June 27 – August 4, 2019

The group show “inherit” brings together 6 artists whose works interrogate how, where and to whom memories, traditions and traumas are passed on. Myths such as the Monkey King (Sun Wukong) are queered and reimagined in Jia Sung’s work as she prods the centuries-old oral histories she grew up with. Collective memories are similarly mined in Pacifico Silano’s practice of studying queer archival media. Silano’s own experience of losing his uncle to complications relating to AIDS and the subsequent erasure his family attempted suggests voids are equally potent legacies. This liminal space between the personal and the collective is further explored by Joeun Aatchim as she relates her intimacy with her mother and the surpassing traumas of comfort women based on testimonial drawings by Maria Rosa Henson (also known as Lola Rosa). This desire to reconcile the present moment with the untouchable past is present in Hong-An Truong’s works in the exhibition as well. Her video draws from the life of Iris Chang and her book, “The Rape of Nanking” in order to imagine an impregnable future where the meaning of an apology can be full.

In many of the works in the show, a diasporic dimension takes hold. Erick A. Hernandez’s memories of his migration as a child from Cuba to America manifest themselves as fragmentary, discombobulated figures in his paintings. While Ka-Man Tse documents the devotional nature of labor in the mom and pop Chinese restaurants of New York where families are continuously working together to re-define what is “chineseness”. Essentialism gives way to a more sobering yet loving kind of family unit, always in flux yet never far from the imagined space of home.

installation shots from inherit

Imagined Communities, Nationalism & Violence
December 16 – January 31, 2018

RUBBER FACTORY is pleased to present a group exhibition examining nationalism and violence based on the text "Imagined Communities" by Benedict Anderson. The show includes works by Jon Henry, Yael Malka, Myeongsoo Kim, Pacifico Silano, Maggie Shannon, Minstrel Kuik, Carlos Jiménez Cahua, Catalina Ouyang, Hank Willis Thomas, Res, Vincent Bezuidenhout, Farideh Sakhaeifar, Lionel Cruet, Hong-An Truong & Huong Ngo.

Benedict Anderson’s seminal text “Imagined Communities” investigates the origins of Nationalism as a modern condition and serves as the starting point for our group exhibition. From the influence of rationalist secularism to the conception of homogenous, empty time, Anderson outlines the convergence of factors which led to nationhood as a vehicle for the creation of meaning and ultimately self-sacrifice. 

As Nationalism is revitalized through increasingly extreme rhetoric whether it is nativism or protectionism, the exhibition explores this new wave of anxiety around nation-hood and ways nation-ness is constructed. Whether it is through the oblique nature of our informational channels which function as echo chambers reminiscent of the earliest ways Nationalism spread through print media or the conflation of meaning with sacrifice, it is clear that there are precedents for how Nationalism as a construct has led to and sustained cycles of violence.

Imagined Communities includes Hank Willis Thomas's reflective mirror pieces which appropriate imagery from the civil rights era, George W. Bush's family home as documented by Maggie Shannon and a video by Farideh Sakhaeifar which conflates NASA spaceship launches with ISIS bombings. The group exhibition aims to complicate and implicate conversations around the theme by co-opting Anderson’s own way of contextualizing Nationalism, “…nationalism has to be understood by aligning it, not with self-consciously held political ideologies, but with the large cultural systems that preceded it, out of which - as well as against which - it came into being”. By acknowledging larger cultural systems such as capitalism, slavery, the industrial military complex, perhaps Nationalism can be delineated from the politics of Nationalism; allowing us to consider whether Nationalism intrinsically violent since it assumes an other and requires intensive cycles of suffering/glory as modes of imagining communities.

installation shots from the Imagined Communities, Nationalism & Violence

Women in Colo(u)r
August 19 – September 27, 2017

RUBBER FACTORY is pleased to present a group exhibition exploring the pioneering role of women in the use of color in photography.

Women in Colour, the British spelling, advances fresh, new scholarship through a distinct and separate category; color, tracing its origins to gender-specificity. Color orbits an artist’s universe; color theory (RGB=YMC) is photography’s planet. The British Victorian, Anna Atkins (1799-1871) was the first woman photographer, albeit camera-less, and the first in color, through the cyanotype method (1842) taught to her by Sir John Herschel. Pioneering his method with Talbot’s photogram (non-color), Atkins created images in Prussian blue that included her handwriting, thus introducing text and image; she also made the first photo-book (1843). These seminal moments in photographic history suggest an innovative use of color by women within the medium which continues today.

Why do women choose color? Color is technically challenging and expensive, does this fact underscore female power, financial autonomy, breaking taboos of physical strength, visual intelligence and the “woman artist” stereotypes in art, science, and chemistry? What was photography’s role in this? With the recent discovery of tetrachromacy, stating that women with this gene can discern color better than men, who have a higher rate of color-blindness, the hypothesis gains ground. It states the singular recognition of women practitioners, whose historical and contemporary collective contributions in color photography remain under-exposed.

Artists included in the group exhibition:

Amanda Means, Carrie Mae Weems, Cindy Sherman, Ellen Carey, Elinor Carucci, Jan Groover, Liz Nielsen, Laurie Simmons, Patty Carroll, Meghann Riepenhoff, Marion Belanger, Moira McDonald, Penelope Umbrico, Susan Derges

installation shots Women in Colo(u)r

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