Sum of the Parts
David Castillo Gallery is proud to present Sum of the Parts, new work by represented artists Kate Gilmore, Quisqueya Henriquez, Susan Lee-Chun, Jillian Mayer, and Xaviera Simmons. The cognitive science of sight moves these artists to tell meta-narratives. Pollyanna, the heroine of Eleanor H. Porter’s classic of children’s literature, realized the magnitude of human complexity by observing a prism’s refracted colors. The artists in Sum of the Parts often illuminate larger narratives through archetypes of innocence. However, Sum of the Parts testifies to the beauty in narrative intricacy as well as the insular horror of individual perception and the difficult, muddied pallet that results from mixing authenticity of seeing and understanding.
Kate Gilmore’s works in video and photography refine her inquiry into autobiography and the everywoman. That Human Touch posits fractions of her body in the act of demolishing the raw construction of a domestic interior. In Make Your Mark, Gilmore heaves a paint-soaked ball from her position off camera toward the chest of the man facing her. The thrust is returned effortlessly by her partner, paint-marked but markedly unaffected. In the spirit of Sue Williams’ early compositions, Gilmore’s photograph Walk This Way depicts a high-heeled foot busting through the plasma of what could be the gallery wall itself, revealing a glimpse into the nebulous of dark matter and pink plaster from which the figure emerges. By juxtaposing physical taxation with the nonchalance of obstacles engineered like games, Gilmore chides the linear simplicity of Aristotelian narrative within contemporary norms.
Quisqueya Henriquez’s process of appropriating images from the Internet parallels that of renowned poet Jose Lezama Lima, who ventured only twice from his native Cuba despite writing fluently about global cultures and diverse time periods. Over the course of ten images, referencing artworks that Henriquez has never seen firsthand and exhibited in museums she has never visited, Henriquez testifies to the satiety of substitution and demonstrates that reality is no match for probability. By partially altering these found images of artworks by artists such as Katharina Fritsch and Sherrie Levine with cuts and manipulations, or replacing these images with photographs of scale replicas, Henriquez lends a fully transformative experience. As Gilmore’s video works forecast herself as the purveyor of subtle chain reactions, Henriquez commands authorship within Art History via her exercises of individual experience.
Susan Lee-Chun dresses the realm of domesticity in the haute couture of its commodious hold on expectations of beauty, family, sex, and gender. Split Pedestal is a large sculpture informed by the dual decorative and functional nature of pedestals in homemaking and fine art display. The farcically conspicuous black pedestal rests on a pair of female legs extending from its base in horizontal splits, as if stretched in an expression of dance or aerobic exercise. The toes of the pedestal’s bare feet, or those of the figure contained inside the pedestal, flex nimbly upward, as true to classical form as the posturing of the pedestal itself. With cartoonish bravado and morbidity, Lee-Chun offers a literal obstacle in linear understanding, the shape of the pedestal both a punctuating mark and the opacity left by a letter cut from a word waiting to be said by the viewer.
Jillian Mayer shares Lee-Chun’s reservoir of domestic invention. Drawing on sitting benches and board sets reminiscent of tourist photo ops, Mayer intends her passersby to pause in the engagement of her artworks. The fleeting moments Mayer propositions are long enough to construct an experience that, like a photograph, will cultivate lives of its own in the fluctuating worlds of lived experience, memory, and perception. Mayer also presents Life & Freaky Times of Uncle Luke, a video short that re-imagines Chris Marker’s science fiction classic La Jetée set in Miami and starring Luther Campbell, the city’s eponymous rap performer, former 2 Live Crew frontman, and 2012 candidate for Mayor of Miami-Dade County. Mayer’s Uncle Luke, like its original cinematic inspiration and the public documentation of its namesake, presents with each instant a multi-narrative.
Xaviera Simmons’ large-scale photographs exemplify the tremulous terrain between the expected and the known in her series If We Believe In Theory. The title clause offers a point of repetition for Simmons’ characters, who offer realities authentic to the actors, directors, and viewers in infinite combinations of collective and individual interpretation. Simmons reminds one that persona is at odds with performance and that the act of seeing is above all performative. The fact that this singular sight often yields similar narrative solidarity is testimony to the saturation of mythologies, the mythologizing of popular culture and standardized norms, and perhaps something deeper and more autonomous belonging to the human subconscious.
Simmons’ folklore, like Gilmore’s sense of self, Henriquez’s relationship to Art History, Lee-Chun’s humor, and Mayer’s definition of time, is an exercise in Gestalt theory. If we believe in Gestalt theory, the fields of design, psychology, and optometry will reveal that the human eye accounts for gaps in information or accuracy which the mind fills. If we believe in Gestalt theory, the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts.
Among the numerous upcoming exhibitions, book releases, and residencies for each of the artists inSum of the Parts are: Kate Gilmore in The Fourth Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, Russia (September 22- October 30, 2011); Quisqueya Henriquez in Cut & Paste, 21st Century Collage, Book release, London, England (October 3, 2011); Susan Lee-Chun, Artist-in-Residence at McColl Center for Visual Art, Charlotte, North Carolina (September 6- November 22, 2011); Jillian Mayer’sFanimaltastic at de la Cruz Collection Contemporary Art Space, Miami, Florida (December 2011); and Xaviera Simmons in The Record, Miami Art Museum, Miami, FL & The Record, Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, WA (both in 2012), which originated in 2010 at The Nasher Museum at Duke University, Durham, NC.