STRAY is an exhibition that brings together five artists who are re-contextualizing the human body and the ways it is affected in the contemporary technological era; Kelly Akashi, Ivana Bašić, Hayden Dunham, Marguerite Humeau, and Pamela Rosenkranz. STRAY is curated by Tiffany Zabludowicz. It is located on the 14th floor of an office building in Times Square, with sweeping views of the iconic city center. Artists in this exhibition explore what it means to have a human body in the contemporary world by depicting abstract sculptural suggestions of flesh that is in flow or transition. Flesh is fleeting, and authority over one’s own skin is in question in an age where the body can be commodified, observed, edited, augmented, and frozen. This exhibition operates within the context of contemporary artists’ interests in animism, biochemistry, and materialism. Works are connected to the architecture of the exhibition space, infiltrating the atmosphere in at times imperceptible ways.
In Ivana Bašić’s installation, Through the hum of black velvet sleep, alien-like figures emerge from metallic egg shells, like fetuses emerging from their mother’s womb. Each figure is accompanied by A thousand years ago 10 seconds of breath were 40 grams of dust, where marble blocks are pound to dust. This process of deterioration suggests temporality of life in the face of a long term interpretation of history. The regular resounding bang of the mechanism hitting the marble forms functions in lieu of a clock marking the movement of time. The dust then enters the atmosphere of the gallery taking on a new presence in the exhibition space.
Digital Desert II by Marguerite Humeau is part of her RIDDLES series in which she connects the beginning of human history to the present, highlighting a lineage from the ancient sphinx to today’s surveillance technology. The lights of Times Square penetrate the translucent three-part folding screen. The work is a juxtaposition; the print is a drone’s view of the world when it is pursuing a target and it is also used for military use to avoid detection from drones. Flesh colored barbed totems are shaped from anti climbing spikes designed to keep people away yet at the bottom of the sculpture the remains of the subject lie in grave- like slabs.
Pamela Rosenkranz’ No One's Expression; No One's Impression (diptych) takes from and simultaneously undermines Yves Klein’s Anthropométries from the early sixties. Rosenkranz prefers skin color to Yves Klein’s blue, as she sees the overuse of skin color in advertising as a tool to pull consumers’ attention. The use of terry cloth, or toweling fabric, as a canvas alludes to direct bodily contact. This continues Rosenkranz’ research into psychological associations and biochemical processes or environments that humans are subject to.
Hayden Dunham’s milky white GEL, spills across the floor. The work incorporates a product created by the artist which can exist in liquid, solid, or vaporous form. She works with the same silicon used for medicinal purposes. In WELT she has used activated charcoal, which when ingested absorbs everything on its route through the body. Her sculptures are self-contained systems and are mutable, expanding and contracting constantly.
Kelly Akashi uses temporal materials, such as wax or glass, whose form is also dependent upon temperature and time. In Spirals, fingers of candle wax cast in bronze swirl on plush pink pillows like a snake rearing its head. It rests comfortably but its mutability is ensured by its material makeup. Just as blowing glass requires capturing air, which exists in the world for moments, lost-wax casts of her hands capture a fleeting moment in time.