(Gardens) of Feeling and Fervor
a No Home Gallery production and collaboration by artist Ryan Scails, curator Natasha Otrakji, and host Chinatown Soup
September 18th 2015 | 7pm - 10pm | Chinatown Soup - 16B Orchard Street, New York, NY 10002
“How to Build a Monster” Panel Discussion
September 25th 2015 | 7pm | Chinatown Soup - 16B Orchard Street, New York, NY 10002
Panelists: Lionel Bascom (Author, A Renaissance in Harlem), Andrew Mitchell Davenport (Writer, Full Stop), Ariel Jackson (Video Artist), E. Tammy Kim (Writer, Al Jazzera) and moderated by No Home Gallery artist, Ryan Scails
“(Gardens) of Feeling and Fervor” is an interactive installation of sculpture and drawing by Ryan Scails. Materials cheap, raw and recognizable, like concrete and vinyl, are assembled and ask to be activated. As artist, property owner and workingman, Scails constructs a private/public space intended for reflection on the human relationship to physical labor and wear. By applying hardware, he flirts with the concept of utility and interrupts our notions of design and perfection.
Three characters, blues musician Robert Johnson, dual athlete Bo Jackson and folk hero John Henry, mythical role models for the artist, inspired this body of work. The show’s title is drawn from a chapter in “The Souls of Black Folk” by W.E.B. Dubois focused on the importance of the church as a social center. Scails inserts the term ‘(Gardens)’ to represent what he calls, “A place to consider how we treat the objects we've created to treat ourselves.”
Unleveled and split in the center with a painted yellow line, the gallery floor entrée resembles an earthwork construction site. Three cement vessels, Niagara, are presented atop a rough-cut timber base on casters. A cast milk crate and cardboard box form two sinks filled with water that the artist changes periodically. The invitation to rinse one’s hands suggests a baptismal act; natural soap bars, like charcoal and seaweed, are housed in a concrete basin made from a detergent bottle.
The surrounding walls and floor feature a series of malleable paintings. Some are made of sewn, folded canvas with the illusion of purpose; others coated with magnets or lint. Three pocket-sized notebooks hang from the ceiling in the corridor where viewers are encouraged to scan through the artist’s process. On the opposite wall is a schematic drawing plan for the sinks.
Displayed on a box TV set is a looping video, Honey Clock, where the artist rotates a plexiglass case filled with dripping honey. Other pieces include semi-familiar objects like a broom bound to a dustpan, a glove with rivets, a sardine can filled with packed soil, a clear sack of fish oil capsules, a vinyl pillow and an apron.
In repurposing synthetic products, attention is equally given to the physical object and negative space. The artist forms containers representative of effort, with as much urge to preserve as to reveal residue.
No Home Gallery is a nomadic art space that organizes educational and interactive experiences, exhibitions and happenings in various locations in New York City created collaboratively by unique teams of artists, curators and hosts.