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December 1, 2017

Three Artists and a Bunch of Stuff in ‘As By Digging’ at The Painted Bride

About the Author
Elizabeth Roan

See the exhibition here


Currently showing at The Painted Bride Art Center is the InLiquid curated exhibition, As By Digging. Featuring three of our artist members: Jaime Alvarez, Olivia Jia, Michelle Marcuse, and their works suggesting a deep psychological study of the things we collect and, ultimately, discard. With an eerie de-Chirico-esque discomfort, they present an image of their object’s mysterious origins, blurring what may have been its value in the past.
Jaime Alvarez’s body of work, from his 1328 North 5th St. Photo series, are photographs of found objects amidst a black background pronouncing their subject with a monumental reverence, playfully jumping between study and idolatry.
Olivia Jia’s paintings also work with found objects, as she sees painting as “another kind of excavation.” Artifacts stand in an ethereal presence in space, leaving viewers feeling one of two things: meditative or in limbo.
Michelle Marcuse uses found cardboard to put together figures of lumbering parts reclaimed from a shipwreck — quite possibly the very wreckage of our consumptive journeys.
Whether they’re toys from our forgotten pasts, ceramic busts of fallen leaders or the ship wreckage of our best years lying on the ocean floor,  Alvarez, Jia, and Marcuse show us both the reality and their faded fantasies in a single frame. Collectively one couldn’t help feeling a sense of what is known as Weltschmerz, meaning in German: world-pain. It is an anxious feeling we experience when realizing the reality doesn’t quite match the fantasy — a symptom brought on by the ills of capitalism. A pretty tough one, when immersed in the aesthetic joys in the overindulgent torrent of holiday cheer. But it is certainly a feeling one must reflect on, to keep our proverbial “ships” at bay.
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