^ I Want to Eat the Sunset. We’re Talking About the Cosmos, Even. And Love, I Guess. installation view courtesy of the artists and Almine Rech New York. Photo: Dan Bradica.

OTP Review: Haley Josephs, Lucy Bull and Aaron Curry @ Almine Rech

A review of the group exhibition, I Want to Eat the Sunset. We’re Talking About the Cosmos, Even. And Love, I Guess. Almine Rech New York (10/07/20 - 10/08/20).

By Tessa Krieg

In Almine Rech New York’s current exhibition, I Want to Eat the Sunset. We’re Talking About the Cosmos, Even. And Love, I Guess. the artists’ works evoke conversations about scale. The human scale in Haley Joseph's work, the vastness of Lucy Bull’s imagination and Aaron Curry’s muses that with time and space grow statuesque.

In a staring contest with the walls, I am deprived of any actual engagement — Joseph's characters won’t look at me and Curry’s figures focus on standing — until I find myself sinking straight into Lucy Bull’s eyes, or are they peacock mating calls? Seemingly they are waves of formations and deformation spanning large expanses, simultaneously breeding new life and imploding into liminal wisps.

 

Like a black hole’s gravitational pull, the eyes seem to totally consume me along with everything else in the room. Supernovas, but at a smaller scale. Each eye, teaming with shadow, acts as an inception point, casting its energy into the void. 

^ Lucy Bull, Twisted Receiver, 2020, oil on canvas, 121.9 x 91.4 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Almine Rech. Photo: Dan Bradica.

Simultaneously sporadic and ritualistic, Bull’s paintings organically multiply color. As one grows into the next, musculature figurations of weathered skin and deep-set eyes emerge, complementing one another with increasing amplitude.

 

This exponential growth is mimicked through Bull’s brushstrokes: forcefully blotched, stamped, thinly haired, chaotically organized, and swelling with organic fractal forms. The differences between natural and artificial effects — and affects —eventually become unrecognizable.

 

I hypothesize that Bull’s process involves either aura-like vibrations arranging themselves in bouquets of color from some sort of magical spell or psychedelic “Deepdream” computer renders that toy with our visual cognition. Bull’s process involves either magic or headache.

In keeping with the illusion Bull creates, the tense fragility of Aaron Curry’s work Magic vs. Headache. seems to invoke a similar kind of play. Each element, thoughtfully placed, stars in a symbiotically choreographed finale of growth and decay.

 

Known for his phantasmagorical, three dimensional collages, Curry has likened his art practice to hoarding. Not like a doomsday prepper, but as a wacky three-dimensional encyclopedia full of images, colors, textures, shadows and shapes.

 

These gravity-defying aluminum collages simultaneously frame and distort the viewer’s perspective of the paintings that line the walls.

^ Aaron Curry, Magic vs. Headache, 2020, powder coated aluminium, courtesy of the artist and Almine Rech. Photo: Dan Bradica.

All three artists stop the clock on the inevitable pull of gravity by creating the illusion of instability. In the infinite dance of existence, each piece in this show enters into a limbo.

 

Pending forces, specifically those of gravity that waver in Curry’s sculptures, are subsumed by Bull’s space, and the past that lingers in Joseph’s facial expressions.

 

As they burrow into budding blotches of earth, the people recede further into themselves. Apprehensive of the “Boundless Yonder,” the “Dream Child” slumps over itself despite the glow it basks in. I walk away just as tense.

 

Much like us, relative to the cosmos, we are dwelling in the past; the events we observe in space today, happened millions or billions of years ago. Bull’s atmospheric configurations work as a constant reminder of the past, the same past that Joseph's young figures seem prisoners of.

^ Haley Josephs, Dream Child in the Boundless Yonder, 2020, oil on canvas, 152.4 x 101.6 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Almine Rech. Photo: Dan Bradica.

Bull and Joseph's paintings radiate against one another, as though they were painted on mirrors. Joseph tells a similar story to Bull - one of bright colors shining and rich shadows flooding.

 

Through hue, and tone; color and voice, the two artists contradict how we normally associate warmth and coolness with specific emotions and spatial configurations. In Bull and Joseph's anomalistic world, light is both literally and figuratively a wave that lies mysteriously flush with their illusively painted surfaces in eloquent silence.

 

In search of symbolism, I find two of Curry’s crescent moons, branded and chained to the body of the sculpture. I find the year, 2020, and the artist's name, Aaron Curry, suspended, with no choice but to smile back at me.

 

The gravity, material and light captured by Curry’s sculptures all work in tandem, just like what lies beyond Lucy Bull’s massive celestial bodies and the inner and outer identities of Joseph's subjects. 

^ I Want to Eat the Sunset. We’re Talking About the Cosmos, Even. And Love, I Guess. installation view courtesy of the artists and Almine Rech New York. Photo: Dan Bradica.

Maybe I’ve consumed too many sun rays or toxic yellow paint, but I can see the difference in Curry, Bull and Joseph's depictions of alternate dimensions.

 

In these mid-pandemic Trumpian times, cosmic happenings too often feel commodified, mainstream, and meme-adjacent.

 

I realize in a gallery devoid of people how awfully good intense apathy can feel. As absent presence plays with visible darkness, silence rings loudly with contradictions.

New York, 2020.

See more from Tessa Krieg:

@tsa._art

www.tessakrieg.com

See more from Lucy Bull:

@lucybullll

See more from Aaron Curry:

www.davidkordanskygallery/aaron-curry

See more from Haley Josephs:

@haley.josephs

See more from Almine Rech:

@alminerech

www.alminerech.com

 

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