Justin Chance: Low-Life
SMART OBJECTS is delighted to present Low-Life, a solo exhibition of new work by Justin Chance.
2.20 – 4.10
Spider, Wet and needle felted wool, silk, cotton, gold tea, marker; quilted, 71 x 57 in, 2018-2021
Dying, Wet and needle felted wool, silk, cotton, dye, dying marker; quilted, 65 x 47 in, 2020
GMT/Greenwich Mean Time, Wet and needle felted wool, silk, cotton, dye; quilted, 50 x 35 in, 2020-2021
Monday, Piled, burned and wet-felted wool, cigarette smoke, Hot Toddy, duct tape, box fan, 20.5 x 20.5 x 4.5 in, 2020-2021
Wormwood,Wormwood dyed and piled wool and silk, desk fan, Dimensions variable, 2021
White God, Wet and needle felted wool, silk, cotton, pigment, dye; quilted, 53 x 37 in, 2020-2021
Low-Life, Polyurethane, masking tape, color prints, cut paper, drywall tape, cross-stitch, project display board, folding table, holographic sticker, Dimensions variable, 2021
Watercolor, White tea plaster, white tea stain, gold tea plaster, gold tea stain, styrofoam, floor wax, bubble wrap, masking tape, 17.5 x 5 x 3.5 in, 2021
Cruelty, Wet and needle felted wool, embroidered silk, cotton, dye; quilted, 90 x 48 in, 2018-2021
Race, Flooded basement papier-mâché, images from waterlogged photobook, marker, graphite, watercolor on paper, 32 x 19.5 in, 2020-2021
Race, Flooded basement papier-mâché, images from waterlogged photobook, marker, graphite, watercolor on paper 32 x 43 in, 2020-2021
SS, Wet and needle felted wool, silk, cotton, dye; quilted, 82 x 49 in, 2020-2021
Big Picture, Wet and needle felted wool, silk, cotton, dye; quilted, 89 x 70 in, 2018-2021
Dictionary, Black tea, plaster, sheetrock, carpenter’s pencil, floor wax, book end 5.5 x 4.5 x 10 in, 2020-2021
D.E.A.R - Drop Everything and Read (Tarzan), Color print, aluminum frame, protective Mylar 16 x 20 in, 2021
#51 (United Kingdom) – Commonwealth, Woven crayon and pastel on paper, UV varnish, 2020-2021
Thesaurus, Green tea, plaster, liquid nail, joint compound, sealing wax, dry wall tape, bookend, carpenter pencil 5.5 x 4.5 x 10 in, 2021
Pentecost (White tea, black tea, green tea, gold tea), Black tea, gold tea, green tea, white tea, plaster, shipping styrofoam, sealing wax, stickers, 24 x 22 x 3.5 in, 2021
Commonwealth, Woven crayon and pastel on paper, UV resistant varnish, gallery floor paint, marker, Dimensions variable, 2020-2021
Virginia (Roanoke 1857), Dyed and embroidered silk, cardboard, sealer Dimensions variable, 2020-2021
#16 (Ghana) – Commonwealth, Woven crayon and pastel on paper, UV varnish, 2020-2021
#20 (Jamaica) – Commonwealth, Woven crayon and pastel on paper, UV varnish, 2020-2021
#10 (Canada), #8 (Brunei Darussalam) – Commonwealth, Woven crayon and pastel on paper, UV varnish, 2020-2021
#26 (Maldives) – Commonwealth, Woven crayon and pastel on paper, UV varnish, 2020-2021
My animal friends and I don’t hang out that often for two reasons. One: their wild ways make me nervous and two: not one of them speaks English. What are we supposed to do when we all get together? Hold hands, lock eyes (appendages?) thank God or any seconds, moments, glimpses of mutual understanding? No thank you, not interested.
On another note that isn't entirely unrelated: butterflies (and all flying insects for that matter) go their whole lives unable to see spider webs, the unlucky ones however feel them firsthand (or wing) towards the end.
- Justin Chance
When mourning the gap between language and the material world, how do we express that which is extra, that which is inherently unspeakable, the essence not captured by language? Working in materials that render the term “mixed media” comically insufficient, Justin Chance nimbly experiments with material histories through lenses of language and ontology while questions the codependent desires of leisure, economies, knowledge-production, architecture, and taste.
Part metaphor and part material, tension between perceived lightness and weight courses through the works, most notably in a series of tea and plaster sculptures disguised as discarded Styrofoam packaging installed throughout the space as architectural modifications in, around, and delineating sight lines. Two tea and plaster cast sculptures, Dictionary and Thesaurus (at travel sized or pocket-guide proportions) collapse the linguistic and domestic as they explore the construction and upkeep required in both architectural spaces and language. Similarly, lightness and weight are at odds in delicate woven paper butterflies that carry the symbolic weight of representing the nations of the British commonwealth. Echoing in multiple works, the butterfly is known to herald new beginnings, migration, and the pollination from one living thing to the next while cross contaminating new crops, or desired materials, along the way.
Language is perhaps laid most bare in works composed of water logged photo book pages collaged onto papier-mâché the artist made using water from his flooded basement studio. Like a remnant from a flooded American subconscious the surface is a repository of associations on the word ‘race’. In other moments of the exhibition, such as D.E.A.R. – Drop Everything and Read (Tarzan), the artist looks for the limits of context while testing our collective visual literacy skills.
As studies in life cycles Chance’s quilts propose starting points that frame subsequent references and question how arbitrary beginnings or endings can be. Stained in a way that makes them look nostalgic for the future, connective threads superimpose images over dyed and felted wool fibers. Continuing themes of duration, pollination, and transformation, dead flowers are used to naturally dye fibers and brew tea.
With skepticism of a singular perspective and adoption of simultaneous paradoxical positions, Justin Chance’s disparate, associative references map expansive artistic research, triangulating a conversation in its own language.
- Marie Heilich
Justin Chance (b. 1993, New York, NY) lives and works in New York, NY. He holds a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He had a solo exhibition at Smart Objects, Los Angeles, CA. His work has also been included in group exhibitions at Fonda, Leipzig, Germany; Housing, Miami, FL; Underground Flower at James River Park, Richmond, VA; Three Four Three Four, Brooklyn, NY; Gern en Regalia, New York, NY; Shoot the Lobster, New York, NY; Thierry Goldberg Gallery, New York, NY; Lock Up International, London, United Kingdom; Baba Yaga Gallery, at Grand Buffet & Pulvers Glass, Hudson, NY; Institute of Contemporary Art Baltimore, Baltimore, MD; Smart Objects, Los Angeles, CA; and May 2000, Chicago, IL.