With three enormous mouths he gapes; and straight,
With hunger press'd, devours the pleasing bait.
-Virgil, Aeneid trans. John Dryden (1687)
Cerberus, the three-headed dog that guards the underworld, is a 'monstrous hybrid.' Or, as Plato put it, "one of those natures...that are told of many forms grown together in one." It is the ultimate figure of transition, literally marking the boundary between life and death, and is also, as Boccaccio noted in his commentary on Dante 600 years ago, the symbol of unsatisfiable consumption. This mythological beast connects conceptual threads throughout the work of Jarrett Earnest, Leigha Mason and Whitney Vangrin, as they form another curious hybrid-a three-person exhibition.
This exhibition of individual works comes on the heels of a successful year of collaboration between these three artists and Alex Sloane. Together they founded 1:1 on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, a project space where every aspect of exhibiting and discussing art was self-consciously subject to aesthetic decisions. In addition to individual works by all three, there will be an installation of images and media from the first year of 1:1 projects.
Jarrett Earnest is a writer and artist, presently working on a book of images and text dealing with the aesthetics of intimacy. The objects in Cerberus are an extension of this project, mostly made with smoke and honey between glass, as well as drawings on velvet and paper. The "tongue" and "flame" are polysemic emblems of Earnest's work and explore his interest in the "presentness" of consumption/consummation. The work included in Cerberus is in direct dialog with the French philosopher Gaston Bachelard, particularly his three little known books on fire.
Leigha Mason is a painter and filmmaker. This exhibition features excerpts from her EXPULSIONS series. Mason is interested in the physical manifestations of the body within its social contexts: at times a diseased vessel in revolt, a mutable flesh within a mythological narrative, or a consumptive organ growing at the world's expense. Her paintings and printed film-stills play on the tension between seduction and repulsion, struggle and leisure. Mason's imagery includes Dionysian Banquets (with fruits and vegetables in various stages of freshness and decay), landscapes (desert, volcano, glaciers, caves, ice), and the human body. The work shown in Cerberus reflects revisiting the desert where Mason was raised, living with chronic illness, and being stabbed in the chest while traveling in Athens, Greece.
Whitney Vangrin is a sculptor and performance artist. She will show selected artifacts from her recently completed performance trilogy Blood, Sweat, & Tears (2012-2013), a physical meditation on the rituals, reality, and most significantly materiality of bleeding, sweating, and crying. Her work hinges on questions of affect, material, and the female body. Through the execution of intense regimentation and self-imposed physical challenges, her performances offer a strange combination of anxiety and spirituality. She will also show new and highly material sculptures made of salt, foam, sand, and tar.