“Handmade Abstract” brings abstraction as an artistic concept into the physical realm in this group show at BRIC. In this exhibition, 13 artists use a range of materials from photography to sculpture to video, along with a fair amount of textile, to embrace the abstract in unexpectedly tangible ways. In contrast to the legacy of abstraction in art as transcendent or pure, the dense exhibition includes work that is intricate, colorful, and sensory. All the works evidence the hand that made them and evoke the senses.
Case in point: a wall of works by LoVid, a pair of artists (Tali Hinkis, Kyle Lapidus) who draw a parallel between digital editing and sewing. One large screen and two iPads display what seem like colorful “glitches”–the point where computer programs come apart at the seams and go buggy on you. Analog video recordings are edited into single-channel pieces that then become the basis for images used to create patterned fabric. From this fabric, LoVid creates stuffed figurines that hang like taxidermied animals from pegs on the wall, creating digital art that is awkward instead of glossy, whose shapes are uneven and bulging rather than geometric.
Although all the artists in this exhibition are engaged with making the abstract tactile, LoVid renders the cold realm of technology more intimate, human, and fallible. While in the videos the “hand” doing the editing is necessarily unseen, these stuffed objects provide the opposite–showing the hand stitch by stitch and thus recalling time and labor. Hinkis says in an interview with curator Jenny Gerow that this DIY, handmade aesthetic feels both more human and more true to the artists’ experience of technology: “That is our narrative of media art, the era of glitch and handmade analog mess ups.”
“Handmade Abstract” is curated by Elizabeth Ferrer and Jenny Gerow and features the work of Katie Bell, Maria Chavez, Michelle Forsyth, Carl E. Hazlewood, LoVid, Marisa Manso, Lael Marshall, Christian Maychack, Leeza Meksin, Liz Nielsen, Courtney Puckett, Mary Schwab, and Lizzie Scott.
Check it out while it’s still up–now through Sunday, October 25 at BRIC in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.