Geary presents Softer but Louder, a group exhibition curated by Dain DeltaDawn, featuring the work of Amie Cunat, Katy Fischer, Yvette Mayorga, Kelly McCafferty, and Sheida Soleimani.
Softer but Louder brings together a collection of five artists’ respective concentrations on repetition. As if by magic, smaller components in each work fit together calmly but confidently to make revelatory and critical assertions. The exhibition is a culmination of works that harness a modest way of working: the artists expertly manipulate material, texture, and shape to maneuver the humble to be powerful and at times, aggressive. There’s no loss of volume in the soft, almost gentle ways in which each of the artists work with their materials.
Kelly McCafferty slowly collects memorabilia and mementos from around the world, and just as methodically, hand-stitches them to stretched canvas in carefully arranged compositions. McCafferty’s narratives surrounding each of her works is as mysterious and specific as where the objects are sourced: in Leo Rising, McCafferty begins with a personal obsession with Lucille Ball (the artists’ birthday twin). The artist traveled to Jamestown, New York to visit Ball’s hometown and to attend the annual festival honoring the comedian; some of the objects in the work serve as a representation of this point of origin and lead to other journeys and objects within the piece.
Similarly, Katy Fischer’s collections of constructed objects in both her paper works, and ceramic works sealed under glass vitrine, work together patiently build to a crescendo of varying degrees of gradations, textures, and line. The narrative that each collection describes is more of a plotline of production, though. Eyes follow from one to the next searching for connecting threads. The shards resting on their table are one-by-one formed by hand, and each glazed and fired as constituent components to amount to the whole.
Yvette Mayorga’s portraits and sculpture function as a frank commentary on the American Dream through mimicking sugary frosted cakes in the tradition of Mexican bakeries, Mayorga harnesses and perfects a dystopian Candyland aesthetic that hollers and wallops at its surface but beneath, articulates an earnest and deeply personal understanding of the effects of colonialism through material and object. Sheida Soleimani makes work that uses media trends and the dissemination of societal occurrences in the news, adapting images from popular press and social media leaks to exist within alternate scenarios. In B-Team (Iran Deal), Soleimani employs imagery of politicians involved in the creating of the Iran Deal, juxtaposed with bodies of wrestlers (Iran’s national sport). Soleimani’s use of sculpture and costume within photograph to create a form of live-action collage produces a slow-burn of jarring and sophisticated imagery that demands a careful unfurling.
Amie Cunat has created a site-specific installation of shaker-influenced furniture and domestic objects in the Gallery 2, fashioning a store room of objects that come together in a confluence of meticulous craft and temporal sensibility. Her objects, composed largely of cardboard pieces painted in salmon, ochre, and brown hues, invoke the quiet and ultra-humble storage area. Cunat reflects on American historical hopes and contemporary realities in her work surrounding Shaker hand-craft, and through the Shaker’s Idealism and utopic vision, futility and beauty both make themselves apparent in her work. The meticulous craft of fashioning these objects rooted in modesty and Godliness, much like the objects they are inspired by, is deafening.