In the aftermath of organizing an unrealized exhibition at artist-run institution Odium Fati in San Francisco, K.R.M. Mooney offers a set of relations between figures. These six installments, contributed to Flash Art’s “In Residence” column, are a means for the artist to pursue the significance of each context-specific practice and the potential actions, kinships, and alignments between these figures.
Throughout the year and a half that n/a operated out of a small Oakland storefront, I was in charge of constructing eight benches made to support gathering, allowing various programs to exist alongside the six exhibitions that took place throughout 2013–14. Altering the space several times a month, from domestic site where dishes were washed and someone slept, to one of convening, this constant shifting in living relation implicated a dusting but also a decorating. A basement, a shed, a garage or kitchen nook, these spaces were cleared as a means to reach one another. In their initial context, the perennial edges of a living space might facilitate a slow accumulation, whereas when we exhibit our work where our lives enfold these sites take on a sense of urgent necessity. This strategy to embody away from insolation results in a third condition: a means to reconsider these sites as a more horizontal form of worlding and sharing our work. Generosity as attention becomes synonymous, and the hierarchies between objects, their interpersonal attunements and spatial determinations, perhaps lose their edges. Speculating so far, these values inform the exhibition at Odium Fati, imaginatively including Trisha Donnelly, Yute Cine, and June Schwarcz. The artists span three generations and varying forms of canonization. While two of them have ties to the Bay Area, Trisha Donnelly, born in San Francisco and living and working there throughout the early 2000s, including her role as an educator at the San Francisco Art Institute, continues to cast a version of the Bay Area’s historiography into specific form. Up until her passing in 2015, the late June Schwarcz was declared a living gem of Sausalito County, where she allowed the behavior of the marine layer fog to inform the color, surface, and tone within her work, inviting the viewer to penetrate the enameled surfaces of her vessels only as much as their transparencies permitted.
Providing a location for an exhibition and gathering the works that share space within involves a decision to make a specific type of interaction happen and at a particular scale. Operating as a small community of artists outside of a center, we are mandated to learn how place can mean, and the ways in which we are individually and jointly responsible for our own and one another’s development. The exhibition organized in co-articulation with Benjamin Ashlock and Diego Villalobos is a means for thinking through practices that require an intensified involvement on behalf of the viewer and the locale in which the exhibition takes place. The artworks operate both as an open line and a context-specific practice in which the political implications of the work arise not through explicit content but abstract form. The works within the exhibition consider a specific physical sequencing: a tonal cue for the capacities in which an artwork or material may refract, imparting the conditions from which the viewer beholds it. Making exhibitions outside of the formal codings of a traditional space, our routines are adapted, expanded for the company of others and the major and minor ways that space is lived in and altered. Through the more recent arrival of immoderate access and excess, the Bay Area currently sits at a dialectic; artist-run institutions persist through an economy of means. With the opening but mostly shuttering of artist-run spaces, we inherit this particular temporal scale where emerging and sustaining is ongoing and contingent.