A Great Intake of Breath
Curator Michael Wilson in Discussion with the artists on October 15.
A Great Intake of Breath
Curated by Michael Wilson
Oct 15-Nov 21, 2020
Artist Reception: Thurs, Oct 15, 5:00 PM PST / 8:00 PM EST
“A Great Intake of Breath” is an online exhibition featuring work in painting and video by Abbey Golden, Lisa Farry Jennings, Eric Lopresti, Randi Matushevitz, Alison Michaela, Erika Somogyi, and Cintra Wilson. Following a Zoom artists’ reception at 5:00pm EST on October 15, 2020. This viewing room will be accessible through November 19.
The artists in A Great Intake of Breath—the title is borrowed from a painting by Alison Michaela—reflect on the world’s current experience of enforced isolation and confinement, and on the individual as a locus for both wider societal phenomena and an intensified experience of inner space. When external stimulus is lacking, how is individual creativity—and our perception of ourselves—affected? A Great Intake of Breath—a phrase that now resonates both with the last words of George Floyd and the calamitous spread of COVID-19—is an exploration of internal landscapes; it maps out a quasi-psychedelic vision of the unconscious mind.
In Altered States (1980), Ken Russell’s over-the-top and pseudoscientific—but still compelling — horror-sci-fi movie, a research scientist experiments on himself (don’t they always?) by using a sensory deprivation chamber to revert to a “devolved” primal condition. Similarly—though without the mania of Russell’s protagonist—the artists in A Great Intake of Breath also journey into inner space, their public-private quests landing them and us in some otherwise unreachable places.
The figures in Abby Golden’s paintings appear subsumed by their environment, a contemporary “floating world” inspired by the Japanese Ukiyo-e print tradition, while in the work of Alison Michaela, that shifting terrain is the domain of memory, and of the artist’s physiological and emotional responses to musical performance. In Randi Matushevitz’s “Dystopian Lullaby” series, clusters of figures and faces suggest myriad alternate, not necessarily happy, versions of the self, and Cintra Wilson takes an absurdist look at how “ordinary” Americans appear increasingly lost in worlds of their own making.
With only occasional nods to the drug experience—Lisa Farry Jennings’s drug drawer (2020) being the most explicit—the intensity of coloration in A Great Intake of Breath also echoes other visions of mental flight such as (another movie) Gaspar Noé’s Enter the Void (2010). The works of Erika Somogyi, for example, bring a visionary intensity to bear on images in which portraits and self-portraits intersect with images of nature. Finally, in a series of short videos titled Practice-Practice (2020), Eric Lopresti maps the diversity and functionality of solo physical and mental practices and adaptations pursued while maintaining awareness of other people.
Michael Wilson is an editor and writer from London based in New York. He is the author of How to Read Contemporary Art: Experiencing the Art of the 21st Century (New York: Abrams, 2013) and has contributed to journals including Art Monthly, Artforum, frieze, Modern Painters, and Photograph. He has organized exhibitions at venues including Churner & Churner and Lisa Cooley, New York; Locust Projects, Miami; and Cover Up, London.
Griffith Moon Curatorial is an independent curatorial project which collaborates with curators to offer a virtual exhibition and discussions with contemporary artists. Griffith Moon Publishing is based in Santa Monica, California and celebrates the works of contemporary artists in the form of exhibition retrospectives, artist/writer collaborations, and innovative storytelling.