Catharine Clark Gallery presents "We Tell Ourselves Stories…In Order to Live," an exhibition of works across media by Sophie Calle, Leonora Carrington, Lenka Clayton, Edgar Martins, Patrick Staff, Stephanie Syjuco, and Katherine Vetne. On view June 21 – September 1, 2018, "We Tell Ourselves Stories…In Order to Live" takes the first sentence of Joan Didion’s iconic essay, “The White Album” (1979), as a proposition and point of departure for examining how narrative impacts our collective relationship to memory, family histories, and forms of social organization.
Didion’s essay “The White Album” traces how the 1969 Manson family murders in Los Angeles brought the utopianism of the 1960s counterculture movement to an abrupt and horrific end. In trying to make sense of a cultural landscape that seemed incomprehensibly fractured through violence and discord, Didion writes, “we interpret what we see, select the most workable of the multiple choices. We live entirely, especially if we are writers, by the imposition of a narrative line upon disparate images, by the ‘ideas’ with which we have learned to freeze the shifting phantasmagoria which is our actual experience.”
Narrative offers a critical tool for self-representation in this cultural moment where facts are increasingly contested, and where vulnerable populations continue to be targeted through vitriol and conjecture. By extension, the artists included in "We Tell Ourselves Stories…In Order to Live" challenge ordering systems that we collectively take as a given – language, gender, citizenship – and encourage us to imagine more expansive possibilities for how we present ourselves to the world.
Also, on view is "Soft Targets," a special salon presentation of new paintings by Timothy Cummings. This small, exquisite grouping includes works from Cumming’s recent residency in New Orleans, as well as Soft Targets, a new series inspired by gay pride month, and the violent culture that still plagues queer people.