The UAG is pleased to announce the premier of Restless Debris, an exhibition featuring the work of Kevin Jerome Everson, Michelle Dizon, and Ivor Shearer. The aesthetic concerns of the three artists participating in this exhibition consider the voice’s role in relationship to the deployment of “ruin imagery.” Mounted together, their artworks are both symptomatic and critical of a far larger trend emerging in the wake of the Great Recession. This trend is a growing prevalence in popular culture of ruin gazing as a means to allegorize the decline of the United States.
Ruin imagery, such as the iconic images of postindustrial decay, feed into a larger national narrative about the avarice of civilizations and the disastrous environmental catastrophes wrought on by unregulated industry. However, these images tend to decontextualize urban, industrial, and imperial ruins and temporally dislocate them from the present day inhabitants, who remain in their shadows. In so doing, the gradual violence on marginalized bodies perpetuated by the spoiled sites of capital are redoubled through pictures that further silence those peripheral communities.
In response, the aesthetic strategies of all participating artists approach their disparate subjects by retrieving an innocuous object from memory—a billboard, a screen, a remittance box—and crafting around it a film whose content surveys the complex political, economic, or racist policies attendant to their origins. In their treatment, memory is arrested in the space of the gallery in order for the marred landscapes of capital elsewhere to be resituated into the lived experience of the people who endure them. In short, Restless Debris puts forth the question—what would an aesthetic program look like that activates the sense of unease that ruin imagery so often seeks to mitigate?
Closing Reception and Screening
California Company Town (2008) | Dir. Lee Anne Schmitt
February 4th, 2016 at 7:30 pm
University Art Gallery