ABXY presents “CONVERSATION DERELICT” a solo exhibition by artist COREY WASH. “Conversation Derelict” marks the artist’s second solo show with the gallery following “It’s a Jungle Out Here” (2018). The upcoming exhibition at ABXY showcases a new collection of the artist’s paintings as well as video and site-specific installation. “Conversation Derelict” will be on view from March 29 – May 15, 2019. Exhibition essay by Angela N. Carroll.
Working across a diverse range of media, artist Corey Wash explores the ideas evolving around environment, culture, and identity today. Wash often plays with concepts related to language and communication in her work, creating images populated by comic-style characters who speak directly to the viewer through confessional speech bubbles. With this exhibition, Wash dives deeper, focusing in on the subject of communication in the Digital Age by presenting scenes of contemporary life, which convey technology’s effect on the exchange of ideas and information today. In splashy, saccharine palettes, these latest cartoon portraits examine our dissociation with reality in a world of screens, signs, and symbols. In so doing, Conversation Derelict asks the question: Why do truth and knowledge feel so inaccessible in a world where we can share ideas and information farther and faster than ever? Taken together, the works in this exhibition suggest that if we don’t find a way to (re)engage with reality and access our collective intelligence, our technological interconnectedness may be our undoing.
An amateur horticulturalist and environmental enthusiast, with this collection, Wash compares her studies of communication in the natural world to her observations of (mis)communication across human culture today. In the work, language is considered from a biological standpoint. With paintings like Where It All Started, in which leaves extend towards a central human figure like cartoon tentacles, the artist invokes our innate capacity for symbolic thought (a trait that separates us from the animals), while reminding us that our communicative capabilities were naturally selected for survival in a physical world, not virtual one. By juxtaposing the idea that language developed as a tool for cooperation and collaboration in the wilderness with our inability to work together on threats to humanity as lethal as climate change or nuclear war, the works in this exhibition emphasize the power of language and communication in our individual and collective health as a society.
Within the exhibition, Wash’s installation, Research Room, satirizes the information overload we experience in contemporary life. Upon entering, the viewer will be surrounded by various forms of visual media projecting messages from all sides. The video on display inside the installation invites the viewer on a coded journey through the artist’s discoveries about early human language. Original audio accompanies the animation. Created in collaboration with MELO-X, beats derived from natural sounds, like waves and bird songs, help the viewer navigate the semiotic visual narrative.