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The curve-flattening has been less than easy. Reality seemed to take hitherto unexperienced dimensions: time flattening out into an undifferentiated stream of recurring diurnal cycles, no longer tethered to the rounds of calendrical routines, and the spaces of quotidian existence collapsing into a single, solitary locale of enforced confinement. Our main conduit of connection to other human beings and to the world at large is mediated chiefly through the screen, which also provides the primary channel of this virtual exhibition of works that approximate the two-dimensional. Here is a layering of flatness, from the ideational to the physical, from sentiment to context to medium to channel. If flatness as a form of immanent criticism is the hallmark of the modernist surface according to Clement Greenberg, perhaps it too, is the marker of virtual space in the digital age, a tool at once both inevitable and capable of reflexivity. Linearity, seriality; repetition, monotony.
The aesthetics of this exhibition not only reflect the tenor of life during lockdown, but also its material conditions of production, shared by many artists, who were cut off from the full range of available resources while the circuit breaker was in effect. The dominant visual tropes of these works – from the strategies of duplication and modularity, to the internal logic of sequencing and chronology, to methodically diminished scale and circumscribed palettes – suggest the flattened textures and restricted maneuvers of daily life during the current crisis. There are drawings and sculptures premised on the pure abstraction of the line; works both substantial and insubstantial, of concrete and light; black and white videos depicting the ennui of the everyday; machine-manufactured music that hums and drones like an atonal, computer-generated orchestra.
The virtual exhibition can be accessed here https://www.sullivanstrumpf.com/viewing-spaces/flat/
This exhibition is supported by the National Arts Council (NAC).