Uncertain Spaces: Curator Vadis Turner Explores the Art of the Unknown

A wisp of smoke, a memory faded by time, oxidation and decay—these are some of the ethereal sensations conjured in the exhibition “Barely There” at New York’s Jack Geary Contemporary. Guest curated by artist Vadis Turner, whose own richly handcrafted work deals with moments of transition, the group show examines artists who explore the in-between, elusive moments tempered by the passage of time.

Whether in video, photography, painting, performance, or sculpture, each of the artists in the exhibition explores the uneasy energy of liminal spaces. In paintings such as Long in the Tooth 2, Jonas Everets uses washes of pigment, acrylic medium, tar, and soot swathed across canvas on panel to create an abstraction that calls to mind damaged film or relics from an unknown age. Scratches and swipes of silver entice the viewer to see what unknowable layers lie beyond the surface, without revealing itself. Meghan Petras invites uncertainty directly into her abstract compositions in another way—by painting elaborate patterns onto unstretched canvas before configuring them in three dimensions, cutting the plane and sewing it back together with the eye of a sculptor, while raising questions about the essence of material.  

Artist Suzette Bross explores the intangible in a more pictorial sense, by photographing roadside scenery as seen from the window of a speeding car. As specific details melt away, the effect is like a shared memory, undefinable yet instantly familiar. The exhibition continues outside of the gallery as well, with Full Transparency, a series of poetic “participatory walks” around the gallery’s neighborhood where Elastic City founder Todd Shalom “leads walkers to create ephemeral works together”—perhaps the ultimate expression in passing time. 

Heather Corcoran

Barely There” is on view at Jack Geary Contemporary, New York, June 26th–July 25th, 2014.  

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