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Comedy of Errors, curated by Meyken Barreto, brings together the work of three emerging artists whose practices are intertwined in a peculiar way. The works of Shay Arick, Maggie Hazen, and Zach Hill appear at a crossroads wherein contemporaneity, history, Western cultural stereotypes, gender preconceptions, and the ideological impact of media and technology are under scrutiny. This territory of confluence is also characterized by the use of recognizable cultural references like cowboys, goddesses, and figures of anguish widely assumed and established in current social practices and imaginary. It is curious that in this exhibition the works on view not only converge in the conceptual ﬁeld, but also in their physical concretion: the pieces that incorporate audiovisual material propose an affective dialogue with associated objects, balancing the impact of both the virtual and physical dimensions of these artworks.
Works by Shay Arick are all related to the widely recognized figure of the cowboy, an icon of American Culture that incarnates conventional notions of hyper-masculinity, patriarchy, power, and violence. This symbol is dissected by Arick, closely inspected, and reimagined through its attributes; questioning and criticizing the assumed connotations of the character in popular culture. In Under One´s Hat, we can see a succession of cowboys from famous films looking with the eyes of sexual harassers, while on the floor the skeleton of a foot with a spur indicates how deeply rooted in our culture are the stereotypes that characters like this one represents.
Zach Hill is also observing reality with an analytical and sensitive approach but, in his case, with tints of introspection. In Screaming the iconic human figure in the painting The Scream (Edvard Munch, 1893) is re-created, re-interpreted, interrogated. All the anguish and agony it contains is revived by the striking pink and violet tones of the sky the day before the latest U.S. election. The anxiety also travels to the micro-level, as the optical nerve of Hill spins in circles like a planet in what seems to be a thumbnail of the mind. A mind interrogated by a group of inquisitive tripods/characters.
Maggie Hazen is also interested in the mind. But, in this case, a mind that is altered and imbued with the logic of virtual existence, specifically the normalization of violence and the emphasis of masculinity in video game culture and media in general. Call of the Lily is an attempt to subvert this phenomena by calling upon classic mythology, specifically the goddess Athena and the motive of Lilies. Hazen’s three-channel video installation combines imagery sourced from US military training videos, missile test launches, and the video game Call of Duty. In the new narrative proposed by Hazen, lilies often take the place of menacing guns in an attempt to subvert the logic of destruction.
The sharp gaze of these artists towards our reality and their revision of icons and cultural notions with which current social and symbolic practices operate, translates into subversive, imaginative, and theatrical narratives that expand the frontiers of thought and reinforce our awareness of the times we live in.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Shay Arick is an Israeli visual artist based in Brooklyn and Tel Aviv. Arick is a recipient of Murphy Cadogan Contemporary Arts Award, Eileen Cooper Award For Creativity, and HaPais Council for the Culture and Arts Artist Grant, among others. He received support through many residencies and fellowships, including Residency Unlimited, SIP Fellowship, NARS Foundation, The Watermill Center, Kadist Foundation, MASS MoCA, BRIC, Wassaic Project, and Ox-Bow. His work has been shown in venues such as Haifa Museum Of Art (Haifa), Y Gallery (New York), Watermill Center (New York), SOMarts (San Francisco), Contemporary Arts Center (New Orleans), OnSpace (Beijing), ZIZ Space (Tel Aviv). Arick holds an MFA in Sculpture from The San Francisco Art Institute, and BFA from Bezalel Academy, Israel.
Maggie Hazen is a New York based visual artist from Los Angeles working in video, sculpture, performance and installation and is the founder of the Juvenile Justice Arts Initiative (JJArts). Hazen’s work explores themes of resistance and healing in a cinematically real world of violence through complex images, videos, and sculptures that merge mythology, technology, and activism.
She has exhibited, screened and performed works at The Bronx Museum, Pulse Miami Beach as part of Pulse Play; The Museum of Tolerance, Los Angeles, CA; Microscope Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; Light Year on the Manhattan Bridge; The Granoff Center, Brown University; Performance Works Northwest. Portland, OR; CICA Museum, South Korea; Holland Projects, eno NV; Icebox Projects, Philadelphia, PA; and The Boston Young Contemporaries, Boston, MA, among others. She is a current resident at Pioneer Works, NY and has had residencies and fellowships at The Bronx Museum; The Shanghai Institute of Visual Art; The Saas-Fee Summer nstitute of Art, European Graduate School, Switzerland; I:O at the Helikon Art Center in Turkey; Vermont Studio Center; and The Pasadena Side Street Projects, CA.
She holds a BFA in sculpture from Biola University and an MFA in sculpture from Rhode Island School of Design and has taught at New York University, The Stevens Institute of Technology, The Shanghai Institute of Visual Art and is currently a professor at Bard College in Studio Arts.
Zach Hill is an interdisciplinary artist and educator working between sculpture, moving image, and performance. He has been awarded the Mary L. Nohl Fellowship and Toby Devan Lewis Fellowship along with residencies at Vermont Studio Center, Bunker Projects, and RAIR. His work has been exhibited and screened at Haggerty Museum of Art, Milwaukee, WI; Frontera Garibaldi, Mexico City, MX; High Tide, Philadelphia, PA; Skylab Gallery, Columbus, Ohio; Studio 10, Brooklyn, NY; Comfort Station, Chicago, IL; James Black, Vancouver, CAN; and VisArts, Rockville, MD. Hill holds a BFA from the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, an MFA from the University of Pennsylvania, and is Visiting Assistant Professor of Sculpture at Haverford College.
ABOUT THE CURATOR
Meyken Barreto is a curator and art writer, as well as an adjunct lecturer at City College of New York. Meyken received her MFA and BA in Art History from the University of Havana. She has served as Regional Director at Artist Pension Trust (APT), Gallery Manager at Y Gallery in New York, and Studio Manager at Los Carpinteros Studio in Madrid and Havana. In 2021 and 2018 she was Curator in Residence at Residency Unlimited and in 2009 she won Cuba’s National Curatorship Award. Barreto has curated or co-curated exhibitions for such venues as Hostos Center for the Arts and Culture, NY; Guttenberg Arts, NJ; Aronson Galleries at Parsons – The New School for Design, NY; and IDB Cultural Center, Washington, DC.