We collect together in a net
Bureau of General Services—Queer Division
Exhibition: September 20 – October 27, 2019
Opening Reception and Book Launch: September 27, 2019, 6 to 9 PM
With readings by Kerry Downey, Jaime Shearn Coan, and Shala Miller at 7 PM
The Bureau of General Services—Queer Division is proud to present We collect together in a net, a series of new works on paper and a publication by Kerry Downey. Concentrating countless operations at the surface—from rubbing to cutting, from sanding to pressing down, from embossment to chine collé—these works draw parallels between paper’s surface and our skin, playing at the intersection of materiality and identity. Like skin, the works are pocked and porous; they act as thresholds between the personal and the social, the psychological and the embodied. Paper is a site of encounter, one defined by material relations between subjects, objects, and bodies. Facture at the surface, or, paper’s fleshiness, indexes a repertoire of gestures enacted in the work’s production. Paper takes stock of these operations, of accumulated forms of touch, holding them in store as trace memories. Like a net—a central figure in Downey’s work—paper contains and disperses, locating our entanglements in the world, and reflecting the interdependent structures that produce the many ways we inhabit our bodies and access forms of power.
The exhibition is accompanied by a publication featuring works in the series alongside newly commissioned texts by Jaime Shearn Coan, Jeanne Vaccaro, Ryan Wong, and Layla Zami. Designed by Erik Freer and edited by Rachel Valinsky, the book is published by Brooklyn-based non-profit reading room, writing space, and independent publisher, Wendy’s Subway.
Kerry Downey (b.1979, Ft. Lauderdale) is an interdisciplinary artist and educator based in New York City. Downey’s work explores relationality through the many ways we inhabit our bodies and access forms of power. Downey’s practice includes video, printmaking, drawing, writing, and performance. They’ve recently had a solo show at CAVE in Detroit and two-person shows at Danspace Project, Knockdown Center and 20|20 Gallery in New York City. They have exhibited at the Queens Museum, Flushing, NY; the Hessel Museum at Bard College, Annandale, NY; The Drawing Center, New York, NY; Cooper Cole, Toronto, CA, and Taylor Macklin, Zurich, CH. Downey is a recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Emerging Artist Grant and Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grant. Artist-in-residencies include Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Madison, ME; Triangle Arts Association, Brooklyn, NY; SHIFT at EFA Project Space, New York, NY; the Drawing Center’s Open Sessions, New York, NY; Real Time and Space, Oakland, CA; and the Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT. Downey participated in the Queer/Art/Mentorship program in 2013. Their work has been in Artforum, The Brooklyn Rail, and The Washington Post. Downey holds a BA from Bard College and an MFA from Hunter College.
Image: Kerry Downey, We collect together in a net, 2019, monotype, 11 x 15 in.