Whitehot Magazine

Two Solo Shows in SF

 Miguel Arzabe, /*Reject Algorithms: Key*/, Installation view image courtesy of the artist and CULT exhibitions. 


CULT Aimee Friberg exhibitions
2 solo shows
/*Reject Algorithms*/ by Miguel Arzabe and Drawings by Jacqueline Kiyomi Gordon


CULT’s current exhibition, founded and curated by Aimee Friberg, is featuring two solo exhibitions by Miguel Arzabe and Jacqueline Kiyomi Gordon. Arzabe’s work is in the main gallery space and Gordon’s work is in the secondary gallery space. Each artist’s work contends with major existential dichotomies. Though the word “body” is frequently used to loosely reference anything corporeal, in this case it is important to think about the differences between the real and the fabricated body, the forgotten and the remembered body. Arzabe metaphorically erases while simultaneously rewrites his own existence. Conversely, Gordon’s work is not autobiographical, but instead addresses concepts of poetic disembodiment.

From the outside, the store-front window façade of the gallery is blanked out with chroma-key green paper except for a small rectangle with soft-curved edges cut out of the front door. Inside, the main gallery is dark but illuminated by a complicated and multi-layered projection by Miguel Arzabe. The chroma-key green paper is a direct correlation with the green-screen features that Arzabe deployed in his work to make the projected film including wearing chroma-key green so that his own body would be negated or repurposed later. The cut out in the gallery door is actually a piece titled “Smart Phone Obscura” and as the title signifies, is a camera obscura. Refracting little transparent and fleeting images from the street outside stream by obliquely onto the gallery wall—cars whiz by and people pass unawares. Each image projected on the wall is unique and will never be replicated nor is it being documented as it would be if it was a camera with film.

Layer after layer, the entire installation inside the gallery includes and excludes the subjects of its making. The projected film titled |*Reject Algorithms: Key*| spans the entire back wall from floor to ceiling, layered over a large blank canvas propped up with white plastic paint buckets creating a mural. The light emitted by the projector absorbs viewers whose shadows mask out portions while their images are reflected at the same time in silvery mylar sheets that flank the mural. The title references code language used in computer literation to help guide human programmers with text that explains the origins of the encrypted code (who made it, why, etc.) as opposed to other code that directs the computer to perform tasks. Yet throughout the work, viewers find themselves complicit in all of the temporal fabrications that are happening in the space.
One cannot help but notice the ambient noise in the room complicated by sound emanating from internal and external sources including the soundtrack of the film itself and the noises from the busy metropolitan street spilling into the gallery. Scattered sounds of feet moving, drawing, paint brushes on canvas or taping off surfaces can be heard over soft ambient music as the viewer begins to process what they are looking at in the film.

Miguel Arzabe, /*Reject Algorithms: Key*/, Installation view including, Digital video, sound, Single-channel video projection, dimensions variable,
2014; edition of 3. image courtesy of the artist and CULT exhibitions.

A hand enters the frame, larger than life and begins to paint a horizontal plain surface with a wide, industrial paint brush. Slowly and with each stroke, the surface disappears, until finally the whole frame is “erased” by the paint brush, revealing a rustic wooden room behind. The film is an autobiographical hybrid of performance spliced with documentary of Arzabe’s process. Glimpses of objects appear and then are disappear; Arzabe’s body comes and goes creating a disjuncture between what is hidden and what is revealed. Also in the exhibition are the actual paintings created while working on the film. The completed works remain as archives of activity.

In the next room, drawings by Jacqueline Kiyomi Gordon appear to be documentation of anthropomorphic shapes that allude to internal organs perhaps kidneys or stomachs. Titled Filter Resonance (series), the “specimens” portrayed here seem to be studies for a science-fiction laboratory but the humorous tone prevents a grotesque read. The shapes are painted soft, washy and alluring shades of lilac, grass green and mauve that are juxtaposed against hand-painted blue or orange grid surfaces referencing analog documentation for an unknown yet incredibly important (albeit obviously) futuristic experiment. Gordon’s practice deals with the intangibility of sound as it is felt in the body, and this series is meant to be an exploration of the corporeality of sound waves.

Both artists instigate the body as transference of gesture and as a receptacle for archiving by emphasizing the interplay between analog and digital means of representation. While Arzabe uses his own body as a generative, episodic subject, Gordon investigates the body as a sustained, preserved object. While Arzabe’s work addresses aspects of making and destroying, Gordon’s work focuses on concepts of preservation and impermanence, though both practice the intimate relationship of hand-making. It is this intimacy that makes the body most apparent, despite cognitively recognizing it is not literally there.

Miguel Arzabe, Installation view including (L) Reject Algorithm series, (R) Untitled (Reject Algorithms / big green), Oil on canvas, 83 x 55 inches, 2013
image courtesy of the artist and CULT exhibitions.

Jacqueline Kiyomi Gordon, Filter Resonance B11, Gouache and ink on paper, 26 x 20 inches, 2013
image courtesy of the artist and CULT exhibitions.

Jacqueline Kiyomi Gordon, Filter Resonance B14, Gouache and ink on paper, 26 x 20 inches, 2013
image courtesy of the artist and CULT exhibitions.


Leora Lutz

Leora Lutz is an artist, writer and educator based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her art practice stems from a conceptual framework with a desire to bring ritual and routine closer together. She is a regular art writer and critic for several national and global publications both online and in print as well as the author of published exhibition essays and research papers.

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