topian gardens

topian gardens

The garden serves as a model of the topian, a space that contains within it both the potential for nonexistent perfection that runs parallel to reality, as well as the horrors of rampant overgrowth and choked out suns. Human intervention, curation and aestheticization suggest a symbiotic relationship between humanity and nature, but the relationship is one of identity. Humanity is nature. Representations included in this exhibition range from the technofuturist to the escapist, from the corporeal to the disembodied, and reveal that the lines of delineation between utopia and dystopia are far from easily defined. Yet the garden remains the ideal site, an interactive space in which artistic histories and the natural world converge. Topian Gardens juxtaposes works which affirm our role as gardener to those which negate our very presence, imagining what the unregulated garden could become. Ben Tong’s sculptural installation, inspired by a dream sequence in Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1979 film Stalker, presents an encapsulated still life of apocalyptic detritus. Questioning how debris ages in the absence of its creators, Marian Tubbs considers the effects which a similar event would have on the cloud, visualizing the jumbled slop of a future in which the algorithms holding the digital together stop computing. Sharing this concern for the overflow of digital imagery, Carter Mull reinserts the artist into the foreground of the image economy, emulating the visual language of fashion houses and ad agencies to investigate product and desire, surface and sign, nature and artifice. Arocha & Schraenen’s site-responsive installation Trap stages reflective plexiglass surfaces propped by obscured objects found in Shanghai neighborhoods, while their nearby prints provide a base of visual accumulation. Salomón Huerta’s paintings and Evie O’Connor’s plates revel in the formal landscape tradition while resisting the trap of mimesis. Anglo-Saxon, a hybrid ceramic by Nova Jiang, is a sculptural counterpart to Daniel García’s still lifes, pairing floral arrangements and delicate porcelain with macabre details. In its withholding opacity, Margaret Haines’ looping video imagines the body caught in GIF stasis while Douglas Rieger‘s freestanding sculpture welcomes the abjection of sexuality and the tactility of handmade materials. Felix Beaudry’s beefy t-shirt provides a muscular, tactile counterpoint to Faye Wei Wei ‘s mysterious faces floating on butterfly wings and surveying the room with bemused detachment. With uploaded consciousness just around the corner, bodies and earth come to look increasingly like hosts. A place without occupants, a window sill for potted plants. Lesley Moon runs her quadruplicate body through surveilled exercise as Nik Kosmas’ triptych marks the last grips of human bones, available while supplies last.

topian gardens

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