September 9–October 1
Becky Brown, Julia Dzwonkoski, Kyla Kegler: Meet On The Ledge
After three years of programming, it is with both celebration and sweet sorrow that Undercurrent presents their final exhibition, Meet On the Ledge. Becky Brown, Julia Dzwonkoski, and Kyla Kegler will exhibit works from their individual practices of painting, drawing, sculpture, and performance along with collaborative elements that fuse into a humorous and colorful dialogue of existence, presence, and identity in an anxiety-fueled world.
Amidst endless and confusing ecosystems of labels, tech interfaces, disorders, data sorting, cataloging, and our consumer culture, Meet On the Ledge wittingly and profoundly mines the question “Who am I?” Daily systems used to organize and simplify our lives deceivingly and counterproductively complicate and homogenize us and our experiences in the world, numbing us to question our relationship to it, as well as one another. Control, destiny, human consciousness, and mortality are meta questions that arise from below the surface further complicating and spiraling our connections.
In the magical and whimsical world of Kyla Kegler’s Mountains we are confronted with large, bright, papier-mâché creature heads which are worn by the various archetypes she has developed within her ethos. Appearing mythical, minotaur-like, the remainder of the costume is all human, creating an alienating yet quirky, familiar feeling. Mountains is an ongoing episodic series of performances with an iteration to debut on October 1st, 7:30 pm at Undercurrent. Yellow-Beaked-Bird, Horse, Uni-Meta-Verse, Cat-Dog, and Monster Society Gemini are a few of the characters Kegler has invented, each with their own nick-name, pronoun, theme song, family dynamic, and astrological sign. The artist herself dons her own archetype, the Dictator, who narrates for all of the other personas. Employing untrained performers, and directing their every action, questions of improvisation, reality, and free-will emerge. The clumsy portrayal of part human and part something else coupled with cosplay is loaded with psychological weight leaving us wondering where we fit into Kegler’s world as well as our own.
Contrasting to Kegler’s colorful characters are Julia Dzwonkoski’s minimal 8.5 x 11 inch acrylic gouache drawings of ghosts garbed in the stereotypical bedsheet. In her drawings, we witness ghosts sharing private thoughts, performing absurd actions, and sharing awkward moments with other ghosts. If death is the “great equalizer” then Dzwonkoski’s drawings are the sequel tinged with Franz Kafka, Sigmund Freud, and Albert Camus influence. Referencing Theater of the Absurd, Dzwonkoski sardonically outsources the iconic spirit to haunt us with questions of nihilism and existentialism. The dilemma of repetition and purpose dominates the drawing Shampoo Conditioner depicting ghost with the almost-empty shampoo bottle and somewhat-full conditioner bottle. Lather, rinse, and repeat are more than simply empirical observations and further relate to conflicts of morale— “Is the glass half empty?”— all while playing on language with the word “spirit”. These random ghost acts are given order through their installation in a grid, underscoring the Funny Pages while simultaneously backhanding the art market and questioning affluence. Her comical approach to taboo and challenging topics forms a seamless space where even I question the afterlife of our gallery, Undercurrent. Do we become a giant Christo piece, covered with an oversized white sheet spooking the next tenants or will we quietly and gracefully fade into the background?
As living beings, we are incessantly consenting to AI algorithms to prove we are human while endlessly hitting “I Agree” to be able to progress. We find ourselves in an endless trap of broken systems of physical and digital accumulation. Computer and tech-rage is subject in the entirely analog paintings and sculptures of Becky Brown. In Data Clouds, oversized Post-it notes, intended for ephemeral reminders and tasks become permanent and monumental not only in scale but with text referring back to our desktop interfaces. The calculatedly haphazard installation is a reflection of our frantic relationship with technology and is a meta-experience to pop-up blockers and push notifications we can’t seem to escape. Far more tangible and invading our physical space is Brown’s sculpture series Safe Keeping. Jam-packed with found objects, these monochromatic assemblage sculptures short-circuit our expectations just from the sheer quantity of accumulated objects. The sporting equipment, medical supplies, cords and other found objects busting out from an ATM machine question value hierarchies and how we accredit accumulation to wealth. The content overload we experience in Brown’s work is akin to the frozen spinning wheel on a desktop, implying that our frustration is as much about rage, shame, and guilt as it is our need to stop and disconnect.
Collectively within the exhibition, silver linings emerge amongst the anxiety and hopelessness, reminding us within our faults, quirks, phobias, disruptions, and clutter, that we are all human and laughter is healing.
Screening, Special Event
Pearl Street TriangleOctober 6, 7:00 PM–October 6, 10:00 PM
Higher Pictures GenerationOctober 1–November 26
Smack MellonOctober 15, 2:00 PM–October 15, 3:30 PM
Platform Project SpaceSeptember 30–October 29