Amanda Bindley, Hildur Bjarnadottir, Lucky De Bellvue, Chris Hanson, Tracy Nakayama, Hendrika Sonnenberg, and Arye Wachsmuth

25 May 2000 - 30 June 2000
Opening Reception 25 May 2000 8pm

Front Gallery:


Curated by Michael Buckland

“It was so cold where we were,” bragged the explorer, “that the candles froze and we couldn’t blow them out.” ” That’s nothing.” said his pal. “Where we were, the words came out of our mouths in pieces of ice, and we had to fry them to find out what we were talking about.”

The problem with explicating and describing works of art is a bit like the dilemma of the explorer forced to fry words in order to understand them. I am fully aware that anything I say is as likely to detract from the art as it is to provide any insight. With this in mind, I will attempt a few words about Tweak. This exhibition is capable of withstanding any interpretative manipulation I may lapse into.

Tweak is a disparate collection of artists whose work varies widely, both conceptually and in their use of materials. The word “tweak” is the curatorial umbrella that encompasses all the work; it means to seize and pull with a sharp jerk and twist, or to make small adjustments. These artists take domestic and relatively banal material and subtly shift it through minor alterations in context and/or fabrication. The hand of the artist is evident but is not of paramount importance. The work is unspectacular, yet quietly compelling. Art is tipped off its pedestal and placed where it belongs.

Amanda Bindley‘s Cold Comfort is a second hand sofa kept wet for the duration of the exhibition. Eschewing the visual in visual art, the work is reliant on the tactile and the olfactory. It is not warm and welcoming, but offers instead a certain cold comfort. We might even return home with a bit of a dark stain on our trousers – an intimate interaction we will be, at best, ambivalent about.

Hendrika Sonnenberg and Chris Hanson’s Soapboxes absurdly manifests the proverbial soapbox. The rug is pulled out from beneath our proselytizing propensities by awkward cartoon crates clearly incapable of supporting any weight. Those who choose to speak are destined to fall. Beans is a sculpture that would not afford a second glance if sitting on the floor at a corner bodega, but in a gallery it seems temporary and out of place. That each of these thousands and thousands of beans has been made by hand represents a gentle faith that tempers the suggested nihilism of Soapboxes.

Lucky De Bellevue‘s work sounds bland and unspectacular: a yellow plastic chain hanging from the ceiling with cable ties sticking out. It fails to describe how the work manages to transcend the modesty and banality of its materials. Tenuous linking of mundane plastic objects conjures up something both elegant and suggestively organic.

Arye Wachsmuth‘s Interieur seduces and repels; a meditation on space that is both limitless and confining. A looping electronic soundtrack emanates from headphones, its ambient sound echoes the cool modernity of room interiors in a video, reinforcing the meditative slow pan of uninhabited, perfect rooms. The closest thing to these rooms is the room we are in, a room existing only to be looked at.

At first glance the sad little bits of clothing of Hildur Bjarnadottir’s wool project are as melancholy as a lost mitten in the snow. The realization that their undersized scale is the result of repeated washings confounds our initial sad, fuzzy feelings of sweet young children. A few judicious washings restore a loss of innocence .

We are immediately aware that Tracy Nakayama‘s small, precise ink wash drawings are not traditional nudes. These sanitized images of limp-dicked men are taken from photographic source material. The props and mustaches clearly place these images in the seventies. The work is archival research and preservation rather than portraiture; it is not who is in these pictures, but what is in them.

Science Teacher: “Can you explain radio for us, Arthur?”

Arthur: “Well if you had a very long dog reaching from New York to Chicago, and you stepped on its tail in New York, it would bark in Chicago. That’s telegraphy. Radio is exactly the same thing without the dog.”

In this particular instance, it is the eloquence and not the volume of the dog’s bark that is important. The simplicity of the work in this exhibition is a conduit for small perfect ideas that open into a complex system encompassing humour, passion, clarity, quiet, simplicity, beauty, and everything else.

Michael Buckland

Tweak bibliographies

Amanda Bindley 1962, 8lbs 1oz, 16″. 2000, 9st 5lbs, 5’4″.

Hildur Bjarnadottir was born in Reykjavìk, Iceland and currently lives in Portland, Oregon after recently moving from New York City. She received her B.F.A. from the Icelandic College of Arts and Crafts in 1992 and completed her M.F.A. at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn in 1997. She has had recent solo exhibitions at The Living Art Museum in Reykjavìk and the Nordic Museum of Arts and Crafts in Thorndheim, Norway and has participated in numerous group exhibitions in Europe and North America.

Michael Buckland is an artist who sometimes organizes shows when no one else is available.

Lucky De Bellevue was born in Lafayette, Louisiana and currently lives in New York City. Recent solo exhibitions include Feature Gallery, New York (2000), Stephen Freidman Gallery, London (1999), Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris (1998), Ten in One Gallery, Chicago (1998). He is represented by Feature Gallery.

John Massier is a curator and writer in Toronto.

Tracy Nakayama: Jailbreak / Thin Lizzy, Hey Joe / Love, Orgasm Addict / Buzzcocks, Steppin’ Stone / Monkees, Barracuda / Heart, Good Times Roll / The Cars, Little Black Book / MakeUp, Strawberry Soda / Royal Trux, Loving Cup /Rolling Stones, Cowgirl in the Sand / Neil Young, Every Mother’s Son / Will Oldham, You Need Loving / Small Faces, No Train To Stockholm / Lee
Hazelwood, Caroline No / Beach Boys, Surrender / Cheap Trick.

Hendrika Sonnenberg and Chris Hanson lives and works in Brooklyn. Solo exhibitions have include Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (1999), and Windows (Bernier & Tanit) in Brussels (1998). They have featured work in group exhibitions at P.S.1, New York (2000), White Columns, New York (1999), Thread Waxing Space, New York (1998), the MCA in Chicago (1996) and at TBA in Chicago (1995).

Arye Wachsmuth was born in Hamburg and raised in Tel Aviv. He studied at the Hamburg School of Photography in Germany and visual media design at the University of Applied Arts, Vienna with Professor Peter Weibels. He lives and works in Vienna. Recent exhibitions include the Austrian Cultural Institute, London, MARS at Post Gallery, Los Angeles, Europa spielt New York in Berlin at Philip Grötzinger´s exhibition space in Berlin.