You Were There, an exhibition curated by Thomas Duncan at Rachel Uffner Gallery, features work by Rita Ackermann, Justin Adian, Joe Bradley, Sarah Braman, Sara Greenberger Rafferty, and Josh Smith. The exhibition examines how time affects an artist’s practice, attitude and overall outlook. It broadly investigates the trajectory of the exhibiting artists’ output by showing one work from 2005 and one work from 2010 by each artist, indicating how a relatively small but significant amount of time can change an artist’s perspective. The subject is not time itself, but rather the ever-changing vicissitudes of artistic practice both internal to an artist and as conceived by a viewer as time passes.
The title refers to the simultaneous existence of the works of art within the lifetime of the viewer. These dual existences converge at the exhibition site, inviting the viewer to exist for a moment in the artists’ lives, in the interim of time passed. This direct reference also confronts the viewer with the notion of his or her own personal history in relation to the works on view.
Everyone’s concept of time taken and processes enacted veers from orderly to chaotic and back again. One’s inability to control time leads toward a notion of one’s futile attempt to manipulate it – hence the works on view straddle the line between chaos and order; refinement and pure gesture; regimented calculation and physical expression. Time and art are equally unpredictable, and the five year gap at the heart of You Were There invites the viewer to participate in and imagine artistic paths taken or abandoned.
Text and images provided by Rachel Uffner Gallery