Saturday, October 20, 2012

Dumbo Arts Center in conversation with Caryn Coleman

Dumbo Arts Center:

Each piece varies not only in subject matter, but in its level of audacity in presentation. How does the boldness of Cliteracy or the unassuming nature of ...i wanna go home... relate to the way we would typically consider the topics they discuss?

Caryn Coleman: 
In terms of those two specific works, Sophia Wallace and John Lee address the language of the law in a textual and personal way with each work encapsulating how "laws" present themselves in our daily lives; always present, sometimes foreboding, sometimes barely noticeable. Where they differ the greatest is the manner in which the viewer is interacts or "reads" the pieces: Wallace's wall of laws in Cliteracy is intended to be a presence that commands attention whereas the diminutive nature of Lee's ...i wanna go home... demands a more intimate reading. Make no mistake though, regardless of size, each artwork is powerful in its language and nature. Though Lee's ...i wanna go home... may be smaller, it still has a ton of bite. And while Wallace's Cliteracy make be larger, it embodies a heartfelt, personal message.

There seems to be a sense of expansiveness through much of the work, whether represented through the length of video in Magic Acid Video Crash Feet or the mass of paper and stone in The Size of a Will. Would it be fair to say the expansiveness of each piece represents the complexity of each issue? And, at what point were you confident in what you chose to exclude from the artwork, to still reflect that complexity?

As the curator I wasn't involved in the decision to exclude any element in the artists' work however I can say that, in regards to these two particular artworks, the choice in which Alex Snukal and Diana Shpungin made to represent their individual explorations in terms of "expansiveness" was appropriate to their aims. Snukal's artistic practice continuously deals with the durational and the context of the surrounding space. So that Magic Acid Video Crash Feet deals with the notion of subcultural cycles and reproduction in music production as a performance, its eight-hour length seems to embody this idea of life/trends being constantly manipulated, changing, enduring. The Size of a Will tackles a more sensitive notion of a life cycle by representing the seemingly unending amount of paperwork (the legalities) people must deal with when a family member or friend passes away.