R O U N D W E A T H E R
The Works II
Chris Kerr: May Your Hand Not Hurt
June 10 - July 22, 2023
Reception: Saturday June 10, 4 - 6
The Works II is Round Weather’s second group exhibition crafted from its Works Available section since opening alongside the delta variant in December 2020. The select artists are Miguel Arzabe, Todd Bartel, Ajit Chauhan, Christina Conklin, Daisy Craddock, Sally Egbert, Sylvia Fein, Suzan Frecon, Colter Jacobsen, Jenny Kendler, Javier Manrique, Daniela Naomi Molnar, and Yulia Pinkusevich. Take a look at the press release for the first The Works to explore some of the common ground between these profound artists’ practices. You’ll find fond affect for the abstract and total abandon in embrace of the found.
May Your Hand Not Hurt gathers art from several of gallery director Chris Kerr’s own bodies of work, including those that materialize and utilize language, nature, and time and those that use minimal means to get at the heart of collage. The title is a delectable Persian way of saying “Thank You” while expressing empathy (دست شما درد نکنه or “daste shoma dard nakoneh”). Kerr appropriates the phrase in boundless gratitude to all the artists who have shown and grown at Round Weather and because he put the show together after losing the use of his dominant hand (let us pray temporarily and single-handedly).
The series Time Isn’t After Us includes work made with years and in instants. An abstract painting sat outside Kerr’s front door for ten years while the elements ate away at it. A sculpture reveals what time, the elements, patience, and impatience did to a haiku and letter he wrote for his daughter when she was six months old and he left between two blocks of wood in the forest for her to open when she turned four. The series also features photographs of projected film stills taken on carbon soot that collected in Kerr’s chimney over generations and on the dust and car exhaust particles that settled on a mirror for a year, permitting him to capture the same image on the mirror’s surface and in its reflection on his home. Time Isn’t After Us also features Kerr’s collages made when two visual elements are combined as quickly as “He turns his eyes,
as when a slap on the shoulder summons us;
turns his crazed eyes, and everything lived
wells up, like a pool of guilt, in his look.” (Cesar Vallejo, “The Black Heralds”)
May Your Hand Not Hurt also consists of Kerr’s line of inquiry into the art that language makes. Find Yourself was first displayed at E.M. Wolfman and assembled (without search engine!) an abundance of writers’ sentences that contain variations on the phrase he finds himself ____/she found herself thinking ____/they find themselves at the ____. Kerr underscored language’s point by drawing the sentences onto paperback endpapers that he cut into and reattached to themselves, wondering: what if people’s minds are language’s art form? The series also includes assemblages of used books he found himself unwittingly buying a second time. First shown at MacArthur Annex, All of a Sudden is an installation meditating on sentences across centuries and continents that include the word suddenly. Single sudden pencil marks and knife cuts join a table fan on an electrical timer and meditation cushion to ponder the fourth dimension of time, the non-dimensional space of our minds, and the movement between imagined and actual motion.
Art largely exists to reveal and renew us—through beauty, intimacy, compassion, thrill, critique, clarity, mystery—and Kerr believes one way language makes art through our speech and writing is by reiterating words and phrases. When these recycled locutions appear through us, they can revitalize our sense of ourselves, speak of needs teetering on consciousness, and evoke our dreams. We say suddenly so often because language wants us to know we expect the unexpected. We wish to feel transfixed in space and time. We say we find ourselves because language wants us to feel how often we lose ourselves. We wish to know how to live lucidly and find what matters to our innermost being.
Other series in May Your Hand Not Hurt require no further introduction than their names: Long Poems and Potted Land Art. Join us June 10, 4-6 PM for an opening reception that also celebrates The Works II and all the good eggs who have lent their artwork long-term to the art project that is Round Weather and have committed to donating big proceeds to the climate crisis mitigation efforts and activism of Indigenous Environmental Network, Oil Change International, and Sunrise Movement.