Cave Drawings, Man
November 7, 2018 - December 30, 2018
The Provincial is delighted to present Cave Drawings, Man, a solo show of new drawings by Suzanne Goldenberg.
Suzanne Goldenberg is a NY based artist, writer, and activist. She works with a vast variety of media including drawing, collage, textiles, video and sculpture, and currently hosts the Crush Poetry Series at Woodbine in Ridgewood, NY.
Emerging from a conversation between the artist and a good friend, the title Cave Drawings, Man refers to getting to the essence of drawing and materials. “I mean they didn’t build the cave to do the drawing on it, just picked whatever wall they could find and started communicating,” Suzanne texted.
This new series of work signals a feverish return to drawing after a 10 year interval. Stoked by motion picture influences, the drawings are made with uniball micropoint pens and markers on castoff manilla folders and binder tabs. Figural images, caught in flash moments of doom, terror or grief, are sourced from classic French cinema, Fassbinder movies, and clips perhaps burned in her brain from studying film at McGill University.
It also marks a shift from Suzanne’s last solo show at Gallery Molly Krom of large, wall-mounted and loom-like unfurling textiles, along with her minimal, delicate and precarious wire sculptures, which have been instrumental to her practice for years. In her previous sculptural works Suzanne positioned the question of making and unmaking at its core, suggesting a breakdown and failure of productive systems. Here, in Cave Drawings, Man, as in the political moment we find ourselves, a feeling pervades that we are still in the dark, and in dark times.
The sight of perilous gestures of mostly women, drawn loosely from film clips, has a way of feeding uneasy questions just a year into Harvey Weinstein and the film industry answering to the #metoo movement, finally beginning to account for years of fostering a culture of sexual assault and abuse. How do we reconcile these gestures that keep recurring? How do we look at a once assumed passionate embrace, how do we know if that man approaching that woman from behind is there to comfort or violate? Why is that woman lifeless in his arms? Is he helping or did he just drug her?
How do we address the inequity, abuse, assault, and the normalization of profits extracted from exploiting story lines of woman being battered? When actresses such as Claire Foy and Michelle Williams realized the stark differences in their pay at the same time as the general public, a spotlight has been put on the gendered division of labor in the film industry. And yet, in Cave Drawings, Man, the male actors are similarly distressed, unresolved, insecure, not quite sure where they are.
Discarded and found materials have always been vital to Suzanne’s practice in the way that she uses them to underscore lesser told, often dark histories. In this show, the file folder itself conveys multiple meanings. It is a standard fixture in the office, workplace and school room. Utilized to save documents, to hold loose paper or money, its primary purpose is to document, organize and to protect. Here is has become a relic. If in her earlier works she used the loom to allude to the collapse of production and labor, empty manilla folders may imply a breakage in organizational and humanitarian systems. Cases are not being filed. Folders are flayed open, bare, torn in half, gone unlabeled. Our political filing system has caved. Documented and undocumented people face unrelenting death threats and violence. Bodies are migrating in time, lost in time, unprotected, papers lost. Documented lives and binders full of women go empty, shy of a snippet of a story, drawn by hand, like a fragment from a Grecian vase.
Looking at these quiet subtle drawings one senses these scenes are familiar, at the same time, estranged. Our relationship with the camera is weird, facial recognition may unlock our phones, but the big picture is unrecognizable. Meanwhile, Suzanne’s work brings the viewers attention back to the material, to the essence.
Suzanne Goldenberg received a B.A. in Film Studies from McGill University and an M.F.A from the Maryland Institute College of Art. A recipient of The Gottlieb Foundation Grant, her work has been shown extensively in New York at STOREFRONT Gallery, Art in General, CANADA Gallery, Leslie Heller Projects and Gallery Molly Krom. Her exhibits have been reviewed in the New York Times, Brooklyn Rail, Hyperallergic, and by Peter Plagens in the Wall Street Journal. Suzanne teaches art and gardening in NYC public schools and community gardens, and her poems have appeared in Anguish Language, F Magazine and Leaf Litter. Follow her work at https://www.instagram.com/golden_suz/
Cave Drawings, Man runs through December 30, 2018 and is open by appointment. Please email The Provincial at firstname.lastname@example.org or text 231-633-8772.
The Provincial is a platform organized by husband and wife artists Melanie Parke and Richard Kooyman who are dedicated to supporting artists doing new and experimental work. Their project space hosts exhibitions, studio visits, visiting artists, performances, occasional dinners and talks. Championing friendship, collaboration, and highly curated exhibitions, The Provincial believes artist-driven endeavors are regenerative to community, culture and humanity. Existing between private, public and online spaces, hospitality is at the center of their mission. Visit theprovincial.net and www.instagram.com/the_provincial/ for more information on programing, artists, and exhibition views.