By Caitlin Greenwood
This group exhibition organized by Phil LaDeau lets UT artists redefine loss
Co-Lab Projects: N Space, 905 Congress
Through June 30
N Space's latest installment, "Something Lost," focuses on the notion of absence. All the pieces in the exhibition, curated by University of Texas grad Phil LaDeau and comprised solely of former UT MFA students' work, communicate some sense of longing and vacancy but utilize a variety of mediums to convey the show's thesis. "Something Lost" permits its artists to define loss, be it through their studio practices or their appropriation of the ideology into their work. The show fluctuates between obvious declarations of incompleteness and subtle, nuanced depictions of an existing void.
Artist Sara Madandar shreds canvas in her untitled pieces and wraps the deconstructed fabric around the wooden frames. The pieces stand as tall as the artist herself and quietly allude to a former trauma that left the canvases altered, removed from their original, untouched state with restrung canvas as evidence of their demolition. They feel raw and abrupt, a sentiment fully embraced by artist Adriana Corral, who adopts loss from a conceptual approach. Her Campo Algodon series reflects on Mexico-Texas border violence. Her 2-D prints represent hundreds of classified documents about gruesome border-town crimes, overlapped repeatedly until Corral was left with a compact image. The three-piece series points to the compressed confusion the legal system has created when handling these cases, and the departure of logic when it comes to Mexico's foreign violence. In her accompanying piece, Untitled (Body Bag), Corral constructed a black lace body bag, complete with zipper. It's a somber statement about the articulation of death. Janaye Brown's The Living Room, the only digital installment in "Something Lost," depicts a woman, her back turned to the viewer, moving listlessly with a glass of wine in hand. The subject softly sways in the frame, and it's almost romantic, until you realize the loneliness being caught in the moment. It quickly becomes a painful and almost voyeuristic glimpse into a desperate life.
LaDeau's curatorial choices emerge as the true victors for the show. He guides viewers through a comprehensive narrative, bookmarked by stunning photography by Lily Brooks and his own graphite images. It's a remarkably dense and multifaceted vision that comes together spectacularly, celebrating not only a complicated dogma but bringing needed attention to budding Texas artists. It's an exciting glimpse into the future of Austin's artistic landscape and certainly an exhibition not to be missed.