Noritaka Minami, A706 (Wall I), 2011; archival pigment print mounted on aluminum; 30 x 38 in. Courtesy of the Artist and the Kearny Street Workshop, San Francisco.

Humans are resilient. Our anatomy is extraordinary and highly complex. We build, construct, destroy, and synthesize. But human nature involves understanding the biology and mechanisms that provoke us to move and accelerate. In Movement in Many Parts, an exhibition curated by Lucy Seena K. Lin and Weston Teruya, artists investigate human evolution through nature and industry. Their ruminations are shown through organic forms, moving image, photography, drawing, and painting. Each work reminds us of the adage that the totality of many things in concert is far greater than one single part of the whole.

In A1007 (Wall II) (2011), Noritaka Minami asks us to peer into the modular housing built within the Japanese urban landscape. At the start of the series, a viewer is let into a small room with a single, large round window that looks out onto the city and other pods. There is no returning gaze; a viewer sees only the disheveled room of a seemingly busy city dweller. The room could very well be a viewer’s; the window is the only way to see outside and to observe other living things. Stagnancy is apparent through the dull colors of bed sheets and the aging, disintegrating papers on the wall. Even the dated typography of the numbers on the clock suggests a thick layer of dust has settled over things untouched. The scene gives the sense that the busyness of city life has depleted the weary soul that inhabits this space. Minami’sTower (Facade 1) (2011) includes a segment of the exterior architecture that gives a viewer not only a sense of scale but also of how nature has weathered the building’s exterior. The erosion suggests that the original design is obsolete in this fast-paced environment.

While Minami’s photographs depict an environment, Kim Anno’s photographs ponder the effects of climate change and demonstrate how humans may adapt to and work with rising sea levels. Men and Women in Water Cities (2011) shows individuals fully clothed in suits and corporate attire turning their bodies toward a viewer, as though caught in mid-action. The picture plane presents something absurd. Yet, is it as absurd as we think? Anno proposes peculiar but perhaps ingenious ways we might survive despite nature’s disposition, showing what humans may be driven to do when it is necessary to endure. It is this human tendency toward movement that forces resiliency.

Originally posted to Shotgun Reviews on Art Practical, please click here to view.

It’s been a flurry of activity on the art writing front! Although I have not been feeling well lately, I had to punch something out after recuperating from a tough morning. Yet, I was able to produce the write up below for the Critical Sources art writing workshop at The Lab. This is the “before” version.

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Writing offers readers archetypes and projections of the real world whether the writer intends for that or not. Like the curvaceous, long winding Mississippi river with tributaries flowing into the larger body of water; contemporary American life possesses an analogous structure and tendencies. From Allison Smith’s reproduction of historical artifacts serving as a narrative of the Antebellum South to Jason Meadow’s re-appropriating popular culture icons as an interpretation of Huck and Jim’s relationship throughout their journey; the wondrous, confluent effects of literature and visual arts on our perceptions and understanding of a complicated history permeates in the latest Huckleberry Finn exhibition at the Wattis Institute.

The wide-ranging collection inspired by Huck and Jim’s misadventures and voyage down the Mississippi River forge new ways of looking at the story and its portrayal of race relations and how environment can dictate one’s actions and reactions. In Sleeping by the Mississippi, a photographic series by Alex Soth, the river becomes a stage for the mind’s eye provoking the viewer to fathom a version of the tale. On the other end of the spectrum, Kireston Pieroth not only takes the actual story and presents it to the viewer; she preserves it in such a way that is tantamount to an American past time – jam and jelly making. With her presentation of the prose in an unorthodox way, Pieroth shows how the novel has become embedded and preserved in American history and culture.

While the lower gallery introduces us to the text, the upper gallery showcases the intricacies and intersections of racism and how the past affects our present day understanding of the classic prose. The exhibition goes to great lengths to remind patrons that a story not only mirrors what is relevant at a given time but it becomes perennial by its power to touch upon that which is universal – the human desire to understand ourselves through the Other.