No one writes lyric on a battlefield
On a map stuck with arrows
But I think I can do it if I just lurk
In my tent pretending to
Refeather my arrows
—Adrienne Rich, from Quarto, 2009
Gladstone Gallery is pleased to present Lyric on a Battlefield, a group exhibition organized by Miciah Hussey. The artists featured are: Kelly Akashi, Ellen Berkenblit, Louisa Clement, Anne Collier, Bracha L. Ettinger, Anish Kapoor, Liz Magor, f.marquespenteado, Suzanne McClelland, Dawn Mellor, Monique Mouton, Senga Nengudi, and Kandis Williams.
Bringing together artists working in various media, from multiple regions, and of different generations, this exhibition focuses on the lyric—the poetic first-person account of lived experience—to explore the complexities of being in the world. Mirroring the experimental and subjective nature of that form, the works included propose idiosyncratic methods of making visible critical, though complexly personal, interactions between the self and other. Through their translations of poetic reflection into the visual forms of painting, sculpture, drawing, and photography, these artists' different practices expand intimate explorations of desire, social relations, and the environment. Each of these works propose a singular point of view to the viewer; one that asks them to empathize with the life of another as the means to understand the more obscure, complicated aspects of being that inform shared experience. While the lyric seemingly favors the aesthetic over the political, this exhibition seeks to understand how formal experimentation and analysis provides space to reimagine the life of the individual and ethical connections in a time of precarity.
As artist Bracha L. Ettinger said in a 2016 interview, “The purpose of art is not to represent reality or to aestheticize it. Art invents images and spaces. Art works like a maternal healing when it solicits against all the odds the human capacity to wonder, to feel awe, to feel compassion, to care, to trust and to carry the weight of the world.”