x2018.04 MIKE.ANDREWS / ANDY.COOLQUITT
MIKE.ANDREWS / ANDY.COOLQUITT
Opening Sunday, April 22 from 3-6P.
On view April 22 - May 13, 2018, Sundays and by appointment.
It starts with Persephone, who is absent. The goddess of the underworld is away. It is spring so she is technically allowed, by Cerberus, to pass through the gates of Hades for a short time, but she is nowhere to be found. Perhaps she is otherwise occupied. Cerberus’ sibling, Hydra, could be providing a distraction. All we are left with are questions.
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Persephone—who in our world is otherwise known as Percy, our beloved, elderly, fiery, redheaded beagle mix who barks anxiously and compulsively in social situations—remains away from our house-gallery during open hours (for her sake and ours).
So this starts with a dog. Our dog. Our weird, quirky, hilarious, feisty companion. She is inextricable from our lives. She points. She informs. As feminist natureculture theorist Donna Haraway reminds us in The Companion Species Manifesto: Dogs, People, and Significant Otherness (2003), “We are training each other in acts of communication we barely understand. We are, constitutively, companion species. We make each other up, in the flesh.”
This is all about absence. The presence of absence, and working with it.
Mike.Andrews—a gregarious, sociable extrovert who for decades made his home and studio in Chicago but recently uprooted to a small rural town, population 980, with limited access to cell service or internet communication—has been grappling with the unsettling separation from studio and from people.
Andy.Coolquitt—an active, longstanding fixture in the Austin art community who recently shattered his right tibia in a life-changing activity involving a chainsaw, a ladder, and a tree branch—has been forced away from his studio and all of his normal modes of working in order to rest and recover.
Two major life events. Two artists. How do they cope, respond to, or withstand the extreme?
Using Percy’s absence as a metaphor and a source of imagery for an entirely new body of work, in this wholly collaborative, experimental exhibition, both artists chose to grapple with and confront these new fragilities in their lives. One theoretical angle has been through the lens of Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder, a 2012 book by the Lebanese economist and philosopher Nassim Nicholas Taleb, which calls for a world with more “Antifragility.” A positional term, the prefix meaning that it’s effective in countering, it’s against or opposite fragility. In the positive, it means strength and growth when faced with extreme events or stress.
One way to describe this idea is with bone density: we require activity, stress, pressure for our bones to maintain strength and grow. Astronauts, when returning from the zero gravity of space, must confront weakened bones. Another metaphor for Antifragility comes from mythical Greek beasts: whereas the Phoenix, when killed, regenerates to be the same creature, the multi-headed Hydra seeks out risk in order to grow back bigger and stronger.
How might this idea be applied to the people within an arts world? Perhaps in allowing more often for experimentation, in trial and error. The works in this exhibition (sculpture, video, textile, and text), in their newness and in their formal departure from the artists previous modes of working, are raw and fragile. They are funny, sometimes goofy. They point to the body, and its weaknesses. They are vulnerable. In collaboration, Coolquitt and Andrews have found a form of strength, a resistance to the extreme, and perhaps an Antifragility—a new form of growth.
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As part of the exhibition, a collaborative, ongoing, additive document (on the process of creating this work) between Andrews, Coolquitt, and Permanent.Collection can be accessed online here. The public is invited to comment, discuss, and contribute, in whatever form they so desire.
Please join Permanent.Collection for the opening reception on Sunday, April 22 from 3-6pm. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org for directions.
Born = Kalamazoo, Michigan (1976)
Lives = Saugatuck, Michigan
BFA = The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1995)
MFA = Cranbrook Academy of Art (2004)
Born = Mesquite, Texas (1964)
Lives = Austin, Texas
BA = The University of Texas at Austin (1988)
See More = https://www.instagram.com/coolquitt/