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Benchwarmers: Zachary Betts

“Something throws itself together in a moment as an event and a sensation: a something both animated and inhabitable.” -- Ordinary Affects, Kathleen Stewart

Benchwarmers derives from the transformation of mundane and peripheral objects. Betts imagines a place beside our reality, not outside our recognition, but different. Dysfunctional even. His sculptures are strangely familiar yet unplaceable like a lost memory reduced to a feeling. Their industrial forms mimic a use-value, but their function remains unknown. Aged surfaces reveal a history of use that begin to bend our realm of understanding. 

In this installation, there are objects that acknowledge a kind of absurdity that is rooted in the familiar. Fragments of the common and the uncanny gently lean upon one another. Their close proximity conveys what Betts describes as “a sentimentality, a touch of pity perhaps, but also a sense of tenderness, compassion, and sometimes, romance.” This fraught interaction of ordinary materials offers the opportunity to experience the known anew; generating new perspectives and systems of value in an increasingly unstable present.


Do comets bring the death of kings?: Ben Gould and Nick Grasso

Do comets bring the death of kings? is a kind of expedition, a means of learning more about the tools we possess. Not just the tools of our bodies, but the tools of our environment--things that are literally a part of us, and things that are not. This project is a way of finding balance between limitations and necessity, presence in a world that moves quickly. 

Badwater Basin, part of Death Valley, in Inyo County, CA is the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere. Vertigo and dizziness are caused by calcium carbonate rockslides in the inner ear. Some animals in the desert can go their whole lives without drinking water; all the hydration they need is derived from the plants they consume.

Inalienable facts like these ground our experience in an alien landscape. They provide a structure for estimates and predictions. Like world-building in a novel, or performing an experiment in a lab, our project sets in motion a mechanism with limited variables. This offers the opportunity for experience with fresh eyes; generating new perspectives, new laws, and re-establishing the present. 

In this installation, there is a video, and there are objects. Each element is an instance of learning. Materials flow between these elements without hierarchy, sharing molecular compositions and occupying mutable forms. What we see respects an experience, affirms our presence in this apartment, and embodies a malleable whole.