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Maya Beaudry, Nadya Isabella, Yifan Jiang, Chad Murray, Ellis Sam and Shahin Sharafaldin
Exhibition: July 27 - August 29, 2019
Shadow Tongue is a group exhibition that focuses on the human subject mediated through objects, communication platforms and image making apparatuses. With video and painting, Beaudry, Isabella, Jiang, Murray, Sam and Sharafaldin present alternative worlds and autobiographical narrative.
Shadows may behave as copies of ourselves, repeating our movements in real time, distending or condensing with the season, or time of day. Shadows meld things and people, transforming a tree into a person, a shoe into a rat, a thumb into a tongue. A shadow can disturb. Tongues synthesize sound and muscle into the social faculty of speech and storytelling. In linguistic terms, a “shadow tongue” is a writer’s invention of a pseudo-language, fictionalized and displaced in time and history. In a visual context, the shadow tongue collapses technologies, mediums and images situated in disparate temporalities and distinct spaces.
Isabella, Jiang, Murray and Sharafaldin approach portraiture and still-lives through a range of applications from smooth and blended to grotesque cake-like thicknesses. Isabella begins her painting process with photos catalogued in her smartphone, a tool to instantly capture and transform images of candid moments and quotidien scenes. In Shahin on East Georgia (2019) and Sephora (2019) the subjects are painted in oil as if to slow down the experience in retrospect of their immediate capture. Referencing the format and dimensions of her smartphone, she paints her subjects caught in intimate and humorous instances on small scale canvases.
Jiang situates her painting Beach (2018), on a remote beach somewhere at dusk, under the moon. On the beach is a woman, her face obscured by her hair, caught in a whirlwind of motion as she turns her head to pose for a camera that never existed. The energy of this frozen movement is reiterated in the stillness of the empty and unpopulated beach scene behind her.
Murray renders objects in dramatically lit and intimate tableaus with harsh shadows. In Cucumber Arrangement No. 3 (2019) slanting columns of cucumbers encircle a stack of thin slices atop a kitchen counter, suggesting a gathering of some ritual importance. In Suspended Flame (2018) a lighter bound by a usb cable, hangs low while forcing its own flame, exhausting its purpose. Both works suggest the presence of an unseen agent, whose inuence or return we suspensefully anticipate.
Sharafaldin’s turmeric stain (2019), compounds a classical setting with a contemporary subject, joining the languages of historical portraiture with social media projections of the self. Drapes of rich fabric festoon behind a young man in underwear, illuminated only by candlelight. His bare legs are wrapped with twisted blue ribbon while he holds a plush feather tickler that obscures his groin. In this delicate bondage, the young man appears lost in thought. His cheek is warmed by the light of the candle and his gaze seems to drift inward, resisting our attention or desire to connect.
Video works Fully Furnished (Eternal Sublets in the Rooms of Time) (2019) by Beaudry, with sound scored by Andrea Lukic and Blue Sky (2018) by Sam, follow the imaginations and obsessions of distinct yet invisible characters in search of psychological and physical space. Sam’s video plays out the story of an individual haunted by the persistent hum of an electrical substation. Through hand-held camera and rapid cuts, Sam establishes the point of view and consciousness of his ctionally devised character. Beaudry sources her material by recycling images found within the communities of online classieds, trading and alternative gift economies. Beaudry’s video follows the hallucinatory trip of a compulsive scrounger, in an eternal search for domestic-space. A catalogue of images organically divides, repeats, abstracts and swells to form an ideal space that can only exist in dreams.
Chad Murray, Suspended Flame (2018)
Shahin Sharafaldin, tumeric stain (2019) (on left), Chad Murray, Suspended Flame (2018) (on right)
Shahin Sharafaldin, tumeric stain (2019)
Yifan Jiang, Beach (2018) (on left), Shahin Sharafaldin, tumeric stain (2019) (on right)
Yifan Jiang, Beach (2018)
Chad Murray, Cucumber Arrangement No. 3 (2019) (on left), Yifan Jiang, Beach (2018) (on right)
Chad Murray, Cucumber Arrangement No. 3 (2019)
Nadya Isabella, Shahin on East Georgia (2019) (on left) and Sephora (2019) (middle), Chad Murray, Cucumber Arrangement No. 3 (2019) (on right)
Nadya Isabella, Shahin on East Georgia (2019) (on left) and Sephora (2019) (on right)
Ellis Sam, Blue Sky (2018) (video still). Full video can be Found here.