Project: ARTspace is pleased to present Be Here Now, an exhibition featuring the work of six artists who offer a subtle antidote to the cacophony of our media-saturated environment. Employing humble materials with a deft touch, their work provokes an awareness of physicality and the present moment and provides a respite from the tug of mediating screens that allow us to be everywhere at once, but nowhere with our full focus.
Borrowing its title from the 1971 book, Remember: Be Here Now, by Ram Dass, the influential psychologist and spiritual teacher, this exhibition is an affirmation of his advocacy for quietude and inner focus. Over forty years after the publication of this seminal handbook, when experience is increasingly ‘virtual’ and an endless flow of information, images and music often yield a fractured attention span, it can be refreshing to consider modes of contemporary art making that forsake digital technology and instead encourage a sensory apprehension of space in real time.
Ostensibly minimal and deceptively simple, the work presented here invites a more focused looking through an economy of means and a sense of mystery: Joan Grubin, through spatial ambiguity and hypnotic use of reflected color in her wall installations made of paper; Marietta Hoferer, with the shifting shimmer of her subtle drawings made by layering pieces of tape; Michael Kukla, by employing construction materials in novel ways to reinterpret natural form; David X Levine, via his meditative pencil strokes that accumulate in vast fields of color; Ilene Sunshine, through her slyly whimsical three-dimensional drawings that focus attention on negative space; and Susan York, whose graphite forms with their nuanced polish and slightly skewed geometry radiate a subliminal tension.
Coming together from a loosely shared sensibility and ethos, these artists have co-curated Be Here Now, trusting that the absence of a single authorial voice allows for a mutual and organic visual dialogue. The exhibition is installed in such a way as to highlight the unique materiality of each work, the works in relation to each other, and to the surrounding space.
Be Here Now is an invitation to slow down and to truly inhabit one’s body, a reminder that although digital technology is a vital tool, it’s no substitute for actually being there.