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Vernon Gardens is not a garden at all—in fact, Vernon, CA is the opposite of a garden. It is a manufacturing hub where raw nature is transformed into objects. Here, objects are the final moment of the process of production, cocooned in packaging and wrapped in advertising. Amidst the warehouses and invisible gases of industry sits Vernon Gardens, a new project space by Zully Adler and Ben Wolf Noam. Their current exhibition, Things Themselves, displays sculptures and works on paper that are not to be seen strictly as objects, but, rather, as things. The hope of these things is that they lie just beyond the grasps of determination, quivering between concept and object.
In form, these things appear as the dénouement of organic process, with the frozen quality of a chemical reaction run dry. In Miles Coolidge’s works, photography is reduced to its most basic elements by dropping light-sensitive chemicals on chromatography paper. The chemicals forever spread through the paper’s fibers and slowly shift in color with the ambient light. They are chaos, controlled. Similarly, Alice Ewing’s wall works are the haunted shells of oil paintings dipped in bronze. In these works, paintings, the most collected and concatenated of art objects, are transformed into voiceless screams, reminiscent of Han Solo trapped in carbonite.
Things Themselves turns a cheek to the question of what-the-art-object-might-be with a collection of artworks that leave open the loop of understanding. Their goopy yet crystalline forms invoke a nature from another planet, and remind us how unnatural, how alien, the manufactured objects of our world can be.
Things Themselves runs from September 17-October 29. 2016 at Vernon Gardens (3834 South Santa Fe Avenue, Vernon, CA 90058). Contact Zully Adler at email@example.com for an appointment.