repurposing broken structures, of new social inventions within networks… a crooked networked bazaar of history and futurity.»
If our culture is one in which time has been flattened a-temporaly how do artists respond to art history reduced to flotsam of referents? Crooked Bazaar, an exhibition of works by Gabriel de la Mora, Sam Moyer, Andreas Slominski, Martin Soto Climent, Eduardo Terrazas, Roberto Turnbull and Ana Virnich looks to consider the future of painting in the context of this this «crooked bazaar». From assemblage to what might be considered post-appropriation, these works play at the intersection of the readymade and the handmade. Materials that bear little in common with liquid pigment, such as stone and rubber mats, are cut and arranged into compositions that evoke the work of Ad Reinhardt and Barnet Newman. It’s painting with the residue of civilization.
Martin Soto Climent’s work uses new stockings to invoke desire for the presence of future bodies. He twists and stretches hosiery over small panels that together suggest cellular-like structures. His division of the works into several planes transversed by intimate apparel engages longing with ideas related to grids, crosses, matrices or the pixel. Desire, after all, lives in the future tense.
Anna Virnich’s work meanwhile is more concerned with the register of past bodies as opposed to future ones. Her repurposed fabric compositions delicately bear the traces of previous owners. She layers swaths of silk and organza to play with transparency and opacity, revealing the skeleton-like stretcher bars that support and shape the piece. Imperfection is celebrated as individuality. Fabrics fray at their seams. The pull of the supports leave ripples of tension that hint at bodies preset in the work: the bodies that produced the fabrics, those that previously wore them, and the body of the artist who scavenged the material and manipulates it to new life.
Similarly, Gabriel de la Mora barters and trades with local print makers to acquire the used rubber pads from printing press beds used to make his compositions. Ghostly marks suggest the residue of the forces that go into analog image production: ink pressed into paper through weight of physical labor.
Likewise, labor and industry are alluded to in pieces by Sam Moyer and Roberto Turnbull who both arrange found stone slabs into abstract configurations. The perfectly smooth and polished faces and shapes of stone in both artists’ work suggest leftovers from the construction industry: a sink cut-out here, tubing cut-out there. Turnbull’s practice emphasizes recording the hand of the artist. He traces his movements he arranges and rearranges the assemblage, or connecting the “dots” from one stone to the next, suggesting perhaps a primacy of process over the end product. In contrast, Moyer hides her hand. The stones are ‘set’ in her works with canvas shapes constructed to fit perfectly between the slabs, completing the picture plane, not unlike a jeweler setting a ring.
Finally, Andreas Slominski and Eduardo Terrazas take the most overtly sculptural and playful approaches to pushing ideas of painting in the show. Terrazas’s mural is a sprawling rhythmic congregation of small wood pieces resembling Jenga blocks that are colored and arranged reminiscent of an urban simulation game or a domino fall. Meanwhile Slominski, who is known for displaying traps as art works, offers conceptual trappings in the form of custom manufactured garage doors. The pieces wink at color field painting by comparing monochrome canvases as product of the artist’s studio to monochrome storage facilities, warehouses of industrial surplus production. Slominski has installed them with the interior face of door visible, implying the viewer is inside the gallery-cum-garage but the hinges and doors are mismatched. The doors are impossible to open. It’s a dead end. We are trapped—albeit symbolically—in a room, in a global network, in an a-temporal state of being.