All Our Tomorrows
CURATED by Scott Patrick Wiener
November 9th - December 14th, 2013
Opening Reception Saturday November 9th from 6-8pm
Proof Gallery is pleased to present All Our Tomorrows and Yesterdays. an exhibition organized by Scott Patrick Wiener.
History is a malleable enterprise subject to the whims and desires of its writers. In this process, photographs become enunciations of the selected truths we use to inform ourselves about the past. The artists in this exhibition prefer another move: through intense investigations of the present, the included paintings, drawings, objects and narratives fold imagined pasts and futures back onto today. We are implicated in the invented politics, photo-based colors, and historical frameworks that remain recognizable in paint, pencil and assemblage.
As an alternative to the stipulations of photographs and their supporting texts, the brush, pencil and object can enact the past (remains) and future (results) as an alternative model for understanding the present (or as yet unfixed history). Instead of relying on the assertion of technological record, they imagine what never was or what may not be. The works presented here are revisions to what is already known. They examine conditions such as dread, cynicism, apathy, hope, fear—all of which are apparent in the constant flow of information we call history. Susan Sontag once noted that the constant flow of technological imagery produces 'collective instruction', not collective memory. Using the flow of image-based information in history as their point of departure, the artists here fabricate memory in both forward and backward orientations, compromising the familiar politics of historical determinism.
Sean Downey superimposes the past on the present using signifiers of archaic and contemporary photographic imagery in his paintings. Within each work heself-consciously refashions a history of an American past as frustrated, temporally uncertain and altogether possible should one imagine it so. These excerpts fragment and disrupt expectations of familiar narratives based largely on the photographic traditions that the works reference but do not recreate.
Eric Petitti takes the present as his point of departure to commemorate a dystopian future, which appears to have already come to pass through a museological presentation of drawings, artifacts and texts. Navigating these "documents" one discovers that the information presented often contradicts itself, underscoring the flexibility of historical narratives via text and image. Each work proceeds to shape and reshape a history and politics of the present as disrupted and inadequate resulting in the pencil-to-paper approach for its re-characterization as a "virtual memorial of a fictitious future."
Mary Mattingly's work for this exhibition is the physical manifestation of the past and future collapsing onto the present, which results in both a rehearsal for and actualization of a spherical collection of her belongings. These remnants of the past begin with drawings and ultimately become a physical, sculptural form that indicates the utilitarian failure of the collection's future. This large mass has been demonstrated to have no practical use (see here: http://tinyurl.com/qfajxwz) and ultimately becomes an absurd proposition; a symptom of anxiety for a past bulk of objects that were once useful and a future where the mass is nothing more than a physical burden.