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Close, but not touching

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Close, but not touching
curated by James Chen and Kristen Lee
July 25 - Aug 14 2017
Opening Reception: Thursday, July 27  2017  6-8 pm

Ke Peng, Untitled, 2017, inkjet print, 45” x 30”, Edition of 5

Loren Britton, Ahmet Civelek, Tiffany Jaeyeon Shin, Winslow Funaki, Rui Hu, Jenny Jisun Kim, Aaron

Lehman/Thomas Laprade, Ricardo Nagaoka/Evan Grothjan, Ke Peng, Hello Velocity/PIYENJI

(Jacqueline Lin, James Orlando, He + Hu), Christopher Rutledge, Darryl Westly, Dorothy Zhang

Billy licked his lips, thought a while, inquired at last: "Why me?"

"That is a very Earthling question to ask, Mr. Pilgrim. Why you? Why us for that matter? Why anything?

Because this moment simply is. Have you ever seen bugs trapped in amber?"

"Yes." Billy, in fact, had a paperweight in his office which was a blob of polished amber with three

ladybugs embedded in it.

"Well, here we are, Mr. Pilgrim, trapped in the amber of this moment. There is no why.”

We hope that everything we do is something that matters but we must realize that what we believe to be Earthling “emotions”, which are said to deepen with age, have in fact never been subject to time. Has humanity as a whole ever learned from a mistake? While we stand here in the room, half of us are stuck in the past and lost in nostalgia or regret. The other half are consumed with the future and potential. We each teeter at the tip of our own planet where gravity rarely reigns. Perhaps this is our chance to realize that although we are limited by the shortness of our lives to fathom this concept of becoming unstuck in time, together we can look upon the work in this room and realize that we have all seen this before... somewhere, somehow...but we are feeling it now.

Freddo Chen presents close, but not touching, the inaugural show at new SoHo-based gallery Biggercode. A group interdisciplinary exhibition, close, but not touching consists of artists who present or utilize modes of production that converge through the passage of time and the history of art. Taking its idea from Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse 5, this curatorial venture from James Chen and Kristen Lee will present works that echo the past in evoking certain sentiments and feelings, but within the landscape of today’s surface. Art and visual culture move in anything but a linear fashion, similar to the Tralfamadorian perception of time.

Two pairs of artists, Aaron Lehman/Thomas Laprade, and Evan Grothjan/Ricardo Nagaoka reinterpret the process of collaboration by putting old techniques such as sculpture and photography in romance with new digital software tools. Tiffany Jaeyeon Edwards and Dorothy Zhang explore inwards, each in a process indicative of the present. One focuses on her social and political identity as a female Asian-American artist while the other investigates her emotional self and the practice of empathy. PIYENJI, by artist collective Hello Velocity, recontextualizes the notion of a gallery setting in a highly personal, individual, and distributed manner. Through the work of He + Hu, Jacqueline Lin and James Orlando, they activate the viewer as a participant in the work. A similar effect is seen in Loren Britton’s sculptures that reference queer abstraction. Her amorphous forms disrupt traditional norms of body and sense, creating a self-awareness within the audience. The playful tone continues with Ke Peng’s photographs or Winslow Funaki’s sculptures, both created with an aesthetic that brings humor and levity to strange situations. In a similar fashion, Ahmet Civelek intimidates the gallery guests as they walk beneath his three brick sculptures which boldly rest on the wall harking back to a constructionist and minimalist era. Darryl Westly’s paintings stem from a fascination with architectural inconsistencies and changing landscapes while Jenny Jisun Kim enables material and texture combined with an interior exploration to guide her through the painting process. Lastly, Christopher Rutledge and Rui Hu use video bring to life the forms of ancient marble sculptures depicted in museum settings, making digital interventions that cause us to question our physical senses. During the course of the exhibition, the gallery will double as a space for artists, friends, and family to come together and share ideas or have conversations.

InquiryMichelle Yu  gallery@biggercode.com