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In the classic country song “Lookin’ for Love,” singer Johnny Lee bemoans his inability to find the connection he desires, caught, as he is, in a pattern of searching “in all the wrong places.” Liquid Love, a group exhibition currently on view at Gas, explores what the modern-day catalogue of the all the wrong places might be, using digital technology, pornography, and social media as starting points for critique.
Ann Hirsch’s Dancers in the Dark (2017) splices together pornographic found footage of women dancing seductively, producing a fetish-style video that might pop up on an internet search for “amateur striptease.” While one could expect such salacious content to be distracting, enticing or even embarrassing, the proliferation and redundancy of these types of images on the internet renders the piece strikingly easy to ignore. In contrast, the audio spoken from Kathy Cho’s optically sparse yet content-rich Yuna (2017) fills the gallery. The piece’s visual element consists solely of a black background with white text and relays fragmented observations from Cho’s Twitter feed, a combination of diaristic musings on everyday life and her often cringe-worthy experiences in the art world.
Compounding the emotional immediacy and potential awkwardness of an exhibition with such visceral content, Gas measures in at a minuscule eight by ten feet of gallery space located in the back of a 1993 Chevrolet P30 step van. Working within these constraints, owner Ceci Moss utilizes every inch available for this exhibition, going so far as to wear one of the artworks—a commissioned piece from the jewelry line Small Things—as an earring throughout the run of the show. A long string of grotesquely colorful hands and mouths dangle from Moss’ ear and cling desperately to each other; the handcrafted polymer clay piece forms a fitting emblem for the collective desires and fears that fuel the show. More missed connections than matches, more cruelty than forgiveness, Liquid Love presents modern day romance as a tenuous combination of technological manipulation and narcissistic mirage.