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Holla Holla Holla (2020), 12 feet x 9 feet x 3 feet installation, painted and collaged church fans, acrylic, inkjet prints, string

Holla Holla Holla is a large-scale corner installation consisting of over 100 painted and resurfaced church fans that appear to float in the air. These fans refer to the origins of the civil rights racial justice movement centered in the Black church, and its overlap into the contemporary context of recent public outcry.  

Barnes is interested in the potential of objects to speak about  the human condition. More specifically, she explores the intersections of form, language and history, i.e. the way history (personal and political)  and language can be embedded in visual form in such a way that they reverberate to the present. The church fans, initially encoded as female, can also be thought to “fan the flames” or recall demonstration placards, especially as their handles point downwards, ready to be grabbed. In the title Holla Holla Holla we can even “hear” the sound of call-and-response used by hip hop performers, as well as preachers and protest marches alike. 

Here we have a representation of 3 dimensions with 2-dimensional objects, employing tenets of both analytical cubism (breaking down a whole into fragments) and synthetic cubism (flattening out the whole with no reference to space) in the sense that we actually experience the sculpture as a photograph. The result is an installation, composed of modular units, that explodes and implodes representing simultaneously unity and fragmentation. It traverses the distance from form, to content, and back to form in a poetics of materiality.

Sharon Barnes

February 1-March 30, 2021

The red pulpy “growth” in and around the Proxy gallery seems to be dissolving the neat white cube of the gallery. Paradoxically, it is made of soft red material, creating a contrast between the industrialized white box, and  the holes through the walls, eating away at the gallery's edges. The sculpture resembles bloody organs  or some other kind of mold or organic matter. It raises the question of interiority or exteriority. Is it a growth like mold that comes out of the gallery "walls” or is it an external virus that is invading the space? It could be both. 

It is common to understand “institutional critique” as some sort of adversarial comment on the gallery system; we see the gallery system as straight, rigid and cold, and artwork as pliable, warm and authentic.  

But what if the gallery itself breaks out in hives of rage producing mental and physical instability? Is the sculpture supporting the box, or the box containing the sculpture? Should we understand this as a corrosion or a healing? 

The context of the global pandemic and worldwide protests make sense here in terms of the instability reflected in this work. It is possible that uncertainty itself leads to change, a different future.

Matt Hollis

April 10 - May 30, 2021

Video in tablet 00:01:57 color, sound

The artist wrote out phonetically the U.S. oath of citizenship in her mother language (Korean), and now reads it aloud. People who live in the U.S. but haven't yet learned English do this often, using their own language to write out what words sound like and then reading them aloud.

Kwon invited participants whose mother tongue is other than English to write the Oath of Citizenship phonetically in their mother language. She subtitled the videos collected by each different language : Vietnamese, Spanish, Korean, Greek, German, French, Japanese, Hebrew, Italian, Hindi, Telugu . The time span when this work has been created, between February 19, 2020 and May 11, 2021,  affects its reception: It is a time of a worldwide pandemic and a time of unprecedented rise in xenophobic and racist incidents together with protests and actions of resistance.  

The oath of citizenship in the US is par excellence a performative speech event: on the designated day you have to be there physically and you have to move your lips and repeat the words; otherwise you cannot become a citizen.

Kwon's video performance calls attention to the many layers hidden inside this important ceremony: the foreign accent embedded in the speaking of English, the study of the constitution, and, most importantly, the disavowal of allegiance to one's country of origin, and the felt ambivalence therein. Moreover, Sojung Kwon, standing on a rooftop against a clear sky, reads aloud the written phonetic transcriptions in other languages, thus ventriloquizing other accents inevitably filtered through her Korean accent and also showing the contradictions of what one is reading, writing and listening to. In that sense, the subtitles perform the double duty of being the "script" for the artist and a visual cue to the viewer that is both revealing and opaque.

These videos are available on youtube at the following links:

Video Links :
Phonetically Subtitled in Korean _ 
Phonetically Subtitled in French _
Phonetically Subtitled in Vietnamese _
Phonetically Subtitled in Spanish _
Phonetically Subtitled in Japanese_
Phonetically Subtitled in German _
Phonetically Subtitled in Greek _
Phonetically Subtitled in Hebrew_
Phonetically Subtitled in Italian_
Phonetically Subtitled in Hindi_
Phonetically Subtitled in Telugu_

Sojung Kwon

May 12-June 12, 2021

We are Here, Together employs language in multiple manifestations. Some of the slogan-like phrases are painted, drawn on paper, embroidered on canvas, traced. The language is full of floating or empty signifiers: words such as I, you, your, we, here, are highly variable and mean different things to different people. Moreover, there are languages we may not understand, but we do recognize their written appearance: Spanish, Yiddish, Arabic, Japanese, Hebrew.

 One particular piece, We Are Not Your Pawns, consists of language in English and Hebrew on fabric embroidered with the unraveled yarn from a sweater knit by the artist’s great grandmother. The yarn and canvas are the same color and tonality, emphasizing the need for the statement when people feel unseen or unconsidered. What remains of the light brown sweater is also exhibited. A “yarn” is also a story, and Jaquis makes full use of the associations of weaving, knitting, and embroidery for women to express and pass on their histories through their labor.

Here the act of reading is not neutral (e.g. in a book) but linked to specific visual form and material.  It is through this complexity that the artist makes full use of the semantic, historical and political manifestations of language and heritage highlighting the multiple identifications of each of us and urging the viewer to consider our position vis-a-vis here, and together.

Michele Jaquis

June 1-June 30

“Harvest Moon Jar” is inspired by a type of traditional Korean white porcelain vessel called a Moon Jar.  The name came from the shape of the vessel which resembles a full moon. They were used for flowers, wine, as well as for ritual and votive.

 Kanayama created seven Moon Jars celebrating the fall harvest moon. There is a traditional Asian celebration of the harvest full moon night in the fall that usually happens between September 7th to October 8th. It is supposed to be the most beautiful moon of the year and people view it while celebrating the fall harvest. 

The kiln of the moon jars was fired on September 20th, during the night of the full moon. It was Kanayama's way of celebrating the harvest full moon. To make the Moon Jars she followed the traditional method of joining together two hemispherical halves in the middle to create a round moon shape. Moon jars were often glazed plain white or clear, with no surface decorations, but Kanayama incorporated on the surface of the jars her memories of the harvest full moon festival from her childhood by using colorful glazes and decorations.

The work and its particular installation call attention to the exhibition experienced as two dimensional photography and to the inability of the viewer to walk around the sculpture inside the Proxy Gallery box(es).  To make the jars more performative, Kanayama also placed a small light inside each vessel which projects a moon shape spotlight on the ceiling of the box. Indeed the simultaneous exhibition of 7 Moon Jars in 7 boxes recalls stages of the moon, i.e. the same object in different positions, versus different objects.  In a gesture of defiance against the static boxes, and to create a 360-degree viewing experience, there is a small disc device attached to the bottom of each jar so that the viewers can manually rotate each Moon Jar.   Since the viewer can only see the exhibition online, Kanayama includes here videos of her own hand spinning the jars. She thus engages a formal interplay of sculpture, photography, performance and video, engaging the limitations and freedoms of the Proxy Gallery.

Yoko Kanayama

October 8 -November 30, 2021

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