Rock, Hard, Place

Kate Gilmore
April 12 - May 31, 2012

David Castillo Gallery is proud to present Rock, Hard, Place, a solo exhibition by Kate Gilmore. The artist’s sculpture, video and photography extrapolate the consequences of testing her body between authenticity and artifice; improvisation and folklore; cultural rupture and embedded practices.


Black bowls containing hot pink paint occupy an expedit shelving unit like larvae in a honeycomb or circles in Kandinsky’s grid. As Gilmore wedges a rock into each bowl, some violently burst, others overflow into Cy Twombly’s gestural script. In the singular performance Rock, Hard, Place (2012), Gilmore’s corporeal agency within environmental construct blurs the line between set design and mark making. Rock, Hard, Place is exhibited as sculpture, video, and photography.


This new performance registers in Gilmore’s oeuvre, using the female body and token exaggerations of femininity, including the color pink and fashion accessories, to test endurance and question reward. Rock, Hard, Place disambiguates actor and network; beauty and destruction; ritual and freedom. While Gilmore’s end goals may remain coyly obscure, her procedural emphasis rallies toward what Lev Manovich might term the anti-sublime: the struggle to understand personal identity within the overwhelming structure of contemporary society.


Rock, Hard, Place is accompanied by two recent video works. Pot Kettle Black interrogates idiom as Gilmore shelves black paint, its overflow a metronome to her audible toil and exasperated distain.Break of Day marks time in the double entendre of a manually powered hourglass. Gilmore sources materials familiar to infrastructure, homemaking and theater to build concentric stage sets: physical attire, interactive environment, camera frame, exhibition space. The contrasting earnestness of her actions leave Gilmore volatile to orbital pull even as she strives to defy physical laws and challenge societal codes of conduct.


Gilmore’s taxing, and often compromising, self-appointed tasks reference a history of performance art from Yoko Ono to Marina Abramović. Whether binding hay bales with ribbon or punching a bare-fisted escape through chimney-tight drywall, Gilmore is the magician and the compliant assistant, leaking like paint into the dialogue surrounding the autonomy of the female body. The toughness ofRock, Hard, Place brings new relevance to sociopolitical resolve.


Kate Gilmore was born in Washington D.C., received her MFA from the School of Visual Arts, New York, and lives and works in New York, NY. Upcoming exhibitions include the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, Cleveland, Ohio (2013).  Recent exhibitions include Walk the Line at Parasol Unit, London, England (solo); The Fourth Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, Moscow, Russia; Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY, among others. Her work has been included in national and international exhibitions including the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY; RISD Museum of Art, Providence, RI; MAK Museum of Art, Vienna, Austria; and Greater New York 2005 at PS1/MoMA Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, NY. The artist’s work is in the permanent collections of Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY; Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), Chicago, IL; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; Verbund Collection, Vienna, Austria; Sammlung Julia Stoschek Collection, Dusseldorf, Germany; LAC, Lambert Collection, Geneva, Switzerland; Fondazione Morra Greco, Naples, Italy; Collezione La Gaia, Busca, Italy; Centro Sperimentale per le Arti Contemporanee (CESAC), Caraglio, Italy, among numerous others.