The Right Margin
November 18, 2016 - January 29, 2017
Joshua Caleb Weibley
Small Editions is pleased to present The Right Margin, a group exhibition curated by Alt Esc, featuring the works of Joshua Caleb Weibley, Katie Pennachio, and Andy Ralph.
“Obviously a drawing of a person is not a real person, but a drawing of a line is a real line.” – Sol Lewitt
“The idea behind digital computers may be explained by saying that these machines are intended to carry out any operations which could be done by a human computer.” – Alan Turing
The rounded right margin is a theory that suggests one way to tell a difference between a machine-made mark versus a man-made mark is humans’ inclination to round their letters towards the right margin as an attempt to compensate for the irregularity of their written words and the spaces between them. We have achieved the technology that can monetize man’s unpredictability for the purpose of replicating personalized objects. There is a constant thirst to continue duplicating and recreating for self-improvement, preservation, and an unreachable ideal. The way we consume and digest information, the way we exude it, and the way we leave our prints, is in constant flux. The question posed is how do we maintain our singularity, our human presence, in a time when a perfect version of ourselves is more sought after? And what happens when we start seeking to replicate the mark that is left upon us by machines? In a time when a digitized ideal is sought after, and authenticity is trumped by a coded paradigm, what does a man-made mark really stand for?
Katie Pennachio’s delicate paintings draw from digital interfaces and the unnatural beauty in our tech-infused culture. The geometric forms of Excel sheets, overlapping windows and graphed lines are recurring structures within her work. She brings these ideas into painting with tactile lines and deliberate color sets. The programs meant to format daily office culture, become digested and re-appropriated into vibrant linear compositions.
Andy Ralph is a technician and mechanic. He removes parts of everyday objects, manipulating and transforming them into his conglomerates and objects, which also abide by his own set of rules. In Yield & Purge, he folds steel posts into the shape of a street sign, and hand drills holes into them to recreate an illusion of a familiar everyday object. Like a telephone switchboard that creates an antagonistic feedback loop, the hand-drilled inputs/outputs reveal the monotony of industrialized processes.
In Joshua Caleb Weibley’s Animal drawings, he meticulously draws the covers of the O’Reilly Media’s books – a series of standard guides for programming and coding language. The O’Reilly covers feature appropriated 19th-century engravings of animals, each one tied to the books’ selection of technical subjects through visual and linguistic jokes. This pairing of the guides to the improvement of technology, with the subtlety of humor only detectable by humans, is an interesting dichotomy metaphor for the relationship between man and machines. Weibley’s representation of the O’Reilly title Mastering the Bitcoin is comprised of four drawings in cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. Since each panel is merely the same image repeated in different inks, they do not cohere into a single image. In this, their reference to print colors playfully gestures towards literalizing the drawings’ analogy of drawing to printing while also daftly comparing private bitcoin mining to counterfeiting one’s own money. Tabs in the bottom of each drawing’s frame allude to printer cartridges, while satirizing the idea of customizability. Weibley elevates this idea by hand-drawing the covers to an exact replica, worthy of the finest machine, but maintaining the human touch in every sense.
This exhibition was organized by Alt Esc (Irina Makarova and Alison Sirico), Small Editions’ 2016/2017 Curators-in-Residence.