February 23 – March 31, 2018
Curated by Mik Gaspay
Artists: Luca Antonucci, Simone Bailey, Chiraag Bhakta, Katie Dorame, Bean Gilsdorf, Matthew R. Gordon, Maria Capron Guzman, David Kasprzak, Charlie Leese, Brandon Walls Olsen, George Pfau, Jonathan Runcio, Lisa Jonas Taylor
Southern Exposure presents Spirited Probabilities, a group exhibition curated by Mik Gaspay, inviting and provoking artists to engage directly with the physical structure of Southern Exposure. The artists of Spirited Probabilities examine the possibilities of the space and provide chance outcomes through playful interventions.
Gaspay, a member of Southern Exposure’s Curatorial Council, is an interdisciplinary artist, curator, and designer. He approached the exhibition as an opportunity to talk with Bay Area artists about the flexibility of institutional structures and their physical architectures. Using Southern Exposure’s building as a prompt, they query what the space is able to contain. In some cases, the artists have created works for spaces not normally used for exhibition.
Thresholds—notions of overstepping or navigating edges and boundaries—are a recurring concept in the exhibition. Simone Bailey paints images in lanolin—in its raw form, as well as mixed with cayenne and activated charcoal—on the large window wall on Alabama Street, transforming the natural light that enters the space every afternoon. Lisa Jonas Taylor groups low platforms, sculptures, and piled materials on the floor as if a horizontal painting. The arrangement is illuminated with colored floodlights controlled by a motion sensor outside the building; day and night, the movements of passersby will activate the lights.
Several of the artists navigate the realm between physical and imagined space. Luca Antonucci presents an installation of photographic images sourced from narrative films that take place in San Francisco, or other locations shot to appear as San Francisco. Spanning the gallery space into the bathroom foyer, Charlie Leese’s sculptural installation plays with architectural hierarchies and overlapping physical and digital spaces. At a table with a desk lamp, George Pfau’s installation invites gallery visitors to sit and leaf through a book of black-and-white drawings of imagined or dream narratives. The drawings investigate how black lines can be used to circumscribe boundaries between things; in particular, the porousness between bodies and their environment.
Others bring attention to areas of the space that are typically unseen: either beneath notice or deliberately ignored. A large textile sculpture by Maria Capron Guzman clings possessively to a structural column in the center of the gallery, while David Kasprzak’s intervention into the building’s emergency lighting system injects humor into an imagined crisis scenario.
Katie Dorame shows a rotating series of paintings in various states of completion over the course of the exhibition: first revealing underpainting, sketchiness, and bare bones, then adding playful details that polish and present the elusive finished painting. Jonathan Runcio installs wall sculptures in direct response to the work of the other artists in the exhibition. Chiraag Bhakta considers the permeability of identity and our relationships to institutions, collecting and layering visual ephemera to build upon the themes of hybridity, history, and popular culture. His installation directly on the walls of Southern Exposure explores ways in which dominant culture acts as a colonizing force in ways large and small.
Newly commissioned texts by Bean Gilsdorf and Matthew R. Gordon, risographed alongside new artwork by Brandon Walls Olsen, are available as a takeaway.