Young Space is pleased to present 20 seconds or more, guest curated by London-based art dealer and gallerist Sim Smith. The exhibition presents work from 14 artists drawing on themes and experiences of everyday life, 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 signage encouraging a minimum of 20 seconds of hand-washing to stop the spread of disease. Even such as small amount of time can feel interminable when it must be repeated over and over, our daily routines consistently interrupted.
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. The works in this show encompass a tentative humor, a sort of visual smirk, a cautious yet reassuringly optimistic testament to the human spirit, the value of interpersonal connection, and the ability to treasure what matters most.
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I have developed a deep admiration for compassionate doctors such as mine (a general surgeon). Seeing him with all of the coronavirus-related protective gear, I sensed a special kind of love as well as beauty found in clinics and hospitals.
My work is the only way I know how to combat feelings of hopelessness and focus on the daily rituals of my life that keep me going. Fleeting moments of joy and beauty, snapshots of things I long for and thoughts that I am scared of are fired into clay forever, developed as parts of a whole and I try to make sense of the puzzle that we’re living in.
Losing and regaining control is something that I need at this specific time of my life, since personal and global events have shaken my everyday routine. I see my practice as an effort to restore normality, and simultaneously enjoying and accepting the loss of control and stability.
The direction my work is taking has been constant, but I see more than ever how important it is to expand the narratives of immigrants that inhabit the U.S.
The last year has influenced and impacted the direction of my work in ways I am still discovering. I have long been interested in the role that class and gender play in determining access to resources. Some new attention has been paid to essential workers, not just doctors and nurses but people who facilitate the availability of food and those who clean up after us in public spaces.
The pandemic has accelerated the prevalence of the digital image and social digital spheres, even more than before. The illuminated image is for many the only source of contact and touch. We have come to rely on screens as a filter window out on to the real world.
Through art I’m still trying to process the experience of being human, and often I’m still playing with certain ideas—like consciousness, how pain shapes us, what the word ‘spiritual’ means.
I'm interested in creating work that is at once personal to me, yet simultaneously universal, and relatable to a viewer - I hope. There are also some things that are really hard - it's not all just about joy and embracing and love, the work is simultaneously about grief, longing, isolation and pain. Ultimately, it's about support - and that means everything.
About the curators
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 programme, 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, Founder of Young Space and Co-Founder/Editor of Dovetail Magazine. Selected recent exhibitions include MIRROR EYE in collaboration with Far x Wide at Ortega y Gassett Projects, Brooklyn, NY; and Run Straight Through at Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CA, as well as recent virtual exhibitions via Young Space Views. Upcoming projects include collaborations with BEERS London, David B. Smith Gallery, and Tiger Strikes Asteroid. She holds a Masters in the History of Art, Theory and Display from the University of Edinburgh, and a Bechalors in Art History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is currently based in Northeast Wisconsin.