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Carter & Citizen is proud to present A Vulgar Proof, April Streetʼs second solo exhibition with the gallery. The exhibition opens January 11 and closes February 15, 2014. The gallery will host a reception for the artists on Saturday, January 11, from 6 to 9pm.
At first glance, the paintings and objects included in A Vulgar Proof, are like elements out of a science fiction novel. The black nylon paintings with puncture holes that cover layers of painted hosiery appear to be portraits of stars in a night sky. The Bronze Elizabethan collars protruding from the wall are like futuristic weapons, and a graceful floor-to-ceiling installation of 100 cast bronze birthday candles suspended by polished soap stones, bronze meat hooks and waxed silk seems like the curious device that holds the key to saving the hero’s world at the end of that novel. Like Street’s previous work, here there is a tension where things are not always what they seem. For this body of work Street punctures holes revealing the gestures’ capability to adapt to and manipulate to our interpretation, folding the suspension of disbelief back on itself while opening up the surface of painting to reveal its inner workings.
The Black Hole Paintings are named after stars whose names have frequently appeared in fiction; they are fantastic, psychedelic time capsules holding clues to the history of painting and the personal movements of the artist. Each painting is wrapped in black nylon with holes cut or punched through revealing layers of painted hosiery. These hosiery layers are artifacts of a private performative act in which the artist wraps herself in hosiery material to enact a series of precise body positions (which she recorded while sleeping) into pools of acrylic paint on a canvas. The impression made by this act creates a positive and a negative and her mark making appears photographic. The negative on the hosiery is then reassembled onto stretchers and the artist considers them to be portraits of the paintings themselves. Street’s gravitational configurations of painted hosiery inside black veils of nylon evoke ideas of masking, deception, sexuality, duration, and adaptation, but these objects of action also point to the act of peering through a camera’s eye piece—cropping and editing out the unnecessary to get to the heart of being a maker.
The bronze Collars hinge on the ability of the same exact object to transform human interpretation with the slightest altering of a gesture. When tilted up at the height of the viewer, the collar acts as a stand in for the power of a leader when unaltered and flat the collar is clown- like. The installation, Carving 100 now 6 in my bed, with all of its tension and emotional bravado is a risky and tenuous sculpture that points to the duration of painting. The soapstone rocks that hold 100 bronze candles have a history of form and function; they were once used to carve jewelry and weapons by the Cherokee Indians in the Appalachian Mountains where the artist grew up.
A Vulgar Proof in Elizabethan English means a common experience. All the objects in the show are filled with the gestures of making, masking and revealing. We, as the audience, feel familiarity— even in the strangest moments. The work ignites a conversation with eccentric abstraction, feminism, the performative and the informel, while occupying a new space. These paintings and sculptures are psychologically charged vestiges of personal narratives and painting tricks that create a visceral empathy where the tension between object, narrative, and illusion come together in a cohesive, yet mysterious experience for Streetʼs audience.