Impersonal Matter
featuring works by Edwin Isford
On view July 15 ― August 5, 2017
Curated by Kate Benedict and Veronika Ivanova

algae and found materials conglomerate
2017

algae and found materials conglomerate
2017

algae and found materials conglomerate (detail)
2017

alginate and found materials conglomerate
2017

expandit on linen, found wild flower, polyester tarp, water
2017

cyanotype emulsion (unfixed) on found materials
2017

“The octopus is the only animal that has a portion of its brain (three quarters, to be exact) located in its (eight) arms. Without a central nervous system, every arm thinks with total autonomy, and yet, each arm is part of the animal.”

— Chus Martinez, “The Octopus in Love”

“If all we are is matter, and if the matter of which we are made is neither originated nor controlled by us—as persons or as a species—then what sense can it make to speak of human beings as critical, creative, or free?” 

— Melissa A. Orlie, “Impersonal Matter” 

In celebration of the primacy of process and matter, “Impersonal Matter” is defiantly opposed to the anthropocentrism that would privilege the subject over the object. Speculating the agency of matter, the work steers a path between scientific naturalism and social relativism. Drawing attention to things at all scales, the exhibition puts things (rather than human beings) at the heart of studying what it means to exist. The work asks of it’s audience, what is an object? Or rather, where does the object end and the subject begin?

Responding to the idea of material agency, the exhibition features works framed by their physical properties of growth and process based transformation: a rubber that grows when it’s in contact with water; dried alginate sculptures that take their form from the location where they’re poured, solidifying into atrophied versions of themselves; and cyanotype painted onto found materials that is then exposed as a photogram.

Using Format