20 seconds or more
February 14 - 28, 2021
Guest curator: Sim Smith, Director, Sim Smith, London
Participating artists: Alexis Mabry, Brendan Shea, Catherine Repko, Daphne Christoforou, Emma White, Ethan Worthington, Eugenia Popesco, Indrė Svirplytė, Kimberly Klauss, Krystle Lemonias, Leah Tacha, Lori Larusso, Paraskevi Frasiola, Sophie Goodchild
Young Space is pleased to have been able to present 20 seconds or more, guest curated by London-based art dealer and gallerist Sim Smith. The exhibition presents work from 14 emerging artists drawing on themes and experiences of everyday life, mosty notably the ways we have reconsidered what “everyday” means in light of the events and social shifts of the past year. The title nods to the ubiquitous public health encouraging a minimum of 20 seconds of hand-washing to stop the spread of disease. Even such a small amount of time can feel interminable when it must be repeated over and over, our daily routines consistently interrupted and reshuffled.
Regardless of geography, our daily lives have been impacted, and we continue to respond, adapt, and prepare for a return to some version of normalcy. We can better appreciate our need for human contact, ideas of home, spirituality, our work lives, and our connections to friends and family. However, the events of the past several months have also shone a stark light across the human impact on the planet, our sense of security, the fragility of the body, socio-political iniquities, and glaring inequalities. Yet we continue to see the bright spots and hold fast to the promise of better tomorrows, through the lenses of art and even humor, both so utterly human.
I think about how we are glued to our screens, our de facto windows to the outside world, through which we are subjected to the infinite scroll of endless news feeds and social media—as much as we rely on the same technologies to allow us to work or learn remotely, and to connect with our loved ones. The same means by which we maintain and nurture our relationships are a source of deepening anxiety, and socio-political “bubbles” that have concentrated into niches and often divide us. And yet, we continue to see the bright spots and hold fast to the promise of better tomorrows.
The artists in 20 seconds or more approach their work through an interest in exploring and re-evaluating our routines, relationships, and environments, and their evolving connections and contradictions. They question the intersections of the digital and analog; the ephemeral and the timeless; or the place one is versus the place one calls home, such as in Sophie Goodchild’s textile and ceramic works, which explore a mythology around placelessness and otherworldliness. Spiritual beings greet us in the work of Ethan Worthington, and imaginary creatures in the tufted rugs by Indrė Svirplytė, or the unsettling domestic scenes by Lori Larusso, challenge our ideas of home and comfort. Leah Tacha and Daphne Christoforou respectively dismantle preconceived ideas about women’s lived experiences and the nature of caring for one another, through the medium of ceramic.
Considering personal interactions and memory, Kimberly Klauss’ monochrome selfie portraits reflect a way of viewing others on-screen, and Catherine Repko, Krystle Lemonias, Alexis Mabry, and Brendan Shea recall moments of togetherness and intimacy that bring to mind summertime gatherings and quiet evenings with friends. Landscapes form the basis of works by Emma White, Eugenia Popesco, and Paraskevi Frasiola, paired with the irony of viewing broad expanses through the medium of a small screen (accentuated even more so, becoming meta, by the nature of the virtual exhibition itself).
The works in this show encompass a tentative humor, a sort of visual smirk, a cautiously optimistic--and reassuring--testament to the human spirit, the value of interpersonal connection, and the capability to treasure what matters most.
-- Kate Mothes
After years as a private dealer, Sim Smith opened her London gallery in May 2019. Smith supports and promotes artists who are at an emerging stage in their career. The gallery hosts an ambitious program, currently representing emerging British artists and also working with international artists who have gained a strong reputation in the US or Europe. Many of the gallery shows offer the possibility for artists to exhibit in London for the first time. Smith also supports artists beyond the gallery space, working with private and institutional collections and curating public art projects and off-site exhibitions. She has a keen eye for collaboration and has brought together fine artists, choreographers and musicians for a number of projects. Smith holds degrees in Art History and Italian from University College London, UK and Università Roma Tre, Rome, Italy.
Kate Mothes is an independent curator, arts writer, and founder of Young Space. Her interests center on collaboration with and support of artists, gallerists, curators, and writers for exhibitions and publications internationally. She holds a Bachelors in Art History from the University of Wisconsin, and a Masters in the History of Art, Theory and Display from Edinburgh College of Art at the University of Edinburgh. She is currently based in Northeast Wisconsin.