Agathe Snow, “Continuum” at The Journal Gallery in Williamsburg is a visual feast of totems with splashes of color in an otherwise white room. Snow’s work teeters on two planes: an intellectual audible exploration (i.e. her performative participating in 24-Hours on the Concept of Time at the Guggenheim in 2009) and the other a wild, usually not contained, exploration of space via wall-installed sculpture using an abundance of colors, materials and textures. For “Continuum” she has found a solution merging the two dynamics. The press release features an abstract narrative story about the artist’s son in what can be assumed to be her voice. Written in a non-didactic, almost diaristic style, the text explores concepts of immigration, ancestry and the communication through visual language. It functions as a glimpse into her inspirational thought process that lead to the making of this work. In excerpt:
“Could he have known, like how he knew how to use a tablet from the first touch? Second nature? Other nature?”
Then continuing, further into the second paragraph,
“Then one day Pokemon enters our house and something changes in him.
My son finds peace. He excuses me for not having all the answers. He makes me promise to live as long and as best I can. He throws himself into the collecting of Pokemon cards and the study of their evolution. He explains to me that this one is fully evolved from that one and this one is resistant to that one, and I am released from bedtime filled with unanswerable questions and unsatisfying answers.”
At times, appearing as large-scale models, extracted and enlarged from an imaginary shelf, the free-standing totems, stretch between fantasy and reality, between real space and the dreamt space. Before having read the press release, the sculptures exist successfully on their own. They placate the time of childhood with a sculptural discourse sans narrative, each existing in a secluded mythical space but also participating in a dialogue with the others in the room. Snow uses materials that are somehow familiar and comforting. They deftly offer shapes that go beyond the rudimentary, yet also are made using media such as papier-mâché that descends into territory of high school art class; wet paper, soaked, moist hands molding, glistening with strips laid on a mold to form a sculpture. The journey we are on is both nostalgic as it is fresh, because who has seen these shapes before in these incarnations?
Titled “Continuum”, the exhibition is a contemporary response to age-old questions. These questions might seem specific to a particular point of time, but are very much related to our human experience. Snow looks at our recent past, her present and makes work merging these two worlds. One, a brief remembrance of a moment now past, the other, for a tomorrow and maybe yet another question, still to be asked.
Agathe Snow, “Continuum” is on view at The Journal Gallery until December 20th, 2015.