for, between, beside, like, inside, around, near, of, on, under, off, until, behind, to, through,
within, without, over, pass, along, among, following, against, from, outside, toward, beyond,
February 10 - March 10, 2024
Opening Saturday, February 10, 5 - 8 PM
Performance at 6 PM
1329 Willoughby Ave #211
Brooklyn, NY 11237
L train to Jefferson St
Hours: Open Saturdays and Sundays 1-6 PM
The unwieldy list of prepositions that frames Downey’s show conjures a set of relational possibilities. Prepositions are, afterall, relationships – between verb and noun, subject and object, insides and outsides. Prepositions are directional, spatial, temporal, and determining – how close, how long, how far, how much, too far, and often too close, too much. Downey’s abstractions invite us to shift from the systematic to the interpersonal—from power over or under, to power with–and back again.
Downey’s multifarious works on paper hum and glow with traces of events that produced them. Their surfaces communicate like signals along a nerve cord. The heavily reworked monotypes made over many years all begin with an impulse– what kind of relationship will I have with myself today, with my materials, with a sensation? These questions often lead them to phantom selves and energies, understood through a recurring lexicon of shapes and symbols that are perpetually reappearing and transforming.
Queerness and the phenomenology of orientation as Sara Ahmed describes it—how we shape and are shaped by bodies, objects and space is neither a natural nor neutral set of forces. Through acting and living, we are shaped in particular forms that, as Ahmed writes, “enable some actions only insofar as they restrict the capacity for other kinds of action.” With the gallery as frame and stage, Downey’s “phrases” play with and push at the structures that hold them.
Paper works congregate on Underdonk’s wall; some are foreboding presences, dingy washed-out landscapes or acidic color spills. Some are wily, gnashing their teeth and talking shit. They are worlds under pressure, dried moss fibers read like chopped hairs or microscopic organisms. Downey’s works on paper contain and disperse a range of materials and references – partial maps, faceless heads, and worm trails in the sand. They have been punctured, rubbed raw, grafted and smoothed. They bend and arch towards each other, whispering of the impossibility of ever separating. They belong to one another and, as in any community, there are outliers.
Downey’s performance for the show’s opening, a series of routine and absurdist gestures drawn from their studio practice, elucidates an embodied language and knowledge often buried within an image’s final veneer. Downey’s performance asks—what kind of relationship will I have with my body today, with you, through you, with us, for us? In the opening performance Downey will rearrange their work as set design– upending the curatorial ideal of a singular, idealized installation or the reification of artworks in a final form. Scraps of unfinished works, punctured with holes and grommets, will be hung from hooks and ad hoc handles. Both performance and paper works invite intimacies that speak to the shifty and shifting power relations that occur between us.