Kathryn Markel Fine Arts is pleased to present STACK, a group exhibition curated by artist Deborah Zlotsky in conjunction with her exhibition of new paintings, BTW.
The word "stack" has many meanings, like voluptuousness (stacked), worthiness (stack up), and exploding in anger (blow your stack). With today's political divisions, the connotations lead quickly to "stacked against," using power in a partisan way to force someone to do something or to tip the scales in favor of one side. We say: "The deck is stacked against me." "The odds are stacked against you." "The numbers are stacked against us." Yet a position of insight and resistance can be reached by knowing how things are stacked up.
Stacking, as a provisional and daily tool, creates order, minimizes sprawl, gives us agency and authority. It provides us with a feeling of empowerment, especially in the 24/7 overload of emails, tweets, documents, and information.
Some stacks are made of similar things, like firewood or books. Others are collections of disparate bits in an uneasy whole. Stacks can dissolve edges, even while retaining the distinct qualities of individual elements. Ultimately, the hybridity of a stack adds up to something quite new, with its own character and signature complexity. For stack-makers, the act of placing one thing on top of another affords the pleasure of processing, inventorying, and gaining control. Sometimes stacking is merely an ordinary or neutral act, but other times, the more that's piled, the greater the sense of release and ease. A new stack frees up space, and allows for a clearer understanding of what had been scattered and building up over time.
Artists Joe Amrhein, Susan D'Amato, Torkwase Dyson, Ginny Casey, Deborah Dancy, James Esber, Valerie Hegarty, Nina Katchadourian, Joan Linder, Mary Lum, Thomas McArdle, Susan Meyer, Gina Occhiogrosso, Crit Streed, Craig Taylor and Heeseop Yoon combine and order things, and thereby acknowledge that no one element can tell the whole truth. The visibility of the parts within the whole identifies the importance of these smaller, multiple truths, offering us a glimpse of what was lost and gained in the process of assembling and condensing. The sum of the parts is both the sum and the parts, and the poignancy of that equation is beautifully realized in these works.
Image: "What Did I Do?" by Nina Katchadourian.