Text and photos by Clare Gemima
Michael Assiff, Valerie Keane, Lacey Lennon, Luke Libera Moore,
Evelyn Pustka, Andrew Ross, Darryl Westly and Damon Zucconi.
ASHES/ASHES, 56 Eldridge St.
ASHES/ASHES presents a group show that grapples with the ineptitude of the internet’s search engines, algorithms and the navigation of 2020’s digital rhetoric. A wilderness of hashtags, symbols, phrases, redirection notices, surveillance, data, disguises, conspiracies, no results or too many results.
The sculptures, videos and paintings in edenchrome for all have surrendered to the information age, admitting there is no going backwards.
Eight artists have produced works for this show that plays with ideas of certitude in an age where literally anything is searchable. Our accessibility to questioning and answering has unfortunately become abusive. With advanced abilities like never before, the idea of truth and fact are not mutually exclusive, but more malleable instead.
With the 2020 election arguably presenting as the most dividing campaign in Western history, conspiracies about the far-left and far-right over saturate our cell phones, presenting ideologies so far-fetched and comically irrational that they seem to stick.
The experience of walking into the gallery itself was eccentric and blinding. Coming from an early sun-down November day and flinging yourself into the severity of the brightest of white walls totally sets the tone immediately.
ASHES/ASHES steals your attention, almost precisely like a screen. Suddenly in a brand new world, whether you like it or not you won’t be able to look away.
Artistic agency and digital anonymity were visual propositions externalized through the combination of analog and digital techniques. The hand squeezed mark-making by Michael Assiff, to the fine, unconventional cuts around the edges of Black Friday Sale, 2:43 PM: November 29th, 2019; Poughkeepsie, NY, 2020 blur the reality of what it means to be a mark maker in the contemporary space.
Laser-cut sculptures can start as scribbles, and 3D objects are re-rendered out of funky and/or trashy graphics from an old-school computer game. Paintings can be digital drawings with thousands of filters applied and almost anything we see hanging in a gallery is professionally deceptive.
Machine making is limitless within an artistic capacity, as is its power to manipulate our digital community. Machine takeover ... well, that’s now up to us.
If you are interested in less conventional techniques in painting, sculpture, multimedia and video art, then this is the show to see before the year is out. Easily the most notable show of the year for me, ASHES/ASHES has transformed their gallery into a garden of confusing, confronting and calculated objects — some that would take hours of surveying to appreciate every nuance.
The standout pieces for me were spangle maker by Valerie Keane, a laser-cut sculpture hanging from the ceiling, Party in the USA, a video work that re-imagines Miley's famous anthem by Evelyn Putska and WEEDS (WDFY04 Vidia Purple / WDMN02 Pink Bow Beauty) a painting on cotton by Michael Assiff.
edenchrome for all is showing at ASHES/ASHES until Dec. 19.
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Clare Gemima is a visual artist from New Zealand. New-ish to the East Village, she spends her time as an artist assistant and gallery go-er, hungry to explore what's happening in her local art world. You can find her work here: claregemima.com