Kate Phillimore, Whitehot SF
Supernatural: Form and Replication at Queen’s Nails Annex
It is the opening night of Supernatural: Form and Replication at Queen’s Nails Annex and as usual it is packed. The gallery is remarkably small, even for San Francisco, which often makes it difficult to navigate through the space let alone enjoy the works during opening nights. However, despite its modest size, the gallery has continually proved to host thoughtful and provocative shows, and this one is no exception. Curated by Kyu Che and Jennifer McCabe, artists were invited whose practice requires a dedication to reinventing or manipulating materials outside of their recognizable contexts.
One of the featured artists, Kei Ito, a fashion and costume designer, uses familiar fabrics to create both recognizable and uncanny sculptures. In one such installation, muted colors of silk organza take on intestinal forms as they hang from the ceiling to rest in a heavy coils on the floor. To the right, more silk unfolds from the wall like a luxurious orange iridescent doily, while on the floor Paul Smith and Armani jackets are dissected or disassembled as if to confirm that a whole designer jacket is only the sum of its non designer parts. Across the room, countering Ito’s soft and still installations, artist and musician Nate Boyce’s jarring video installations sit in the wall and ceiling. Influenced by early video art, Boyce utilizes analogue technology to create abstract psychedelic videos, which pulsate in synch to an audible beat. After a few moments spent with them, works like Tubular Mutations, 2007 and Viscous Vortex, 2007 become visual gibberish, but suggest they might contain an unknown language waiting to be deciphered. Kristina Lewis’s work fills the second room with mundane objects whose transformation leaves them straddling the worlds of the beautiful and grotesque. Her unique zipper sculptures result in a compelling contrast of silver metal and brightly colored fabric, but are arranged in alien forms that reach out from the wall to confront the viewer. One of the most wonderful pieces in this body of work is Pin Cushion, 2000, which hangs delicately shimmering from the ceiling like an upside down sea urchin; sewing pins dangle collectively from threads teasing you to thrust your hand into it.
Throughout the gallery, the installations in Supernatural evoke a desire move in, out, and with the objects. The work simply has a power that the ever-growing crowd at opening night cannot deter from, and for a while it is easy to ignore all the people and simply engage with the objects.
Kate Phillimore received her BA in Literature at UC Santa Cruz in 2003, after which she moved to London where she worked at the National Portrait Gallery and the Department of Architecture and Spatial Design at London Metropolitan University. Kate has since returned to California to pursue an MA in Curatorial Practice at California College of Arts in San Francisco. In her spare time Kate is co-founding editor of Golden Guns Investigations Publications, which will be launched December 2007. firstname.lastname@example.org all articles from this author