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THE REMNANTS – JOHANSSON PROJECTS
October 18, 2020 - January 6, 2021Free
Amidst the upheaval of 2020, The Remnants featuring Megan Reed and Micah Wood explores what we leave behind and the agency in making as a way to move forward in the form of bold, colorful sculptures and paintings.
Junkspace’s iconography is 13 percent Roman, 8 percent Bauhaus and 7 percent Disney (neck and neck), 3 percent Art Nouveau, followed closely by Mayan….Like a substance that could have condensed in any other form, Junkspace is a domain of feigned, simulated order, a kingdom of morphing.
At the stroke of midnight it all may revert to Taiwanese Gothic; in three years it may segue into Nigerian Sixties, Norwegian Chalet, or default Christian.
Rem Koolhaas, Junkspace with Running Room
The Remnants is an exploration of the past and the present simultaneously—the present as a kind of imminent past. What does what’s left behind reveal of its maker and its culture? How are these remnants remade into a kind of super-present and near-future? What navigational signals do they leave to guide us to move forward?
Though The Remnants was conceived just before the Covid-19 pandemic struck—space and how we occupy it together so that it ensures a shared future has become a matter of daily, conscious deliberation for humanity across the globe. The wearing of masks, the new rituals of hand washing and standing in staggered lines have become 21st century performances, in which we are all players.
Megan Reed and Micah Wood’s shared interest in painting, theater, architecture, and the absurd all act as starting points for the recording of the present moment and for the possibility of collective action: whether confrontation, reflection, rest, play, etc. Each’s unbridled use of materials, form and color are akin to blind faith that things will work out, in the agency and optimism found in making, and in using what’s at hand. The surfaces become a place for narratives to be brought forward and thus spaces created for sharing.
Formally, Wood’s work is in dialogue with certain kinds of painting movements from pop art to post war German Expressionism and Surrealism. Gestural marks on top of smooth, flat swaths of color come together to form details and invite the viewer to see the world through his eyes. The body acts as an intermediary, between the world in front of our eyes and the world we create behind our eyes. Oftentimes the two do not line up so easily; that is the space where his paintings exist, rooted in observation, and then distilled through his hands and eyes. The paintings operate as a kind of pictorial diary, displaying a personal, visual vernacular that lends itself to open interpretation from the viewer. Wood’s paintings lie at the nexus of abstraction and figuration and seek to create a distinctive vision of his environment. The imagery found throughout Wood’s painting practice oscillates from automatic drawings to found images and advertising. His paintings are informed from many different sources such as his automatic drawing process to kinetic machines, shop signs/billboards, found textiles and film.
Reed’s work riffs off large human-made monuments like Stonehenge—spaces that record and measure time, but that also mark culture and so provide a gathering point for reflection. Her use of materials is derived from the detritus of the consumer era (styrofoam, for example), that, re-formed, become slightly larger than human-scaled, anthropomorphic reminders of human impact, agency and the possibilities we all have to shift gears at any moment to a new, imagined future. Her work uses color as a loud, playful gesture, calling attention to itself but also beckoning the viewer to join in this reflective, performative moment, whenever that may be.