Limit Work, the exhibition title, comes from a term coined by the feminist scholar Elisabeth Grosz to describe the seemingly paradoxical proposition that “‘the outside’ only makes sense in relation to what it is not – the inside.” In considering existence and knowledge through this threshold, “the limit itself is an intercorporeal space, where the extreme body is opened, altered, and created.” Accordingly, Gonzalez-Turner’s silk paintings, which utilize the same acid dyes used in medical research, reference the interior body and its varied landscape of organic materials. The corporeal abstraction in the works deftly juxtaposes irregularity and deformation with beauty and delicate materiality, all while miming biological cycles of repair and regeneration. Gonzalez-Turner’s investigations of the body, a central subject in feminist art and theory, and her employment of textile art as her medium, with its long history as an interrogation of gendered craft, synthesize concerns and open up new dialogues in feminist art discourse through a prism of science, a traditionally male-dominated field, mirroring the paradoxical nature of Grosz’s theory.
The Density Columns are composed of stacked, dyed liquids, alternating hydrophilic and hydrophobic substances and dyes. Each column is made site-specific in reaction to and working with the light in the space. Untended, the columns will collapse and decay over time. They are living elements in need of nurture and maintenance from the artist. It is this relation to science, nature and the human body that ties the viewer to the work.
Steph Gonzalez-Turner lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She earned her BA at the University of Pennsylvania in 2006 and will begin the Yale MFA program in painting and printmaking this fall. This is Gonzalez-Turner’s first solo exhibition.