VACANCY @ Ochi Gallery
As Concrete As Possible
December 31, 2017 - February 8, 2018
JASON BAILER LOSH
JOHN ZANE ZAPPAS
A Person A Thought An Interruption is an exhibition of new works by Jules Gimbrone and Barnett Cohen at City Limits, organized by VACANCY.
The crack of a body against something hard, the tremble of liquid falling into a pan, stretched out, layered; a sound slowly turning inside out. It withdraws from itself as a recognizable form. It begins to sound like an airplane, a voice, a toilet, a storm; the inside of a bell and then nothing at all. Inexplicable but clear. Inside of its own unfolding the sound becomes completely unrecognizable. There is a memory of what it sounded like before, but it’s like trying to hum a song while listening to another, the mind is full. It taps another mind into motion, which needles around in the dark, producing sound-thoughts, unclassifiable feelings that sanction the body. There is a zooming in both directions, and in a deeply distended play between realism and abstraction, the body is free to choose not to be known.
It can be felt in a cup, a coat, or some nose hairs; a jar of baby teeth from a single mouth: human indicators embedded with mere morsels of a body’s essence. A mouthful is enough. The plot is somewhere inside the props. They each contain a personal action, in fact, as many actions as there are bodies in the room. They exist outside of words, yet each object is an edit, a phrase, a swift one-liner laid bare for public consumption. Indefinite in use, they are verbed nouns. There is a delicacy in reuse; an honest detail of a corpulent body. Me, you, them, we, a fear of a body, a fear of fully realizing a body’s potential; or end. There is a hysterical quality to a lonesome finger. Gravel in the mouths of two black oxfords form crumpled words, spilling out and stuck. They are quick sentences that look in the mirror before leaving; subtle revolutions; hitting lock to check the location of your car. There is a kind of mapping through repetition; a rote, unironic, unfetishized mapping through the text, which can be as simple as noting where you’re going.
I am afraid the motor is going to stop
a way to make objects funny, deft, loose
triggers of persona and non-persona.
I am afraid the motion will come to an end;
pauses and breaks; ; water breaks
the plural delectations of public appearance and interior meaning.
I am afraid the silences will continue, indefinitely.
In Gimbrone’s work there is a persistent questioning of what makes up a legible body. In Cohen’s work there is a persistent mining for bodily text. Gimbrone’s objects may dangle like flesh. Cohen’s objects may look like flesh. Gimbrone’s sounds may be tender, rigid, erotic, broken. Cohen’s words may be steady, intimate, precise, subdued. Gimbrone’s work contains intentional interference, positing that conditions matter most in the reading of a thing. Cohen’s work contains distilled snips of language, positing an object-oriented drama unfolding in endless asides.
Identity is up for reconsideration in every new object, relation or encounter; boundless though sometimes spookily ineffable. These works test occasions of ipseity, though not through shock. The chosen sites of focus can be radically banal; functional sounds, rudimentary objects, cropped details shifted into microscopic view. There is more meaning in pops, cracks, squeaks and hums than in a howl. Both sets of works are recursive and time based; they build from their own contents outward. They are generative, prolific, and at some point - end.
Jules Gimbrone (b. 1982 Pittsburgh, lives and works in Los Angeles) is an artist and composer that asks how social performance is codified, captured, and transmitted. Using a variety of recording and amplifying technologies—in addition to materials such as clay, ice, and even the ambient sound of past performances—Gimbrone investigates how sound travels through space, bodies, and language as a way of exploring hidden or sublimated gendered systems. Gimbrone received a BA from Smith College in 2004 an MFA in Music Composition from California Institute of the Arts in 2014. Gimbrone has been exhibited at venues including Human Resources, Los Angeles; Vox Populi, Philadelphia; FLAX Fahrenheit, Los Angeles; Cuchifritos Gallery, New York; MoMA PS1, New York, and Park View Gallery, Los Angeles. Gimbrone is the Artistic Director and Co-founder of PSSST, a non-profit art space in Los Angeles.
Barnett Cohen (b. 1978 Cape Town, lives and works in Los Angeles) employs a wide-range of media—sculpture, installation, video, photography, writing, and works on paper—that serve as meditations on the space between the absence and the presence of the body. Much of his work is rooted in a long-term study of the shifting nuances of language, especially within the context of theatricality. Cohen’s on-going interest in the relationship between props, sets, language, and space inform both his practice and his involvement in PSSST that he co-founded with Jules Gimbrone in June 2016. Barnett Cohen received a BA in English Literature from Vassar in 2001, an MFA from California Institute of the Arts in 2014, and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2012. His work has been exhibited at venues including Human Resources, Los Angeles; Vox Populi, Philadelphia; The International Center for Photography, New York; Cirrus Gallery, Los Angeles; The Torrance Art Museum, and La Galerie SEE Studio; Paris.