Focusing on storytelling, character development, and the act of listening in Rachel Mason’s practice, this exhibition will feature selections from earlier bodies of work and debut a new series of collages on paper.
Best known for figurative sculpture and complex performances that incorporate original songs, Mason often elaborates on historical documents and current events to render factual narratives intimate and subjective. Her work expresses a desire to recognize radically different viewpoints and engage with conflicts that are typically experienced from a mediated distance. In this way, the artist mobilizes listening as an empathic and political action. A selection from Mason’s Ambassadors series will be shown, in which the artist presents herself as a mediator positioned between sculptural portraits of political leaders involved in the wars of her lifetime. In a companion performance to the series, Mason embodies the various figures that she depicts, including Fidel Castro, Boris Yeltzin, and Dzhokhar Dudaev.
A grouping of Mason’s Starseed figures will also be on display. These small-scale sculptures pay tribute to powerful women that the artist considers influential to her own work—some of whom, such as Joan Jonas, Mason has apprenticed with. Positioning herself as listener as well as storyteller, Mason encourages the continuation of a specific lineage associated with her narratives. The show’s title refers not only to the artist and audience as listeners, but also to the animistic quality of her objects. The Starseeds reappear in videos such as Doll Audience, in which a doll-sized Mason performs to her heroine figurines. Building upon her earlier bodies of works, Mason’s collages, shown in this exhibition for the first time internationally, represent a nascent trajectory into more fantastical character studies.
Rachel Mason was born in Los Angeles, California in 1978 and is currently based in New York. She received her B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles and her M.F.A. in Sculpture from Yale University. Mason has performed and exhibited her work nationally and internationally at venues including the Queens Museum, New York; the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, IL; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Henry Art Gallery, Seattle; Sculpture Center, New York; The Clocktower Gallery, New York; Kunsthalle Zurich, Switzerland; the Hessel Museum of Art at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY; the Swiss Institute, New York; Human Resources, Los Angeles, CA; The New Museum, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, MI; James Gallery at the CUNY Graduate Center, New York; the Park Avenue Armory, New York; and EMPAC Center for Performance, Troy, New York. Mason has shared stages with Josephine Foster, Prince Rama, Diane Cluck, Sharon Von Etten, Phosphorescent, Light Asylum, and Ed Askew among other renowned musicians, and she has been the subject of articles in publications including The New York Times, Artforum, The Los Angeles Times, Art in America, and Flash Art. Mason is represented by envoy enterprises, NYC.
Curator: Kristen Chappa
November 21 – December 24, 2014
kim? Contemporary Art Centre
12/1 Maskavas Street