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A zen-like attitude toward process, both in curation and artmaking, is the undercurrent in Conceding, our eyes shift, a group exhibition at Basement Projects in the historic Santora Arts Building in downtown Santa Ana. Though work was chosen intuitively and without a unifying theme, commonalities emerge between methods and materials and coalesce organically. Though, this looseness also distracts, laying the connective labor at the feet of the viewer.
A visual language of domestic interior space ties the room together. In Laguna Approximation (2017) by Anna Breininger, a rectangle of white trim moulding borders a half moon of pale shag carpet airbrushed with a floral pattern that is loosened by the carpet’s deep pile. The flower motif repeats in Megan Mueller’s Thin Places (2016), a tall sloping ramp wrapped in inkjet prints of scanned flowers arranged in a Baroque-like design. Jenalee Harmon’s Time Well Spent (2016), features two wavy peach-colored frames whose parallel shapes match the malleable materials in the photographic prints they hold: burning candles gripped in fists pop through satin fabric and let the wax drip over knuckles. It’s as if the frames have melted around the heat cast from the image.
Patterning is a common thread throughout the basement. Joshua Petker’s wild and saturated paintings (Going up the Country and Purple Haze, both 2017), offset the fuzzy, Magic-Eye quality of Harvey Opgenorth’s painting set Interfering Ambivalence (2016). Thin wooden sculptures by Josh Atlas (Stacks (4);Stacks (5); Mounds (3); Mounds (7), all 2017) stretch spine-like along the walls each with three paper shapes skewered along the vertical length of wooden sticks. The repetition of the four sculptures pattern the walls throughout the exhibit.
There’s a spiritual nature to conceding, both in making and looking. The work in Conceding is an exploration of patterning and its propensity to both organize and convolute visual motifs. Here, cleaner compositions feel resolved where busier ones disorient making for a dynamic but disjointed relationship where the latter relies on the former for cohesion.
Conceding, our eyes shift runs October 7–27, 2017 at Basement Projects (207 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, CA 92701).