July 29 - September 10, 2017
Small Editions is pleased to present Paperless, a group exhibition featuring the works of Max Fowler and Rachel Haberstroh, Sujin Lee, and Nyeema Morgan. In conjunction with the exhibition, Benjamin Santiago will perform “ligg-ehn ah-figgy” on the evening of August 18th at 7PM. Public viewing hours noon – 5pm Monday through Friday and Saturday 3-6pm.
Paperless. What traces are left when we burn our words, allow them to dissolve? What do we hear in the silence of a pause or a period? Although silence, redaction, and erasure emerge as different forms of not-knowing, each divulges a narrative. Omissions are never necessarily mistakes and redactions are proof that nothing can truly be unsaid; we read these grey boxes like expressions or inflections of voice, as palpable and revealing as lips parted to speak. Haberstrah and Fowler, Morgan, and Lee create rhythms in the transparency of strike-throughs and the opaqueness of the backspace, leaving the lines between to speak volumes. Through this work the apparent violence of erasure becomes a means of continuing to converse.
Rachel Haberstroh and Max Fowler’s Infinite Wishing Well (2016) is fed by a twitter account that periodically retweets wishes sourced from across the media platform. As printed tweets unfurl directly into a clear basin of water, the Well realizes these dreams for only so long as it takes for paper and ink to dissolve. Nyeema Morgan’s Forty-Seven Easy Poundcakes Like grandma Use To Make (2007-2012) layers the titular recipes in different configurations with each other and with the actual recipe that Morgan’s grandmother habitually baked. The resultant brambles of text are illegible instructions that compel action without allowing for it. In these constellations that burn out in an excess of ink, Morgan illustrates the attempt to achieve a quality that no permutation of these recipes can teach. Sujin Lee enacts a similarly futile struggle in This Voice (2013), attempting to articulate the character of another voice. Lee’s own tones and expressions become as a redolent mirror to those of the other individual, who grows increasingly abstract in the subjectiveness of this description. In overwriting their subjects, Morgan and Lee express how unfit are our words when confronted by the ineffable, by the human.”
These works test the failures of communication, from social forums to private notation. Although destructive in nature, the gestures themselves become new loci of speech. Set at the beginning of this curatorial project, this exhibition acknowledges the moments when words are insufficient; the two following shows will find ways of making do without.
Max Fowler is an artist and programmer living in Brooklyn. His work involves open source software and interactive installations often with the intent to criticize technical infrastructure. He is currently working on a civic tech collaboration http://callparty.org and participating in Cyborg Futures.
Rachel Haberstroh is an artist, writer, and researcher based in NYC. She enjoys playing with light, building games, directing faux exercise videos and developing interdisciplinary curricula. She is one half of Wavy Dash, a loving administrator to Millennial Focus Group, and an education programmer at Pioneer Works. Her work has recently been shown at Flux Factory and the Wassaic Project.
Sujin Lee makes work about language using a combination of text, video and performance. She was awarded artist residencies from the Millay Colony for the Arts, Blue Mountain Center, I-Park, Newark Museum, and Zarya Center for Contemporary Art. She participated in the Artist in the Marketplace program at the Bronx Museum of Art and the Emerge Program at Aljira. She was selected as a Robert W. Simpson Fellow at Millay Colony in 2009 and an A.I.R. Gallery Fellow in 2012. Lee exhibits internationally.
Nyeema Morgan is a New York based interdisciplinary artist. Through her references to familiar artifacts Morgan’s conceptually layered works address authorship and the intersections between personal and cultural economies of knowledge. Her works have been exhibited nationally and internationally at Art in General (NY), The Drawing Center (NY), CSS Galleries at BARD College (NY), The Studio Museum in Harlem (NY), The Bindery Projects (St. Paul, MN) and Galerie Jean Roche Dard (Paris, France). Morgan has been the recipient of awards from the Joan Mitchell Foundation, the Art Matters Foundation and residencies at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (ME), Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (NY) and Smack Mellon (NY). Her work has been reviewed and featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and ArtForum. She earned her MFA from the California College of the Arts and a BFA from the Cooper Union School of Art where she is currently an instructor.
Benjamin Santiago is a multidisciplinary performance artist currently residing in Ridgewood, New York. He graduated from the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art (when it was free) and the Cranbrook Academy of Art in the 2D department under Artist-in-Residence, Elliott Earls. Benjamin Santiago’s work includes performance, pranks, lectures, animation and hacked Super Nintendo games. He once purchased a copy of the kung-fu movie Survival of a Dragon only to find that the VHS contained in the packaging was, in fact, the “z-grade” “martial arts” “movie” Ninja Empire directed by the notorious Godfrey Ho. It was a very formative experience. Benjamin Santiago has performed alongside, or in close geographic and temporal proximity to artists and musicians like Jaime Warren, The Fall of Troy, and DJ Rupture. Benjamin Santiago is half-Filipino and half-Puerto Rican, but speaks neither Tagalog or Spanish, respectively. His most current body of work is a set of performances and videos in Spaundou, a language of his own design. One of his performances was named a “Must See Event” in Art F City. Benjamin Santiago has spoken about his work at Cranbrook Academy of Art, Wayne State University, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Kunstlerhaus Bethanien.