Jenny Gagalka, Camel Race 1, 2018, flashe paint and window tint film on plexiglas, steel frame, cables, 48 x 96 inches
On view August 3 – September 8, 2018
Opening reception: Friday, August 3, from 7-10pm
Good Weather at Monaco, presenting racecar, a solo exhibition by Jenny Gagalka at Monaco from Aug 3–Sep 8, 2018.
friendsh.jp presenting Loss Shopper with Jenny Gagalka, Beaux Mendes, and William Wasserman within the walls of Good Weather's exhibition at Monaco from Aug 3–Sep 8, 2018.
Good Weather is excited to present Jenny Gagalka’s second solo exhibition with the gallery at Monaco in St. Louis. racecar is a palindrome built around the title of Gagalka’s first show with the gallery—E—a letter that acts as a stand-in for everything: the constant rhythm of everyday, the earth turning ’round the sun, and the eternal cycle that we embrace and ostensibly race.
Within the walls of the space, the curatorial project friendsh.jp will present a concurrent show titled Loss Shopper by Gagalka’s collaborative drawing project with Los Angeles-based artists Beaux Mendes and William Wasserman. The exhibitions open Aug 3, 2018 and are on view until Sep 8, 2018.
In racecar, the space is anchored by a suite of five double-sided paintings of camels that run parallel and equidistant to one other. The installation produces a stereoscopic effect: a camel race. The painted surfaces combine flashe paint and window tint film on plexiglas. At once see-through and reflective, the paintings work to disrupt, conjoin, and confuse one another. As they have no front or back, both sides exist simultaneously.
The paintings move rapidly from cool to hot, from order to disorder, from representation to abstraction—as a body, they contain a range of extreme states. The camels in the paintings and the paintings themselves are extremophiles—organisms that thrive in physically drastic conditions that are detrimental to most life on earth. The motifs recall a place somewhere else, hot for sure, from ancient times, present, or far far future. The synthetic event seems horrific, an impossible fantasy, or a futuristic event set in the scene of the ancient.
The race is happening right now and yet it is unknown who is in the lead and who lags. The beginning and end are not fixed. Together they form a caravan moving to the left in unison if approached at one end, and concurrently migrating to the right if one maneuvers in the other direction. As viewers, we move around and between these rushing camels.
Camel racing nowadays consists of a robotic jockey saddled between the humps of a hopeful camel. Unlike a horse race track, this track is not circular, instead it runs a straight line next to another lane where SUVs drive along side carrying a passenger with remote control in hand to signal a small whip. This image of a camel stepping on its own foot is sourced from a mural at the Al-Wathba racetrack. It has an ancient look yet is only a decade old.
In the other room, looking in on the race, is a madding crowd: pastel drawings on paper. They appear to be portraits of specific people and landscapes containing otherworldly monuments. The work was made by Beaux Mendes, William Wasserman, and Jenny Gagalka.
Each image of departure calls for a different trajectory of representation, and this is why things look different (and call for different materials, supports, scale, interaction of color, involvement or removal of hand). It is because they behave differently when looked at through the lense of time and space tethered to a specific place that has been removed. To work from observation is a specific choice—an attempt of self-removal and deflection from an authoritarian voice. These paintings depend on the viewer to be able to discern the difference between looking for something and looking at something.
The point of departure is simply that. The beginning. An example. The departure is specific, but the end is unbounded. It is a node from which repetitive imagery echoes beyond the closed system that created it in the first place. This echo is presented now, here, corralled into the installation and viewed simultaneously: a new system that, because it can be observed through time and space, gives birth to a new simulated subject. Now another round of observation can begin. The work fluctuates between different modes of observation under the quantum lens that things in fact behave differently when looked at. The constant is observation, but the subjects are variable. It can be anything but it cannot be everything.
Jenny Gagalka (b. 1984 Vancouver, British Columbia) lives in Los Angeles, California. She recently graduated from the MFA program at UCLA in Painting & Drawing and is currently a participant at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.
Beaux Mendes (b. 1987 New York City, New York) received a BA from Wesleyan University in Intellectual History in 2010 and is currently an MFA candidate in Painting at the University of California, Los Angeles. In 2014, they founded Treasure Town, an exhibition platform and the location of the archives of Nathaniel Green.
William Wasserman (b. 1990 Vanderburgh, Indiana) received a BFA in 2013 from Hunter College of the City University of New York. He is currently an MFA candidate in Painting at the University of California, Los Angeles. His writing from June to July of 2004 can be found online at: www.deviantart.com/nestingnaira.