January 15, 2022 – February 19, 2022
291 Grand St.
New York, NY
“blue monday” is a group exhibition featuring works by Michele Abeles, Josh Kline, and Stewart Uoo.
Time is pulled tightly into focus in Michele Abeles’s series of street photography, titled Watches (2014). Closely fixed on the glint of wrist watches of figures in motion––women who are out shopping, maybe returning from a smoke break––the large compositions read almost like adverts through the contradictory nature of their messages. They remind you that time is for sale, but timelessness is what you actually desire. Moving out from the studio and onto the street, Abeles still renders her special type of temporal and spacial dislocation in the flatness of her arrangements. Here, the images are cropped so closely on their subjects that they seem to suspend or float through the streets of any generic city. There exists a seemingly exhaustive familiarity of unbreakable archetype that’s repeated and tethered between this life and the next.
Stewart Uoo’s steel frame sculptures Security Window Grill X and Security Window Grill XI (both 2014), summon a kind of half-life of placeless-ness that regenerates like the accumulation of detritus on the street. Installed at the height of a basement window, the works refer to the fixtures of vernacular architecture in the city, the endless backdrop to our daily commutes. Except Uoo’s hard objects are partially wrapped in flesh-like artifice, reminiscent of umby-cord from Cronenberg’s 1999 sci-fi horror film eXistenZ, about a virtual reality game come to life. Underneath, the fleshy bits sprout lines of hair like the fringe of an eccentric garment. Using the techniques of special effects make-up artists, they are comprised of layers and layers of tinted silicone that have been cast like grafts taken straight from the artist’s own skin. The result is a manufactured grotesqueness that stirs an undeniable curiosity. They sit exaggerated, glistening, languishing in their liminality.
Barely imperceptible are the dark silhouettes of blood bags, resting on their sides within translucent frosted coolers illuminated from the light pedestals below. The Power of Positive Thinking, Internal Disinformation, and Almost a Cleaning (all 2013–2020), are a continuation of Josh Kline’s liquid sculptures doped with various mood altering and performance enhancing substances, like studies in the cycle of late-capitalist labor and consumption as extreme sport or just plain survival. Here, the works are brought into the present moment with materials such as Hydroxychloroquine and bleach, a nod to the hyper-influence of political media that has crystalized into a disquieting frenzy of nationalism, edging on the paradox of life and death.