A Charm Against All That
a group exhibition curated by Jessica Baran including artists: Brandon Anschultz, Hélène Delprat, Harley Lafarrah Eaves, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Charline von Heyl
January 16 – March 14, 2020 at Projects + Gallery
Images courtesy Virginia Harold and Projects + Gallery
projects+gallery is pleased to announce A Charm Against All That, a group exhibition exploring the impulse toward the magical and the occult in response to catastrophic cultural circumstances. As a new decade begins, we find ourselves awash in anxious precarity — from the unstable fate of our political future to the critical state of the environment — leaving us skeptical of conventional means of asserting control over our circumstances. Therefore, alternative logics — ones that push against established, worldly orthodoxies — gain substantial appeal as viable methods for thwarting unwanted outcomes that have otherwise seemed immune to the precautions and solutions of standard rationale.
The exhibition is divided into two distinct sections. The main gallery is curated by Jessica Baran and features works by Brandon Anschultz, Harley Lafarrah Eaves, Hélène Delprat, Trenton Doyle Hancock and Charline von Heyl. The rear gallery is curated by Margaret Sherer and includes works from project+gallery’s collection by Chris Burden, Farrokh Mahdavi and Marilyn Minter, among others.
In Helene Delprat’s Lost Sleeping Beauty (2018), layered abstract textures obscure and reveal a world of phantasmagoric imagery — ghosts, ghouls, grinning flowers, elaborate moths — which roil like a witches’ brew of unknown portent. Similarly, in Harley Lafarrah Eaves’ painting Thematic Plot Points In the Wizard of Oz from Childhood Memories (2018) iconic aspects of the 1939 film — Dorothy’s picnic basket, the Wicked Witch’s broom and long, spindly fingers — float in a surreal dreamscape that suggests the power to conjure and possibly alter the past. Both artists’ deconstruction and recontextualization of popular mythologies engage a spell-like rhetoric — at once deliriously desperate and earnestly intentional in their desire to reinvoke the sense of magical agency inherent in childlike fantasy
Also included in the exhibition are four Vodun fetish objects from the Fon people of Benin, which operate as intricate abstract assemblages of string, bones, padlocks and other ritualistic materials while also bearing the potential to function as actual “charms” — for healing, harming or influencing the human experience in some way. In conversation with these objects, Brandon Anschultz’s assemblage sculptures combine bright abstract geometries with personally significant materials — fabrics, jewelry, fur — that memorialize people and experiences of his past while emanating a sense of directed hope.
The rear gallery explores what is implied by “all that” — the moments of anxiety, apprehension, isolation and alienation that often accompany contemporary life. Be it the sleepless nights and resultant mornings that are the focus of the offset lithograph Untitled by Chris Burden (1974) or the uneasy clinical diagnosis of James Hoff’s Social Media Remorse Syndrome (2012), the artworks featured in this segment of the exhibition serve as expressions of a fraught collective consciousness which, in an attempt to soothe our troubled minds, pushes us to find solace and solutions in the unorthodox.
In all of the exhibited works, the artist is both vulnerable civilian and alchemical trickster, capable of moving between the onslaught of the everyday and the possibility of creative action.