Susan Lee-Chun: It’s a pleasure (not) to meet you & Jillian Mayer: Day Off

Opening Reception, Thursday, April 14th, 7-10 PM

April 14, 2016 - May 31, 2016

David Castillo Gallery is proud to present It’s a pleasure (not) to meet you by Susan Lee-Chun and Day Off by Jillian Mayer. The two solo shows present new work in sculpture, installation, photography, and video. By interrogating subject-object relationships both off- and online, Lee-Chun and Mayer insist upon the primacy of material culture in the politics of representation.

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A collection of Kung Fu figurine soaps, five key chains cast from life-sized feet: peering into the clinical glass case fabricated by Susan Lee-Chun for It’s a pleasure (not) to meet you, the viewer mediates between artifact and kitsch, or between systems of knowledge production. The display’s transparent barriers substantiate the glass ceiling between subjectivity and material culture. Its concretization of metaphor shatters the viewer’s expectation of fixed objects, instead setting them in flux between commodity forms and identity representations. When the eye grazes the muscles of a knockoff Bruce Lee, the artist lays bare the apparatus through which Asian masculinity is constructed by the proliferation of signs in popular culture. When the gaze covets a gold-painted, four-finger ring mounted by the word GIBBERISH, the artist exposes the powerful agency of language in the persistence of racial imaginaries.

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The defamiliarized scales, materialities, and use values of Lee-Chun’s sculptures fictionalize their role in an ethnographic display. The artist complicates the social construction of identity and representation when she casts aluminum and polymer clay earrings, paints them gold, and spans their hyperbolic 24″ inch diameters with phrases including “La Chinita” and “No se habla Chinois o Japonais.” At such moments, the specificity of the artist’s own ethnic, geographic, linguistic, and social narratives underscore the personal subjectivity at stake in the materiality of culturally produced objects. It’s a pleasure (not) to meet you becomes a refusal to be what one wears, utilizes, or collects. The exhibitions parenthetical negation emphasizes, after Stuart Hall, the co-constitutional condition of culture and consumption.

Jillian In & Out

For the exhibition Day Off, Jillian Mayer brings digital mediations into the political landscape of representation. Florian Cramer has proposed the post-digital turn in which fascination with the Internet has become historical, and culture emerges from dynamic assemblages of objects, processes, scales, sites, and experiences both actual and virtual. The artist’s slumpies series of ergonomic sculptures are designed for this contemporary moment in which physical posture, and thereby social engagement, are ontologically inseparable from increased technology use. The body online is both spatially-temporally situated and globally networked. Slumpies provides structures upon which participants may lounge to facilitate public use of smart phones, addressing what Mayer identifies as the “post-posture problem.” Through their interaction, the user becomes an integral material component of the sculpture while also engaging cultural production. Lifestyle and aesthetics merge in what Lisa Parks might term infrastructure re-socialization, or the project of urging publics to notice, document, and ask questions about the mediated environments that shape culture.

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In Mayer’s headset video series, based upon virtual reality experiences, the artist also renders visible the infrastructures that contextualize body-world reciprocity. The video DAY OFF depicts players clad in clumsy headsets and encumbered by cables immersed in a video cam. The players are unmoved by the gallery viewer, but the gallery viewer is acutely aware of the players’ mediation, foregoing the myth of virtual transcendence and recognizing techno-social assemblages. The video series’ photographic works also serve to comparatively intensify the reality of the gallery viewer. DAY OFF depicts a woman reclining between a trashcan and an electrical post, her limbs emerging at alarming angles from her sleeveless dress. The vulnerability of bodies in virtual space and the physical atrophy of bodies using technological devices reveal that culture must account for the materiality of its digital production.

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Susan Lee-Chun was born in Seoul, Korea, and lives and works in Miami. Since studying at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2004, MA), Susan Lee-Chun has exhibited widely in the U.S. and abroad – Herning Kunstmuseum, Denmark; 2006 Vienna Biennale, Vienna, Austria; Pacific Asia Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami, FL. She has held residencies at the Bemis Center in Omaha, NE, Three Walls in Chicago, IL, and McColl Center for Visual Art, Charlotte, North Carolina (2011). In February 2015, Susan Lee-Chun had a solo exhibition History of Incuriosity at the Miami Dade College’s Museum of Art + Design. Recent group shows include Image Search at PAMM, Miami. Her work is in important public and private collections, including PAMM Miami and the ICA, Miami.

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Jillian Mayer was born and lives and works in Miami, FL and received her BFA from Florida International University in 2007. Recent group shows include the Cintas exhibition at Miami Dade College Museum of Art + Design; Self-Proliferation curated by Micaela Giovannotti at the Girls’ Club, Ft. Lauderdale; and If You Leave Me, Can I Come Too, at Hunter College, NY among numerous others. Mayer has had solo exhibitions at Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City, UT and Bass Museum of Art, Miami, FL. She has participated in global exhibitions at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Miami, FL; 2014 La Biennale de Montreal, Montreal, QC; Young Art Museum, Davie, FL; Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland, ME; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, IL; National Center for Contemporary Art, Russia among others. In 2010, the artist’s work was one of the 25 selections for the Guggenheim’s Youtube Play: A Biennial of Creative Video. As part of the Guggenheim’s Creative Video Biennial, the artist’s work was exhibited at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, Italy; Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain; and Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin, Germany. Mayer’s work is a part of important public and private collections, including PAMM Miami and The Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum, Miami.

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