Microcosm (n.) c.1200, mycrocossmos (modern form from early 15c.), "human nature, man viewed as the epitome of creation," literally "miniature world," from Middle French microcosme and in earliest use directly from Medieval Latin microcosmus, from Greek mikros "small" (see mica) + kosmos "world" (see cosmos). General sense of "a community constituting a world unto itself" is attested from 1560s. Related: Microcosmic. A native expression in the same sense was petty world (c. 1600).
Existing at the intersection of sculpture, painting, assemblage, and installation, “Microcosm” unfolds as a single real place that juxtaposes several spaces. We enter the gallery-site into a sphere of different environments, occupied by works of varying contributions of scale, medium, and intention. These varied intricacies invite us to delve into the intersections and respective mirroring between the microcosm and the macrocosm - the junctures between scared and forbidden spaces, utopias and heterotopias, the mythic and the real.
While the works on view expose this ecosystem, it also creates a familiar tableau. The casual pleasures taken in visual and tactile exoticism, as seen in Kyle Goldbach’s architectural weavings or Cameron Welch’s assemblages of found imagery bound under paint. The source material used by both –large-scale billboard advertisements by Goldbach and personal photographs by Welch- speaks to the political implications of the printed image, once or twice removed from its source. In the organized haziness of Kate Stewart’s lush washes of colors, figure and ground are one, and the space of the picture spreads out beyond the canvas’s physical edges. Maia Ruth Lee’s paintings and free standing sculpture replicating traditional ornamental fences, paired with Sam Davis’ large replicas of everyday objects, address the forces constructing and demarcating spaces of access and site, while George Carr’s innovative and sophisticated approach to capturing the fragmented nature of form further dwells on the multiplicities of power structures.
Differences give way to shared sameness: each piece exists as both a structure, or encased universe, and a narrative tool that engages with a realm beyond its materiality; either heaven in a grain of sand, or the farthest shores of what may be.
George Carr investigates the ways in which power, desire, form, and meaning simultaneously manufacture and support one another. The surface of his paintings – sanded smooth and buffed in wax– lends a vector-graphic quality to his applied topographic marks, reminiscent of fossils. Extending this process to sculpture, Carr incorporates additional extensive graphic techniques through a digital image transfer process that embeds the images into the sanded resin surface. He received his MFA from the Yale School of Art.
Sam Davis’s practice investigates limit systems and the delineatory architecture of meaning as it might occur in vernacular media. In depicting subjects sensing differences and solving problems, interacting with other agencies in time and space and history, vernacular media becomes a productive lens to view these relationships in action. Public objects and texts, their furniture and architecture, end up describing the edges of available human experience, whether through proximity, boundary, weight, or surface; human experience defined by the size of the symbols available. He graduated with an MFA from the Yale School of Art in 2016. Recent exhibitions include Bureau Inc. and Topless, New York, Human Resources and Del Vaz Projects Los Angeles, and Species in Atlanta.
Kyle Goldbach’s multidisciplinary practice explores cultural ecology as it relates to materialism and alienation, while promoting a reevaluation of labor and resilience. Scavenging the commercial landscape for advertising product detritus, Goldbach reconfigures found materials to form layered assemblages, offering a pointed commentary at the omnipresence of consumer culture. He received a BFA from Tyler School of Art in 2012 and his MFA from the Yale School of Art. Recent group exhibitions include the Marginal Utility, Temple Contemporary, and Green Gallery at Yale School of Art.
Maia Ruth Lee is a mixed media artist whose work is largely focused on her upbringing, coalescing references to traditional Nepali and Buddhist art styles with symbols and signs found in Western Culture and esoteric schools of thought. Recent paintings and sculptural pieces explore the implicit structures within labor, through both socio-economic and more abstracted cultural boundaries, through a selected lexicon of glyphs, alphabets, and language-as-text. Maia Ruth Lee was born in Busan, Korea and was raised in Kathmandu Nepal. Lee returned to Seoul for her Under- graduate studies in Fine Arts and after stints of studying in Canada and Italy she moved to the U.S. in 2011.
Kate Spencer Stewart makes non-representational paintings through negotiating constants and variables. The paintings Nary, Very and Wary are three parts of a larger series meditating on color relationships, proposing hypnotic and prolonged looking through spatial disorientation. Stewart studied at the Mountain School of the Arts, Otis College of Art and Design, and received her MFA from UCLA.
Cameron Welch produces work invested in visual information, and how this informs the interior structures of image culture within materiality. His large-scale works utilize a varied set of assembled materials and processes, including collage, sewing, dying, staining, printing, flocking, stuffing, and painting. The reference images utilized refer to Welch’s personal history as a means to navigate identity, but the manner in which they manifest is through the language of formal abstraction. He received his MFA from Columbia University School of the Arts.