Concentrate and Ask Again

Friday March 3rd, 2023

Concentrate and Ask Again 
March 3 - April 16, 2023

Artists: Aya NakamuraAlexandra Schutz, Megan Diddie

​​Forget the message: the muse is the media. And what comes in the middle, between the hand and the form, are materials. Materials have their own intelligences, offerings, demands—paths of opening and points of resistance. To make is to go through, to improvise a winding path from the smallest of material units to a layered sum, like a sparrow building a nest around a void.

Concentrate and Ask Again convenes three artists whose work measures the fine, discrete grains of physical materials through meditative task repetition. Each quietly divulges a fabricated affinity between the evanescent rhythms of labor and the figures that emerge as the body's inscape converses with the world's plasticity. One interval, whether temporal or spatial, deposits another—a direction is mapped as they go, an instrument is tuned as they play. For Aya Nakamura, drawing is a playful and calming way to process encounters with the uncontainable, ineffable aspects of everyday life—her drawings diffract natural phenomena through Zen Buddhist methodology. Megan Diddie uses drawing and painting as a means to tap into subliminal perceptions of the natural world. These works layer imagery and shapes, discovered through drawing, in an attempt to translate inhabited landscapes. And Alexandra Schutz plays with modular materials found on hardware store shelves to make works that challenge the utility of the former's conventional applications.

Each artifact articulates without naming or fully conceptualizing that artist's meditative process. Each work ends as a surprise, but an apt one, leading from one member of a series to the next. The materials form the towpath of a distributed process that might be called cognitive, but in an expanded, embodied form—figures, lines, and sums traced through an oscillation between reflective and pre-reflective states : directions freely taken until the material goads the hand, joint, or tool to contrary purpose. Each artist presents their work as a revised and still revisable answer to an open-ended question: how does the thought relate to the thinking, the made to the making?

*Writing with Zachary Tavlin