BORDERS (Part I)
A border is a brink, an edge lying along a boundary. The arbitrary borders between nations, negotiated by powerful men in the interest of wealth, division and exclusion, create edges where none exist. They force a binary opposition that organizes, categorizes, oppresses. In the age of global warming and pandemic, these borders become increasingly flimsy - despite governmental efforts –a thin skin separating like substances. These three artists shine light into the dark corners of enforced physical boundaries.
Joyce Kozloff’s large mixed-media works examine the historical and contemporary practice of separating peoples through cartography and policy. Her monumental 1993 work “Los Angeles Becoming Mexico City, Mexico City Becoming Los Angeles” imagines a map that annihilates existing borders. She uses layering and abstraction to form a dense landscape inspired by a visit to Los Angeles shortly after the riots that followed the horrific beating of Rodney King. Twenty-two years later, “If I were a botanist: Palestine” & “If I were A Botanist: The Pale” draw political parallels across time and geography infused with the beauty of pattern and personal history.
Conor McGrady’s stark gouache drawings confront the viewer with the landscape of Western Europe as seen from the inside. His views of mountainous borderlands remind us of the role that artists have historically played in visualizing the propaganda of homeland and security. Detached and isolated, these images stand firmly in opposition to romantic ideals of nationality.
Jenny Polak takes an interdisciplinary approach that includes sculpture, drawing, architecture and community activism. Her work makes critical connections between the structures and mechanisms of nationality, immigration policy, capitalism, and mass incarceration. She addresses these issues with attention to the real-world, interpersonal aspects and repercussions, while keeping in mind formal beauty and the history of art.
MARC LEPSON, Curator