AS THE WORLD TURNS
AGNES BOLT & KEVIN STUART
November 11 to December 04, 2016
opening Friday November 11th, 6pm
Open Sundays 12PM - 4PM and by appointment
jeux d’été presents: As the World Turns with Agnes Bolt and Kevin Stuart, Nov 11th- Dec 4th
We want you to come sit with us, our newness and enthusiasm.
We would like to share a few faces with you, an animal, and a pleasure object.
If we need an image, let’s choose this one: a beauty mask, resting on a ceramic mask.
An empty area between two similar surfaces.
Below, a ceramic mask of a human face, an object obstructing its own humanness to craft an ideal image.
Above, another mask - the same, if we want, but floppy - there more to reveal rather than obstruct.
Where one subtracts from the underlying face (carving a ‘new environment’), the other adds, joining a previously presented surface. Which is which?
These layers ‘share face’, adhering to the same contours, but the velocities with which they advance do not share the same spin or direction. Hidden, the first mask is absolved of its sovereignty and purpose, while the latter is now a cover for a cover.
Freaky shit for sure.
As the World Turns brings together two divergent methods of anthropomorphism, the animal and the object, each with their own psychological shifts within the realm of the pleasurable, the recognizable and the human. In Kevin Stuart’s paintings of swift street scenes, populated with a cast of human and animal characters milling on a shallow plane, the human and the animal not only share the same plaza, cafe terrace or street corner, but also the same face. It is often difficult to discern with precision which are ‘human’ and which are ‘animal’ - who is borrowing whose face? In the end, these animal-human face swaps probably don’t matter. Each goofy smile, whether turtle or gentlemen, is offered with an unadulterated enthusiasm for being, a limn for us-ness, togetherness. In parallel, Agnes Bolt’s collection of ceramic household objects, which she describes as “invasive, lethargic, barely doing their job”, flop off the edges of counters and dangle from the rafters. Emotional and perverse, Bolt’s work sits in suspended animation, sulking, flirting, making weird promises. The ‘us-ness’ promised in Bolt’s work is less innocent and it has more holes (to play with), but is just a prevalent and powerful. Disembodied hands making lewd suggestions or too many manically happy smiley faces, these works start with a nudge nudge and wink wink, then leave you holding your own fragility and brokenness, in communion with the carpet on the floor.
These works question the long tradition of culture over-and-above nature, of ‘us’ over-and-above the world, and in this sense act as limns towards a new ecology, and a yearning for a new system of exchange, a new economy.
Ecology, the study of the interaction between living organisms and their surrounding environment, is a branch of science based on the idea that the earth is a singular habitat; it is a defined boundary within which we find all life as we know it. In this sense, ‘the ecological whole’ is a sharing of a singular material economy by all living organisms - the earth.
Economy, however, is a human concept invented to understand, mark - and therefore control - the flow of goods and services. It takes for granted the never-ending trust fund of sunlight, or the necessity of the atmosphere as a boundary, or the creative force that literally carves our flesh and shore through the gravitational pull of the moon. It puts the all-of-everything under limiting human terms.
The shared prefix of eco, from the ancient Greek ‘oikos’, is embedded with the idea of family, family lineage, and the house. Though simple and universal concepts, held within this domestic sphere are deeply problematic histories of ownership and agency. As our decentralized bubble-planet spins and weaves through space, we are confronted with our own precariousness, and, like weirdoes balanced on the head of pin, our commonality. Someone (an otter with a face) sitting at a table in the café is wondering if we are finally, collectively, coming to terms with our own house, and if that house (she so busy) is even speaking to us still.
Agnes Bolt is an artist based in LA. In the last couple years, she has largely focused her efforts towards a 3 person collective project called The Institute for New Feeling. IfNf is currently presenting a solo exhibition at Ballroom Marfa, with recent work shown at the Hammer Museum (LA), Whitechapel Gallery (London), MAAT (Lisbon), Istanbul Modern (Istanbul) & Foundation PROA (Buenos Aires).
Kevin Stuart paint things and lives in Chicago where he received his MFA from the School of the Art Institute. He recently exhibited at the Elmhurst Art Museum (IL) and completed a residency at the Sam & Adele Golden Foundation (New Berlin, NY).